Chef and Co-Founder, Zahav & Co-Owner, CookNSolo
Improving the world
Together with business partner Steven Cook WG95, introducing the richly textured cuisine of modern Israel to America through restaurants like Zahav -- and helping the homeless through Rooster Soup Co.
Born: G'nei Yehuda, Israel
My start: Returned to Israel as a teenager with no Hebrew language skills; took the only job I could get – working in a bakery – and my culinary career was born
HQ: Society Hill, Philadelphia
Fresh Air on NPR: For Israeli-Born Chef, Hummus and "Tehina" Are a Bridge to Home
Opening its doors in 2008, Zahav is a modern Israeli restaurant that brings the authentic flavors of Israel's cultural heritage to America.
The soul of Zahav is the laffa bread, baked to order in a wood-fired Taboon; the creamy and nutty hummus that will transport you to Jerusalem; and the sizzling skewers of meat grilled over hardwood charcoal. Zahav offers a small plates menu that encourages guests to sample the large variety of cultural influences on the cuisine of Israel -- from Eastern Europe to North Africa and from Persia to the Eastern Mediterranean.
The name Zahav means "gold" in Hebrew, and is a reference to Jersualem, which has been a cultural crossroads for thousands of years.
Sneak preview: peek inside
Ever since he opened Zahav in 2008, chef Michael Solomonov has been turning heads with his original interpretations of modern Israeli cuisine, attracting notice from the New York Times, Bon Appétit ("an utter and total revelation"), and Eater ("Zahav defines Israeli cooking in America").
Zahav showcases the melting-pot cooking of Israel, especially the influences of the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean, and Eastern Europe. Solomonov's food includes little dishes called mezze, such as the restaurant's insanely popular fried cauliflower; a hummus so ethereal that it put Zahav on the culinary map; and a pink lentil soup with lamb meatballs that one critic called "Jerusalem in a bowl." It also includes a majestic dome of Persian wedding rice and a whole roasted lamb shoulder with pomegranate and chickpeas that's a celebration in itself. All Solomonov's dishes are brilliantly adapted to local and seasonal ingredients.
Zahav tells an authoritative and personal story of how Solomonov embraced the food of his birthplace. With its blend of technique and passion, this book shows readers how to make his food their own.
2011 James Beard Award winner for "Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic"
Recognized by The New York Times, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Esquire Magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, and Travel + Leisure
2014 Eater's National Chef of the Year
Deborah’s Falafel in Karkur
Pita stuffed with corned beef at Eyal Shani
Zvia's Kubaneh at Mizlala by Meir Adoni -- Yemenite bread served with fresh tomato sauce and green chili
Aioli and herring at Cafe 48