Another little-known secret is that Tunisia was home to a thriving Jewish community since the 12 century BC. Old Testament documentation reveals that the fishing tribe of Zebulon fished the coral in the area to make the blue color of their religious sacraments, and Jewish graves have been uncovered in the ruins of Carthage. The Jews brought their food with them from biblical Israel and integrated their dishes with the native Berber cuisine and all the subsequent strata that form modern Tunisian cuisine.
However, with the departure of the French leading to Arab ruler ship in the early sixties, following the Algerian war, Tunisian Jews embarked upon yet another Odyssey. They mainly went to France as a whole community and replanted their roots in Paris, Marseille and Nice.
I was born in Tunisia. My family traces their roots back to the destruction of the first temple of Jerusalem in 586 AD. In 1961 my family was part of the exodus that moved to Paris. We brought a suitcase and a few possessions with us. That suitcase was our table the first night we arrived and moved into our apartment.
My dad opened a little place that served drinks and kemia; my mom did the cooking. . He kept moving into bigger and bigger places. where his father opened the successful kosher Tunisian restaurant, Les Ailes (“the Wings”) in 1973. I started working there when I was nine years old. When I was a teen-ager I adapted the restaurant to more contemporary French Tunisian fusion cuisine. Les Ailes remained the Still a hub of the Tunisian Jewish community of Paris, and on the must-visit foodie list until it closed a couple of years ago.
But by 1991 I had crossed the Atlantic to establish his roots in Los Angeles, bringing with me all the memories and the recipes of my family. In love with the movies, Iarrived in Hollywood to attend film school, but even there I began cooking for more and more new friends until I knew I had to rejoin the culinary world full time. After a series of learning jobs, ranging from catering at the prolific Raleigh Studios to creating progressive, artisanal sandwiches with legendary Nancy Silverton at La Brea Bakery, I opened Got Kosher?, a sthe original basis of my operation today, a wholesale gourmet sandwich and salad operation.
In answer to the call for kosher catering and in-house dining, I then created a café and catering service that now serves hospitals, airports, hotels, institutions, schools and even the celebrity parties catered by Wolfgang Puck and Patina.
I consider my treasured Tunisian recipes and the ones I have developed over time for Shabbat and catered parties and the restaurants as a reflection of my passion for delicious food that’s kosher, and definitely kosher with no apologies.”