About Delicious Israel
Delicious Israel’s personalized walking, travel and cooking tours introduce traveling foodies and culture-seekers to authentic Israeli lifestyle. On our tantalizingly tasty adventures, we hear from the brothers running a third-generation Turkish family-owned deli on Levinsky Street, we taste shakshuka at a private Yemenite home nestled next to Shuk HaCarmel, and we learn about the origins of different spices from the immigrants who brought them to Israel. We introduce travelers to Israel at its purest: Israel freshly squeezed. Israel newly baked. Israel raw.
About the Founder
Founded in 2011 by former attorney and yoga instructor, Inbal Baum, Delicious Israel’s intimate culinary crusades have since taken the lead as one of the country’s most enticing ways to explore what it truly means to be an Israeli by engaging with those who call the holy land home.
After working as an attorney in New York City, years of Jewish and Israel-related organizational work and consulting in the private and public sectors, Inbal left behind the desk jobs and immigrated to Israel in 2009 to follow her entrepreneurial heart and passion. As an amateur chef (with a specialized focus on ice cream-making) and yoga instructor, Inbal is always excited for her next food and yoga adventure—in Israel and around the globe.
Ilana Butrimovitz's earliest memories are from spending time in her grandmother’s kitchen where she learned first hand how to cook traditional Sephardic food. After growing up in San Francisco (foodie haven) and graduating from the University of Washington in Seattle (eating all the fresh fish one could imagine), Ilana moved to Israel to pursue a master’s degree in Jewish Education and Jewish History in Jerusalem. Hooked on Israel, Ilana made Aliya in 2010 and has since been combining her passions of Israeli history and culture mixed with her passion for food. As a former resident of Tel Aviv's two main markets, she can’t wait to share with you her favorite eateries. Besides enjoying good eats Ilana has recently taken up surfing and is learning to play the banjo.
Avi Taranto wrote his master's thesis on hummus and Israeli nationalism and today his body consists of 80% chickpea. Tackling the topic of Israel's national dish, Avi researched the origins of Israeli cuisine and posited a shocking conclusion - it's a really a thing! A native New Yorker, Avi studied history and Arabic at McGill (Montreal) where he passionately cooked a lot of curry (Thai and Indian) before going to culinary school in Cap d'Agde, France and moving to Israel in 2009. He has worked as a chef, baker, translator, tutor, researcher and is now a licensed Israeli tour guide.
Mara Seidel's proudest moments is when her toddler ate a whole piece of gefilte fish...and loved it! Growing up in Delaware, her family ate traditional Jewish foods, and while they were strange to her American friends, she is excited to see them on the menu here in Israel. Mara has backpacked through Europe, the US, India, Southeast Asia and officially moved to Israel in 2008. She is a licensed Israeli tour guide and additionally works with university students placing them in Israeli internships. She lives with her husband and baby girl on a beautiful kibbutz, where they pick and eat off the trees whatever happens to be in season.
Rachel Myerson's passion for food sprung upon her after moving to Israel three years ago from the UK, when she discovered the creative joys of home cooking. Inspired by Jewish traditional dishes, abundant local produce and travelling around the globe, she has found unexpected joy in exploring cultures through the food that they eat. As a freelance journalist, Rachel considers herself one lucky lady to be able to research and write about food, then share her findings with all of you!
Harry Rubenstein's culinary journey began with a steady diet of pastrami and Cel-Ray, before a "food awakening" at an Indian restaurant in upstate New York sent him searching. Fast forward 20 years, and Harry, a father of 3 from Modi’in, has left the marketing world after two decades staring at a computer screen to chase his dreams of lemon tarts, macarons, and homemade Nutella that you don’t buy at the store. When he's not slaving (and eating) his way through his pastry chef classes at Bishulim, The Israeli Academy of Culinary Arts, he's baking bagels and bialys and researching (and baking) lost Jewish desserts.
Haysha Shatzman's love of Israeli cuisine was first sparked when he was living with a Libyan family as a lone soldier, and it's only grown since. He ran a small business selling donuts out of his home while he was a student in university, and has professional kitchen experience working as a cook and manager at Hatch brewpub in the Mahane Yehuda Shuk. In his kitchen, you are likely to find homemade sourdough starter, yogurt cultures, and a barrel of beer fermenting in the corner. He can't wait to experience the flavors of Israel with you and have some fun along the way.
