Cook a delicious new recipe for culinary education – Low Calorie Diets Tips

A big part of the allure of Le Cordon Bleu Paris cooking school is, well, Paris.

Similarly, the founders of the Galilee Culinary Institute believe Israel’s verdant, multicultural Galilee region will be a magnet for culinary students from around the world.

GCI is designed for immersive experiences like pressing olives in local groves, learning the secrets of Bedouin, Druze and Ethiopian cuisine, and immersing yourself in startup culture at food-tech incubator Fresh Start in nearby Kiryat Shmona.

Scheduled to open in January 2023, GCI will offer a 12-month intensive certificate course at its Rosenfield School of Culinary Arts, taught in English. Applications are being accepted with immediate effect.

Architectural rendering of the Galilee Culinary Institute. Photo courtesy of GCI

In addition to cooking classes and organic farming, students will improve their skills in storytelling, marketing, business, networking, resilience and critical thinking. They will discuss work, food insecurity, equity and access to resources.

“We’re trying to create an eclectic culinary artist,” says Nathan Hoffman, the American émigré who created this unusual institute along with Lior Lev Sercarz, chef, cookbook author, and entrepreneur of The Spice King, in partnership with the Jewish National Fund-USA directs.

The first nine months will be dedicated to training and refining each student’s areas of interest and skills, Hoffman tells ISRAEL21c.

“The end product of the graduate course will be targeted and relevant to the student and GCI — a multimedia presentation, a new food product, an investor call, a marketing campaign, a major food event, or an analysis of food distribution during disaster relief efforts,” says Hoffmann.

Nathan Hoffman, above, moderates a team meeting at the Galilee Culinary Institute. Photo courtesy of Nathan Hoffman

Week-long, weekend or day-long food and wine experiences are available for locals and tourists alike.

A typical day’s program: Four hours in the classroom kitchen, a two-hour trip to Fresh Start and a winery or organic farm; and finally, creating social media content about the day’s activities. On Fridays, participants can prepare gourmet Sabbath meals.

Rethinking culinary education

The enterprising Hoffman helped establish a JNF Young Professionals chapter in Arizona before moving to Israel in 2017. He was looking for an effective project to start in the upper Galilee.

Russell Robinson, CEO of JNF-USA, told Hoffman that JNF-USA is willing to invest in a company linked to the burgeoning food and agricultural technology sectors there. He had heard that Sercarz, a New Yorker who grew up in the Upper Galilee, wanted to start a regional culinary institute.

In September 2020, Hoffman chaired a virtual summit where professionals in education, tourism and hospitality from around the world shared ideas on how to adapt snooty, stuffy culinary education to contemporary needs and interests.

“After three days of meetings, we had this big idea. We knew it had to be international and accessible to tourists because one of the goals of the JNF is to bring as many people up north as possible,” says Hoffman.

GCI, he says, can be a gateway to the more than 80 ethnic groups and 4,000 years of Galilee culture.

Conversion of a kibbutz dining room

GCI is under construction in Kibbutz Gonen near the northern border of Israel.

The Kibbutz’s old dining room will be converted to house the restaurant, demonstration kitchen and culinary classrooms overlooking the spectacular landscape.

Adjacent to this 1,600 square meter space – approximately 16,000 square feet – will be a new complex with a chocolatier, brewery, wine and spirits tasting room, restaurant and boutique – all kosher and halal.

Architectural rendering of the back entrance to the Galilee Culinary Institute courtesy of GCI

The campus will be plastic-free and will have a composting area and an organic herb garden.

The boutique hotel Nofey Gonen Holiday Village in Kibbutz Gonen will provide accommodation for visitors “if they sign up for a two-day sourdough baking workshop, for example,” says Hoffman.

There are plans to offer programs for locals in Hebrew and Arabic and to make the on-site restaurant available for catered events.

The long-term goal is for GCI to be self-sustaining, says Hoffman.

A new podcast, What’s Burning, hosted by Kitchen Sense’s Mitchell Davis, former Chief Strategy Officer of the James Beard Foundation, is fueling anticipation of the upcoming project.

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