"Jealousy in me is great. If you bump into me it produces sensations, it's like talking about God"
Chef Eyal Shani, who is currently starring in the decade-long season of "Master Chef", talks about the success in the world ("I am a man and want to spread my seeds"), the confrontation with Yair Netanyahu ("I hurt him"), the admiration for Bennett ("I say goodbye to him sadly") ) And replies to the critics who attacked him: "You can't cheat everyone all the time."
Sagi Ben Nun
Tuesday, 28 June 2022, 00:00
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A quarrel between chefs Eyal Shani and Israel Aharoni in an episode of the tenth season of "Master Chef" (Keshet 12)
Eyal Shani is a huge success in Israel and around the world.
On the other hand, he does not stop snatching blows from critics.
In July 2019, the New York Post published a review following the opening of the "Living Room" in Manhattan, which read: "Tomato for $ 24? Can the place be called 'the suckers', the joke at our expense."
Last month, too, Shani received harsh criticism from Avi Efrati at Walla!
Food at his restaurant "Bee".
Under the headline "Another puff of a second deer who is now laughing a big laugh all the way to the bank" was written in the review: "Shame has not lived in Shani's districts for many years, but his new training bee is a new record."
A large audience in Israel and abroad loves you very much, and at the same time many critics are killing you. How do you explain this gap? How do you feel about it?
"Great question. First of all you can not deceive everyone all the time. So how can it be that all over the world I am followed by huge numbers of people on two levels - on the inner level people who want to work with me, and on the outer level my audience. For a moment he defines the world as utter nonsense and all the people in it as dumb and blind. This is the definition of Avi Efrati. In a world that Avi Efrati defines I would not want to live one more second. You know the idea that if you come and bump into me it's straight up making a headline, it's making a splash, it's like saying things about God. I will publish.
"One more thing: in one evening when I work in one of my restaurants I do, say, 100 plates. Statistically in 50 percent of the plates I will fail, and in 50 percent of the others I will succeed. I want to see you succeed 50 times a day, and I want to see you fail 50 Times a day. You will go crazy. You will not stand the 50 successes and you will not stand the 50 failures. But this is the kitchen. Whoever lives it understands this thing. This is something I had to deal with at a very early stage - how not to fall from failures, and how not not To be in the sky of success. Then I realized that it does not matter if I succeed or fail, I can not measure myself by it, I measure myself only by the intention I had. I'm glad I learned a lot from it. And if I succeeded then I felt very good, but I know it's only for a moment because while on a plate I'll have to succeed again. I do my best to produce good in the world, in my team and in my audience, trying to create a better world.If my father Efrati had any ability to do something similar to what I do, then he would also do it. "
"Doing everything to produce good in the world."
Eyal Shani (Photo: Ariel Efron)
About two weeks ago, Keshet 12 "Master Chef" returned to the screen for the decade of the decade, starring Eyal Shani as a judge alongside Haim Cohen, Michal Ansky, Israel Aharoni and newcomer Ruthi Brodo (the show airs on Sundays and Tuesdays).
On the tenth anniversary of Master Chef, the question arises as to whether the program's contribution was significant to the revolution that took place in the Israeli food world - or whether the revolution would have taken place even without the program.
"'Master Chef' did not contribute because she was the generator and creator of this revolution," Shani ruled.
"What 'Master Chef' has done is take cooking off Olympus and change the thought that only a few in the world can perform this miracle. Suddenly people have seen people just like them, of all kinds and species, starting with very basic feelings and intuitions and some rising to great heights. They say, if he can - I can too.
This gave a lot more legitimacy to a lot of other feelings that appear during cooking, which was not legitimate to talk about.
"Suddenly they talked about a lot more things, and a language opened up for talking about food, which is the most important thing, because everything that goes through our brain has to go through words and the ability to attach them."
How did Ruthie Brodo's joining as a referee for the new season change and re-mix the team dynamics?
"Once you put another person in a group of four people, it changes sub-dynamics and also big dynamics. Ruthie has a very direct way of speaking into things. She is direct from another direction, direct from the word. I also have a very direct way of speaking, from the absorption areas of the body It's very clearly unfiltered. It's another direct. She brought something from the street, something from the speech of the street itself, and I can testify that in me it created a total release. I mean, there is no God. I'm now talking the way I want, and what I want, And at the pace I want. It took away the small remnants of editing that I still have left when I speak. ".
