“Focus on taste,” was the advice chef Shirel Berger of Opa restaurant gave the audience of Swedish food tech leaders at Big Meet, an annual gathering in Stockholm for leading foodtech companies, entrepreneurs, scientists, chefs, and others from around the world.
Part of a delegation of Israeli chefs organized by the Israeli culinary center Asif, Berger joined chefs Raz Rahav and Shalom Elbert of OCD restaurant and Asif program director Michal Levit on a panel about the relationship between food traditions and food technology moderated by Mitchell Davis.
In addition to suggesting that food tech companies could engage with more top chefs to improve the organoleptic qualities of their products, the Israeli chefs discussed how they look both to the past (culinary heritage and tradition) and to the future (technology) for creative inspiration. Each of the panelists expressed how sustainability is an important consideration in all of their decisions, from what dishes they put on their menus to how they handle waste.
With its diverse food culture, cutting-edge technology sector, entrepreneurial spirit, and creativity, Israel has many of the components necessary to solve some of the biggest challenges facing our food system, from climate change to hunger to helping communities thrive.
As Israeli restaurants continue to open and thrive in cities around the world, the panelists agreed that Israel’s food culture and food tech sector may be perfectly attuned to the culinary zeitgeist of the moment. As if to prove the point, after the panel, a Swedish recent graduate of a university food tech program came up to share that she was just visiting a friend in Vienna whose favorite place to eat is a new Israeli restaurant in town. The time is now for Israel to play an important role in global gastronomy.