He’s been called Israel’s answer to Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and JK Rowling all rolled into one. Having hosted numerous television programs in his native country, written a slew of best-sellers and toured the world eating at its best restaurants, Gil Hovav now finds himself in Vancouver as part of the 28th Annual Cherie Smith JCC Jewish Book Festival.
Born into one of the most famous families in the Jewish community – great-grandson of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the reviver of the Hebrew language; grandson to Itamar Ben-Avi, who began modern Hebrew journalism, and son to Moshe & Drora Hovav, founding members of Israel’s modern day public radio – can you imagine the conversation at that dinner table?
Vancouver audiences may get a taste of what that conversation would be like as Hovav appears at the Jewish Book Festival on November 25 to promote his latest book, Confessions of a Kitchen Rebbetzin. In the meantime, we caught up with him to find a little more about this openly gay culinary personality.
Are there any foods you particularly can’t stand / won’t eat?
Of course! I detest sushi. I don’t like raw meat. I don’t drink milk (but love cheese). I keep away from buckwheat and the list goes on and on. Also, I had a show which I shot all over the world that was called ‘Kill Gil’ in which in every country I eat the worst dish it can offer. I would say that the Chinese won with their Century Eggs, although Gefilte Fish is similarly horrid.
Of all the places you’ve traveled, are there any that are particularly memorable for you?
I always love to have dinner at L’ami Louis in Paris. That is, when I find someone rich or stupid enough (or both) to pay for it.
As a food critic, did you ever need to overcome the fear of giving a ‘bad’ review?
I think a bad review should be written with compassion and good intentions. One should remember that even if food was not delicious, the chef tried his best. Having said that, it is still important to advise your readers about places they may want to think twice before they go to.
You are a father to a young child. We’d love to know what foods you make at home?
Chicken soup (though she says her Mom’s is better), Ptitim (Israeli small pasta) and salad. Everything should be simple and not too colourful (kids don’t like food that is too festive).
You’ve been described as a foodie superstar in your country. Does this level of fame ever feel strange for you?
I believe I am underestimated 🙂
A Taste of Israel
Part of the Cherie Smith JCC Jewish Book Festival
Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 8pm
It’s not every day that you can savour the secrets of a diverse cuisine while getting the inside scoop on how, where and why it was created from the master chef himself. Here is your chance to nosh on the very delicacies created according to the recipes of the eclectic and charming Gil Hovav and one of Israel’s leading culinary journalists and media personalities. Visit http://www.jccgv.com for tickets and information.
The Food Gays
Together since 2009, The Food Gays are two Vancouver men who love food. Join them every two weeks right here on GayVancouver.Net as they bring you something tasty.