Eyal Shani in action (Photo: Ariel Efron)
In the program, you often quarrel with Aharoni.
For example, Aharoni accused you of not understanding French cuisine.
How authentic or exaggerated are these bites for TV drama?
"It's much more than one hundred percent authentic. He claims I do not understand French cuisine, and I claim he does not understand the essence of French cuisine. I mean, we look at it from two points of view that produce a huge clash and a very big debate. When I talk about Vegetables I speak from the direction of a chef who devotes most of his life to creating vegetables, to understanding this thing, what is a vegetable.I actually brought the vegetables to the country both as a legitimate thing, as a stand-alone thing and as a very prestigious thing that pays a lot of money because the mental investment and processing processes Sometimes much higher than anything else. From this direction I see vegetables. Aharoni sees vegetables more than the direction the French see them. The Frenchman understands almost everything through what he thinks is the highlight, the most precious stone in the crown - the meat. I understand the vegetables from the fact that I Lies in their seed and sees from below the direction of their growth, in the big sense. "
You opened a pile
of restaurants overseas, issuing yourself from New York to Singapore. How do you pinpoint yourself in your mass distribution? How can you maintain excellence and control when your factory has expanded to more and more branches in Israel and around the world?
Everywhere I put my whole soul, trying to get others to keep it.
The question you asked is very interesting, this is the most interesting question in this interview.
This question is the essence of my contemporary existence.
Look, I'm a man, and I want to put my seed all over the world.
Yes, it's terribly simple, a primitive feeling of this monkey being called a male.
This is my biggest goal, to put your stamp, your imprint, your thought and your energy wherever you are able to put them in the world.
You can do this thing.
We are slowly settling on regions and sub-regions in all the continents that exist in the world, and we are also continuing in this way.
What happens from the other side?
You suddenly realize that you need to let go and lose control. "
And hope that after I leave he will not want to lose this treasure.
Why is it a treasure?
Not because I'm so smart or know other things.
It's a treasure because I'm willing to be in complete presence with the same person I want to give way to.
I experience it, feel it, try to recognize it and give it and expand it.
This is the area where I succeed and allow myself to spread. "
Eyal Shani in the tenth season of "Master Chef" (Photo: Keshet 12)
Quite a few chefs have tried to emulate you, including what you did with the pita and street food.
Where do you think the line is between inspiration and imitation?
You constantly have to run forward faster because the ability to imitate increases.
The more advanced it is, the harder it is to find more things. "
They also tried to emulate your unique formulations.
At least when it comes to your speech you are in my eyes the most special.
However, even many years after you burst into consciousness, there are still those who are not closed whether it is a piyyut or engraving.
"I do not like these two words, piyyut and engraving, because both go away from the main thing, and the main thing is the power of the word. When does a word gain power? When you add it to other words an expression of your inner truth is created. In my personal experience I do not feel myself As a person who thinks thoughts but as a person who sees images in his head.These visions feel what is happening in the core of things, in the belly of the earth, in the elemental forces that drive the thing I am talking about.I take these images and then try to translate them out as faithfully as possible. Yes with what I feel and I try to get it out because I think there is value in trying to see things very clearly. I know that always alive most of the objects and subjects in front of us are actually masks for something else that is underneath it. The motive, what is the desire and what is the motivation.
"When you look at this place other words are formed. What is the difference between me and you? Let's say we both pass by an eggplant field. You will look and the eggplant field will look very beautiful to you. I will look at the eggplant field and out of thousands of eggplants Mine will say: is the most perfect eggplant in this field.Once I saw it, throughout the day my brain will be with this eggplant, and I will try to understand why I felt it, why I thought it, why I said it that way.I will think 24 hours only about The eggplant. At this time you will also think about your dead line, the sentence you want to write and more, while I am in one toddler thing, this eggplant, on which my whole world is. "And the whole world is in a grain of salt."
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Eyal Shani is pleased with him.
Naftali Bennett (Photo: Paul, Yoav Dodkevitz)
On Saturday night the book week ended, strange that you have not yet published a cookbook or prose.