Sevim Zakuto is originally from Turkey, where she studied PR. Upon finishing her university degree, she worked in office jobs pertaining to logistics, corporate services and office management. However, in her 30’s, she moved to Israel where she decided to follow her childhood dream of studying pastry making. Since Sevim’s culinary studies, she has worked as a pitzaola and kitchen manager in an Italian restaurant, managed a startup bakery on Kibbutz Kfar Hanassi in the North of Israel, and started her own company called RealFood/WholeEating, where she creates healthy recipes for customers. After being diagnosed with obesity, Sevim came to understand the role that food plays in our lives as either medicinal or poisonous. Ever since, she decided to eat real, whole foods regularly, which are incredibly easy to find in Israel with its abundance of fresh, high quality ingredients.
Tova Garr's love for cooking started at a young age, when on Friday afternoons she was given the choice to cook for Shabbat or clean the bathroom. Born in the US and raised in Israel, Tova would organize her playdates to make sure she could eat at her Moroccan, Yemenite and Tunisian friends' houses, feeling bored with French toast and omelets. Tova became the official cake maker in her family, ultimately opening her own cake decorating business before moving to New York City. Now back in Israel, she runs a coaching and consulting business focused on teaching parents, teens and educators what is means to grow up in a digitally connected world.
Tal Nimrodi was raised on a Moshav in a household of foodies. After spending her teen years abroad and some time wander-lusting around the globe, she returned to Israel to pursue her passion for food, the outdoors, fitness, and sustainability. Four years ago, Tal started her own brand, RUSTYS Nut Butters and Treats, a healthy lifestyle brand which allows her to sell delicious products, run healthy cooking workshops and lecture about entrepreneurship and the importance of sustainability practices. Tal considers herself a healthytarian and you can usually find her riding around Tel Aviv on her bike or practicing acrobatics, aerial silks or yoga.
Chaya Galor's childhood was spent with food at the center, working in her family restaurant, tossing pizzas basically since the age of 5. Born in Israel to immigrant parents from Italy and New York, and raised in a multicultural hippy village in central Israel, Chaya can attest first-hand to the diversity of this country -- both in and out of the kitchen. After her military service, Chaya traveled the world in search of unique cuisines and local culture and settled back in Tel Aviv where she has been working both in the the food world and in film production, as well as studying political science. Chaya has come to realize that although she loves working with people, food is still her greatest passion.
Talia Robinson is a world-record holding hula hooper and Israel’s Got Talent star, amongst many of her claims to fame. Talia moved from London to Israel in search of tastier tomatoes and sunnier days. Although she studied biology at University and started a Masters Degree in nutrition, she realized she couldn’t sit still for more than five minutes and preferred to share her passions with others. As a natural born performer and self-proclaimed food lover, Talia is excited to take you on a stimulating journey uncovering the history and diversity of cultures in Israel through the delicious array of food to be found in the country.
(In)Bar Vanek’s curiosity about the intricacies of Israeli cuisine began in her late teens as she was attempting to recreate her childhood meals. She emigrated from Israel to the US with her parents at 13, and cooking her grandmother’s Czechoslovakian dishes as well as shakshuka, malawach, and hummus allowed her to return to Israel through her taste buds. Throughout her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, Bar realized that fresh local food, cooking, and nutrition education could support people’s lives directly. Since, she has been involved in the culinary and nutrition and has returned to Israel to combine all of her loves - Israeli cuisine, science, and people.
Ruthie Edelstein's enthusiasm for Israeli food began when her parents decided to make Israel their family's second home when she was 7 years old. From that point on Israel became synonymous for Ruthie with free flowing hummus, never ending bars of ice cream, and watermelon for days. Originally from Sacramento, California, Ruthie studied Political Science, Jewish Studies and Global Cultures at the University of Wisconsin, where she fell in love with cheese! Ruthie is fascinated with the blending of cultures through food and loves exploring the markets in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
David Lerner was raised in Spain, by a proud Sephardic mother and an equally proud Ashkenazi grandmother. This blessed blend meant an equal opportunity to learn how to make a proper cholent (Shabbat stew), paella, and empanadas (from Colombian descendants as well). After moving to Israel and completing his masters degree in Biology at the Weizmann Institute, David decided to get hands-on and worked in market restaurants in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. When he isn't sharing his favorite Shuk foods, David can be found studying to be a professional saxophone jazz player.
