Jewish Food Society in collaboration with Asif present: “Generations”, multi-generational culinary families to cook together dishes from their traditional kitchen. Join us for a live demonstration of family recipes, tasting and drinks.
Chef Nir Mesika and his mother Yafa will be our guests at Asif for a Hanukkah candle lighting in the Mesika family’s style.
The kitchen of Nir Mesika’s childhood was not limited to its four walls – the houses of his grandparents were seven-minute walking away in one direction, and five-minute drive in the other. “Both families lived in the kitchen,” says Mesika, currently chef and owner of the Timna restaurant in Tel Aviv.
On Hanukkah, oil-filled pots simmered on the stoves of both grandmothers. His Moroccan grandmother Mazal fried Moroccan doughnuts called sfenj, while his Egyptian grandmother Rubi threw small balls of dough into the hot oil to make zalabia, which she dipped in honey and served after the menorah lighting.
Mama Yaffa’s sfenj with Nir’s rose water crème pâtissière
Grandma Rubi’s zalabia
Bishbash A fennel, herbs and labaneh salad
Zalouk Bruschetta topped with roasted vegetables and yogurt hard cheese
About the guests
Yafa Mesika was in born Casablanca in 1955, and made aliya when she was seven years old. Her family first settled in Nazaret, later moving to Kiryat Bialik where her father worked as a pastry chef. Yaffa’s mother introduced her to the secrets of Moroccan cooking, while her father taught her the accuracy, order and cleanliness of the patisserie. When she married at 21, she also learned to cook the Egyptian dishes of her husband’s family. Yaffa says the Shabbat and holiday meals at her home preserve the festive dishes of the Moroccan cuisine, as well as the generosity she learned from her parents.
A graduate of Bishulim Culinary School, Nir Mesika has worked in numerous restaurants in Israel and abroad, including Catit and Mizlala by Meir Adoni. In 2012 he moved to New York where he first opened a Mediterranean spot called Zizi Limonana, three years later, he debuted Timna, which brought together influences from the Mediterranean, North Africa, and the Middle East, and was voted the best restaurant in the country by USA Today readers. In 2019, the restaurant closed, and Nir returned to Israel with his family. About a year ago, he reopened Timna — this time, in Tel Aviv.