"Listen, I do not think I say poetry. I think I accurately describe reality as it seems to me. I use these words a lot to write menus and to whisper stories to my staff, that it's my big family that is in the world, and that's the big love there is. I did not write books? Why did I not write books? Because at a certain moment it will be too late. I have so much material, so many thoughts. I will tell you a secret: in our society we have an internal book called 'Mechanics and Logic'. Welbeck, 'The Map and the Territory.' Great. Then I understood the word mechanics. Mechanics carries within it poetry. I sat down for four years and wrote the book 'Mechanics and Logic'.There are 750 original recipes and more variations on other recipes, which explain the logic of why it should exist in the world. "
You mentioned earlier eggplant.
I used to hate eggplants, today I live with them in peace.
I once objected to avocados and today it is the love of my life.
What food did you not eat before - and today you die for it?
"First of all, that's why our lives are long, so that we change, so that at first you will not love and then you will love. And as long as it passes from lack of love to love - well, you have won. "I could not put it in my mouth, it disgusted me. It's like a process in a washing machine, it's steps. I used to not be able to carry coriander and okra, and today I am in love with coriander and okra. Whenever such a reversal happens - you have received a gift from God.
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After the cauliflower and tomato, Eyal Shani's next emerging talent - the cucumber (Photo: ShutterStock)
After the tomato and cauliflower - what vegetable will be Eyal Shani's next big talent?
"I can only tell you that I have been looking at cucumbers for three years. I have not deciphered it yet."
This is a serious challenge, because in the school of vegetables - cucumbers are unacceptable.
"Always the best point is to lift from the bottom."
Your love for vegetables connects to your passion for nature, which you probably lack in Tel Aviv.
I was told you were considering leaving town.
"I breed a Sudanese turtle, a breed that reaches a very large size of 200 kilos. Today it lives on the roof above my apartment in Tel Aviv. I also need to think about its future. I learned that its look and needs are interesting because they indicate certain things I need too. I always have an aspiration for nature. "
After having quite a few financial complications in the past, restaurant closures, payment delays and bankruptcies, is there any fear that you will fall into these places again?
"You talk to me about a completely different life. It's an era from ages ago. The press really, really liked to make big sensations out of it. Let me tell you something. One day at the age of 28 I got up and realized that Israel has no kitchen and that I'm going to build a kitchen for it. After that, others joined. It has a price, especially for those who are ahead of their time. I paid very expensive prices for it. I mean, I went into a completely virgin forest with all the anacondas dangling from the trees. I knew it, I took the risk, and the first cycle finally exploded. Today we are in a very broad, very responsible system, with a lot of management people who know how to take risks and also watch all the management of these risks in a completely transparent way and deal with everything that is created. My partners manage it with exemplary balance. "
What do you regret?
"I regret if I hurt people in my life. I have real regrets about that. If I hurt someone it was blindness. It was unintentional. It was partial opacity in some places in me. It's the only thing I can regret in life. For the rest I can not regret. "Because life is the result of infinite integration and you do not know what produces the good and what produces the pain."
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I regret if I hurt people.
Eyal Shani (Photo: Ronen Ackerman)
Shani did not refrain from expressing political views, including harsh criticism of former Prime Minister Netanyahu, about whom he wrote in the post: "Free from his government and his police. Here's one little joy in pita, pita bolognese."
Yair Netanyahu responded to the post and wrote to Shani: "And this is what anyone who sells pita with chickpeas for NIS 50 writes" and later "publishing a bad name for Israel."
Does Netanyahu's possible return to the prime minister's chair cause you concern?
"One of the things that happened in this government - that they got up and worked for the people of Israel. Work was done, in great detail, in the fields of education, society, law and more. It was a very hard-working government, with the State of Israel in front of its eyes. A candle at her feet. "
How do you view your confrontation with Yair Netanyahu?
"I was in pain for him.
And on me.
Some of that pain remains. "
What farewell or consolation dish would you prepare for the outgoing prime minister, Naftali Bennett, and what festive dish would you prepare for the intended prime minister, Yair Lapid?
"I can characterize for you two confessions of rations. I looked a lot at Bennett. His opinions are not my opinions but he ended his tenure when I admire this man. Not for his opinions but for the way he conducts himself in the world. I think he is a wonderful man who made us a very big contribution. The time he had a chance. I think he's an honest man and yes, a man who worked very hard to make his faith. Something inside me sadly parted from that person's quality. "I think it is also made up of elements of futuristic and modern politics. So the dish for Bennett will be a dish of heart, I would produce something very basic for him, I do not yet know what exactly, and the dish for Torch will be more mysterious."