Ezra Kedem was born in Jerusalem in 1965 to a family of Iraqi origins. As a child, he loved to go with his mother to the market in the Old City, as well as in Bethlehem and Ramallah. His family’s Jerusalemite and Jewish-Iraqi culinary traditions were his first school.
After the military service, he trained in the US at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and at the French Culinary Institute in New York. Back to Israel as a chef, Kedem pursued his dream of opening a restaurant in Jerusalem. Between 1995 and 2014 Arcadia, in the heart of the holy city, was an institution for the culinary culture of Israel and Kedem is considered one of the fathers of local cuisine.
Today the chef has moved to Ein Kerem, on top of a hill in the surroundings of Jerusalem, where he has transformed Arcadia into a kitchen laboratory with organic vegetable garden, made precious by a glass cube that at night turns into a transparent dining room, like a lantern at the top of the hill.
If there’s another country where Kedem feels at home, that’s Italy. He first visited Rome at 15. Since then, he’s explored the culinary culture of Italy endless times, travelling especially to Sicily and Apulia, to discover the Jewish traditions that are sometimes lost, and sometimes emerge, in the local ones. «I’m sure Apulian orecchiette – he says – have a connection with the Jewish holiday of purim, whose most typical biscuits are known as ears of Haman. Pasta salad, whose origins were never reclaimed, could be a practical Jewish solution born within the Italian Jewish community to eat the main dish of the Mediterranean diet while respecting Shabbat».
He’s a speaker at Identità Milano 2019.
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Tel Aviv, the taste of peace
Group photo with the creative chefs from Tel Aviv participating in Open Restaurants