Missy Witt embarked on a gastronomic odyssey when she moved to Israel in 2011. Her excitement to be living in the country was hampered when she realized that her beloved Mexican food was not available. A true problem solver, she quickly opened a pop-up Tex-Mex joint on her roof in Jerusalem, which evolved into a proper restaurant in the Shuk Machane Yehuda Market. After 2 years, she realized her favorite parts about going to work were the people and the experience around food. Consequentially, you can currently find her gallavanting around the shuk to all of her favorite vendors, with a special zest for bringing the inside scoop to anybody who wants to visit her favorite place in the whole world...Shuk Machane Yehuda!
Nikki Fig can’t recall a positive life experience that didn’t involve something delicious. Originally from San Diego, Israel captured her heart (and stomach!) at an early age. After getting her degree in Broadcast Journalism in Boston, she spent time traveling abroad and moved to LA where she worked in marketing for startups until she moved to Tel Aviv. Perpetually curious, Nikki finds that life is best explored by talking, walking and eating. As a former ballet dancer, Nikki is also passionate about movement. In between meals, you can find her taking a hot yoga class or walking her puppy, Louie Armstrong. Since moving to Israel, Nikki has worked in the high tech space and now is delighted to combine her love of eating, schmoozing and exploring her favorite city.
Arella Mayer was born with a drumstick in one hand and a rugelach in the other. A Kugel Connoisseur, nothing excites her more than hosting Friday night Shabbat meals around a big pot of cholent. Arella spent her childhood running through Jerusalem's alleyways and markets, fueled by falafel, and moved to the US as a teenager. After completing her BA in neuroscience and psychology at the University of Maryland, she returned to her roots in Israel to serve in the military. Arella has since studied drums and composition at the Rimon School of Music. When she's not drumming or working at a high tech start-up, you can find her hosting music circles on the Tel Aviv beach, exploring the best shakshuka, malawach, or leading cholent hops in Bnei Brak.
Lainie Schwartz, originally from Winnipeg (the coldest city in Canada), told her parents that Israel was "too hot, but delicious" after first visiting the country as a teenager. Ten years later, Israel is hotter than ever, with the Israeli food and drink scene making waves around the world. Before making aliyah in 2013, she studied Political Science and Jewish History from McGill University and worked in politics. After military service in the IDF's Foreign Liaison Division, she worked in international tourism and nonprofit organizations, met her husband while serving chicken wings and completed her MA in Political Marketing from IDC Herzliya. In between going out to eat, Lainie also enjoys reading, crossword puzzles, documentaries, traveling and playing guitar.
Sarah Ross grew up baking with her mom and grandmother and pouring over the mysterious recipes in her father’s “Gourmet” magazines. Years later, her first career in fashion design (and a second in non-profit management), led her to New York City where she could actually taste the things she’d read about, and found new joy in cooking and baking. In 2017, Sarah traded in the bagels of Queens to make the land of milk and halva her home. She lives outside of Tel Aviv with her husband and two young children.
Alex Lasky, originally from South Florida, knew that moving to Israel without knowing too many people would be difficult, so what better to meet new people than by hosting them for Shabbat dinners! Through food, she connected with new people and shared her recipes for others to enjoy. She continued her studies in Middle East Studies at Tel Aviv University and continues to cook with new Middle Eastern recipes utilizing the fresh market ingredients nearby. Alex splits her time between Miami, Florida and Tel Aviv.
OPERATIONS SOUS CHEF
Molly Cutler is a certified holistic health & nutrition coach with a deep love for all things food, nutrition and health. She is originally from Los Angeles and moved to Tel Aviv six years ago. Weekends during childhood included countless hours spent watching her favorite cooking personalities on the Food Network and with experimental adventures in the kitchen. At age ten, she made her first ever creation, a blueberry upside-down cake, and had an inkling from then on that at some point, her life and career path would center around food. She ended up studying public health during college and then worked for several years in marketing and business development at a boutique tech PR firm. Almost 18 years since that first cake, and Molly has come full circle, leading a passion filled life in the food and nutrition world.
Jared Erman grew up in the kitchen. For as long as he can remember he would help his father prepare family meals, be it on a grill, in the oven (standard or Dutch), or even in a wok. After studying marketing and entrepreneurship at the University of Arizona he spent over two years working at an investing firm in Tucson, a world city of gastronomy. As the Excel/Sheets ninja, Jared will marry his passion for food with his skillz for finances. Jared is a Fourth Degree Master Instructor in the Korean-American martial art of Modern Tang Soo Do, and served as the University of Arizona’s head coach for six years. Perhaps one day he’ll combine his love of food and karate and become a hibachi chef.