How to Cook at Home Like Israeli Chef Michael Solomonov

Tips on properly seasoning your food, baking the perfect pita, and cooking for your kids.

Like most of us, award-winning Chef Michael Solomonov has been cooking at home a lot this year, much more than he would normally find himself doing as an owner of multiple restaurants. And unlike most years, he wasn’t able to travel to Israel to visit the people, places, and land that he loves.

“It’s that thing we all have when we get off the airplane. That visceral relationship to a place. More than the food, my friends, or my family there, I am missing that feeling like you are in the right place.”

As a result of this time at home cooking, and missing Israel, Solomonov decided to launch a new web series, which features pre-recorded interviews with prominent Israeli chefs and personalities, and showcases Solomonov cooking in his home kitchen. The web series, which will air on Vimeo every Wednesday at 8:00 pm starting January 13th, will be LIVE and will allow viewers to cook along and ask questions in real time.

Solomonov shared, “It’s my mission in life to explore and advocate for Israel through food. This program was something I had to do. It’s the positive result of quarantine — having to be creative and resilient. And it wouldn’t have happened under any other circumstances than finding yourself at home and needing different ways to connect. I can introduce these Israelis to a new audience in the United States.”

What has Solomonov been cooking at home? While the rest of us whip up banana bread, sourdough, and scallion pancakes, he’s focused on some of his own favorites like his mom’s honey cake, schnitzel (because it goes with everything!), plov, and and big batches of chopped salad with homemade tahini dressing made with lots of garlic, avocado, parsley, dill, and chives.

The biggest mistake most home cooks make? Not seasoning food enough. He explained, “It’s not just about adding salt at the end. Add seasoning — salt, pepper, and acid — all the way throughout the cooking process. Add seasoning in stages to develop the flavor, not just at the end.”

He has also been cooking for his two kids a ton, just like the rest of us. He adds truffles to tomato sauce and pasta for a sneaky upgrade, and puts grated carrot into rice pilaf to get in some extra veggies.

If you’re searching for the secret to the best homemade pita bread, he shared four crucial tips:

  1. Make sure your oven is SUPER hot.
  2. Stop opening your oven, which cools down the temperature and slows baking.
  3. Taking a cue from his friend and food writer Adeena Sussman, he suggests baking the pita on top of an upside down cast iron pan.
  4. Allow your pita to do three rises: make the dough, rise; divide into balls, rise; roll out the pita and allow to rest and rise for 10 minutes one last time before popping into the oven.

Hungry for more Solomonov recipes? Here are some of our favorites:

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