Israeli fusion restaurant Zahav wins James Beard award

Michael Solomonov’s Philadelphia eatery garners coveted award from the foundation that has honored the chef himself several times.

Zahav, chef Michael Solomonov’s famed Israeli fusion restaurant in Philadelphia, won the Outstanding Restaurant award at the 2019 James Beard Foundation Awards in Chicago on May 6.

The Israeli-born restaurateur opened Zahav (Hebrew for “gold”) with partner Steve Cook in 2008 with the aim of putting Israeli-inspired dishes and Israeli-produced ingredients on American plates.

Solomonov is no stranger to the vaunted James Beard Awards.

He was a semifinalist Rising Star Chef of the Year in 2008 and 2009, and in 2010 was nominated in the Best Chefs in America category. In 2011, Solomonov received a Best Chefs in America award for the mid-Atlantic region.

He was semifinalist Outstanding Chef in 2015 and was nominated as Outstanding Chef again in 2016. That year, he and Cook won two Beard awards for their first cookbook, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking.

In 2017, Solomonov won the Outstanding Chef award.

Solomonov and Cook’s CookNSolo group also owns other eateries in Philadelphia: hummus and Israeli salads restaurant Dizengoff; falafel, fries and shakes vegan joint Goldie; The Rooster Jewish deli; Federal Donuts (which also serves fried chicken); and Abe Fisher, serving small plates inspired by Jewish world cuisine.

The James Beard Foundation’s mission is “to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone.”

About the Author:

Abigail Klein Leichman is a writer and associate editor at ISRAEL21c. Prior to moving to Israel in 2007, she was a specialty writer and copy editor at a major daily newspaper in New Jersey and has freelanced for a variety of newspapers and periodicals since 1984.

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