Local chefs, Zohar Flantz of Luscious Foods and Ronit Robbaz of Open Table Catering, have just returned to Byron Bay having won gold at the inaugural International Maccabi Culinary Competition in Israel as part of the 20th World Maccabi Games.
Both of Israeli heritage, Zohar and Ronit have long been passionate creators of blending their Middle Eastern cooking influences with modern Australian cuisine for Byron Bay locals over the years.
‘Being invited to participate in the first Maccabi Culinary Competition and to be able to represent Australia on the international stage was such an honour,’ said Zohar.
Working as a team, they had to prepare a five-course meal showcasing the flavours of Australia and using the freshest locally grown Israeli produce, meat and fish.
‘We are so lucky to have such an abundance of quality, local produce in Australia and were very excited to be able to include some of these flavours, especially macadamias and macadamia oil in our dishes,’ said Zohar.
The gold-medal dishes included a Fig and Date Coconut ice-cream with Pumpkin and Spices Sorbet served with pomegranate syrup, macadamia soil, figs in wine and mint.
In case you were wondering, macadamia ‘soil’ consists of crushed macadamia on the bottom of the plate, which creates a bed of ‘soil’ for the rest of the dish.
Zohar and Ronit were announced as winners ahead of Team USA and Team Israel and were commended on how complete the flavours of their dishes were. Nothing more needed to be added, said the judges.
‘Winning was such a bonus for us. Being able to participate in the competition and having the opportunity to learn and be inspired by other chefs from around the world and share our love of cooking together and the flavours of our countries was incredibly exciting’, said Ronit.
‘It was also fantastic to be able to do this with Zohar, representing not only Australia but also our local region, Byron Bay.’
In true Olympic style the next Maccabi Culinary Competition will be held in four years’ time.