Set at the impressive JW3 complex near West Hampstead, the festival comprised of an open air food market where vendors gave out tasters of their creations, a programme of presentations by renowned chefs and gastronomic experts and several workshops for people to get their hands dirty.
One highlight was a cooking demonstration by the top Iraqi-Jewish chef Moshe Basson, owner and head chef of the acclaimed Eucalyptus restaurant in Jerusalem. He took the audience through stories of his youth in a refugee camp and how that influenced his culinary tastes and also described his work as a member of ‘Chefs for Peace‘, a group of Israeli and Palestinian chefs who use food as a bridge to promote coexistence in the region.
There was a session by the Master Chef 2015 finalist Emma Spitzer, who wowed a large audience during an hour of charismatic conversation with event director Nicki Tiefenbrun, all whilst whipping up a fish falafel. Other big names included the best selling author Claudia Roden talking about her ‘Desert Island Dishes’, a discussion hosted by Channel 4 writer Felicity Spector and a panel featuring Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich, the husband and wife team at the helm of Honey & Co, one of London’s most talked about restaurants this year.
Interactive workshops from sushi chef Eliezer Gilbert, home beer brewer Josh Charig and wine connoisseur Danny Saltman of the specialist Kedem winery delighted those who participated throughout the day, showing that ‘Jewish’ fare is not just limited to the stereotypical bagels and smoked salmon. Fabienne Viner-Luzzato brought a taste of North Africa with her Brique a l’oeuf, a deep-fried egg wrapped in a delicious Tunisian pastry and filled with tuna and harissa and former head chef at the world famous Ottolenghi, Or Golan, chose to celebrate the art of the salad.
The most impressive aspect of Gefiltefest was its ability to showcase the diversity of the British-Jewish culinary scene through its range of offerings from every corner of the world and celebration of gastronomy as a concept. And for those who are feeling hungry after reading this, don’t worry, it will be back next year.
By Joey Leskin
Joey is a London tour guide, youth worker and freelance writer covering all things travel, culture and London. His personal site London, Life Rules and Tales From Afar can be found at the inexplicably different URL www.ctrlaltdeletelondon.com or you can follow him on Twitter @joey__le.