For the 7th time in as many years, the Yarden Vintage 2015 Wine & Culinary Festival is taking place. The festival will be held at the Golan Heights Winery at Katzrin's industrial area. The festival's slogan is "Creating Our Future". Therefore, 70 young up and coming Israeli chefs have been chosen to showcase their abilities. These chefs come from the best restaurants and culinary institutes in the country, and have been chosen by other leading Israeli chefs, to take Israel into the next culinary stage. Every chef's delicacy will be paired with a Golan Heights Winery wine.
Together with the culinary element of the festival, there will also be interesting wine workshops. The workshops will be narrated by the Golan Heights Winery members, headed by the head winemaker, Victor Schoenfeld. The workshops include a trip into the winery’s cellar, barrel warehouse, their experimental winery, and a 4×4 trip into the winery’s vineyards. One workshop will also be passed on by Micha Vaadia, Galil Mountain Winery head winemaker. All of the winery’s wine will be poured and tasted, as well as the launching of their flagship wine, the Yarden Katzrin Red 2011.
The festival is two days long. On Wednesday the 13.5 the festival is open only to wine professionals and journalists. Thursday the 14.5 is open to everybody who is interested (entry fee required).
As the Yarden Vintage 2015 festival came closer, I accepted a chance to interview one of Israel’s up and coming chefs. Her name is Ofra Cafri, from 1910 Restaurant & Bar in Deganya A in the Jordan Valley. I met a straightforward and down-to-earth chef, who actually doesn’t consider herself a chef at all (“chef” is actually a title given to the one who’s in charge of the kitchen). This is how her story began…
When Ofra was a little girl, she started at her kibbutz’s dining room, not as a chef, but as a client who came to eat there every day. When the dining room closed, and her mother, inexperienced tried to cook at home, Ofra discovered that she has a knack in and for the kitchen. After learning at Estela in Giv’at Shmuel, Ofra finally dove into the working world with 2 years at Ein Kamonim in the Galilee, and then 6 years at Brasserie in Tel Aviv.
At Brasserie, Ofra looked to Ran (her boss) for some advice. She wanted to attend a culinary institute in order to get a proper education at what she loved to do. Ran advised her to either learn abroad, or stay at Brasserie and obtain experience from the bottom of the “food chain”. Slowly but surely, Ofra climbed the ladder at Brasserie. Ofra said it best – “This system is the closest it gets to the army’s ranking system.” (Referring to climbing up in the kitchen ranks). After six years at Brasserie, Ofra decided to move out of Tel Aviv and move up north where it’s a bit quieter.
So far, Ofra has worked at 1910 for a year and a half. She is finding her place in the kitchen, being able to express and develop her skills in creating the restaurants’ entrees. She says she works hard, and that she has to remind herself a few times a day that she enjoys what she does.
I enjoyed interviewing Ofra. Again, a very simple and straightforward woman, who’s doing exactly what she loves to do.
For more information about Yarden Vintage 2015 press here.