Chef Moshe Shek. Photograph from Google Images.
Did you know… that Chef Moshe Shek tried his hand at a number of different things including toying with the idea of becoming a pilot and taking up photography before he decided to become a Chef.
Did you know… he decided to take up cooking as a profession at 21yrs after he worked in the Kibbutz (the fame community kitchens in Israel). His love for food grew from here.
Did you know… he still does food related courses; he considers them a good refresher and great way to learn new things.
Did you know… he spends every New Year in the Moshe’s kitchen cooking. He says if his boys are working on New Year’s he wants to be there cooking with them.
Did you know… he once did a Christmas Cake decoration course, he says the ladies there were quite amused to see a young boy learning to make decorative flowers J
Did you know… he drove from Canada to Vermont to go stay with Goat Cheese farmers so he could learn how to make Goat Cheese! It’s only fair to say the officials at the border were fairly confused as to why anyone would fly all the way from India to Canada and then drive to Vermont to learn to make Goat Cheese; they called the farmers to verify his story! (It only goes to show you the lengths to which foodies, me included, would go to for a good food experience).
Do you know how Moshe’s came to have the largest dessert menu in the country? Chef Moshe Shek spoke to me about this and more when we sat down over a cup of coffee at one of his many Cafes.
The Favourites List:
Favourite dish you ate in Israel
Chef Moshe: Maybe not favourite but the best thing to order is the Mezze. You can include a number of dishes in the Mezze when you order it; always pick the maximum so you can try a variety of dishes.
Favourite food scene in a movie
Chef Moshe: Ratatouille. I was amazed at the details; you don’t expect to see such intricacy in an animated movie. The kitchen and food were portrayed beautifully.
Favourite Restaurant in the world
Chef Moshe: I stay off the tourist path and eat what the locals eat. I recently had an amazing fish dish in Portugal.
Favourite ingredient to cook with
Chef Moshe: Of late it’s Sweet Smoked Paprika (from Spain). My favourite ingredient keeps changing.
Favourite mid-night snack
Chef Moshe: Not favourite but ‘The’ mid-night snack has to be Lindt; first it was the Dark- Chocolate Lindt then it was the Chocolate-Orange flavor and now it’s the Milk-Chocolate one.
Would you choose…
Chef Moshe: Cake
Chef Moshe: Ice-cream
- If you had to cook – Savory or Dessert?
Chef Moshe: Dessert
- If you had to re-invent – Moshe’s Signature Fondue or Moshe’s Signature Cheesecake ?
Chef Moshe: The Fondue. The Cheesecake is perfect.
Chef Moshe: Pancakes
Q & A:
When Caterbility (A catering unit, Chef’s first business venture in India) was at its peak you dropped everything and went back to Israel. What made you take that decision?
Chef Moshe: I had this bug in the back of my head about going back. I always said I would go back and I did not want to regret not doing it when I was 40! So I went back and stayed there for 3 yrs.
What was your experience like working in the Kibbutz?
Chef Moshe: The thing I learnt was working with food and people. You get instant feedback there which is great. It’s a communal feeling and we were one big family.
You have spent a lot of time in India and Israel. Do you find any similarities in the food cultures of the two places or similarities in taste?
Chef Moshe: No similarities. The two are worlds apart!
Childhood food memory you treasure?
Chef Moshe: My mum makes a dish called Shorva. I hate the dish! I detest it! When mum made this dish I would eat biscuits.
Me: This is a childhood food memory you treasure!
Chef Moshe: (Shrugs his shoulders) you say food memory this is the first thing that comes to mind (smiles).
Do you have a sweet tooth? Go-to dessert when you crave something sweet?
Chef Moshe: Yes, I do! Again it depends on where I am travelling. So it was Waffles in Belgian, Gelato in Italy, Custard Tarts in Portugal; even the Starbucks in Portugal had Custard Tarts!
What’s your comfort food?
Chef Moshe: My mum makes Mhasha, a dish of mince stuffed vegetables. It’s delicious!!!
You set the Moshe’s menus. Where do you draw inspiration from?
Chef Moshe: It’s a mix of my travels and what’s in season; things I like to eat also make it on the menu. I used to sit in Goa and now Alibaug and draw up the menus.
Do you cook in your free time? What do you cook for yourself?
Chef Moshe: Baking is a passion. I love baking bread! I even have my own wheat grinder.
Complete the sentence. I make the best…
Chef Moshe: Red Velvet cake.
The one dish you will never try again?
Chef Moshe: Shorva!
And to end with…
Moshe’s has the largest dessert menu in the country. How did that come about?
Chef Moshe: Whenever I went out for a meal I found the dessert page on the menu frustrating; there were the standard choices and maybe one or two other choices on the menu. I did not want to ignore the dessert section on the Moshe’s menu; I wanted people to have a variety to choose from.
Thank you Chef for taking the time to sit down with The Treat Truck; your passion & love of food is refreshing and your eagerness to spend time in the kitchen is proof of that.
Since Chef loves bread and his current favourite ingredient is Sweet Smoked Paprika, I thought why not combine the two! I had this No Knead Bread recipe (from the show – Chuck’s Day Off) so I added my twist to it…
- 1 tbsp dry yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 3 cups water – warm
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 360gms flour
- 1tsp sweet smoked paprika, slightly heaped
- 1 tbsp salt
- 300 – 360gms whole wheat flour*
In a big bowl mix the dry yeast, sugar and warm water. Leave aside till foamy.(if the water is too hot the yeast will die and if too cold it will not activate, you will know the water is at the right temperature if you are able to leave your little finger in the warm water for a few seconds without getting burnt.)
When foamy add the vinegar, olive oil, flour and salt and stir with a wooden spoon. Then add the whole wheat flour & the sweet smoked paprika. Mix with a wooden spoon. Make sure to mix well till all the ingredients are equally wet. Divide the dough in half and place in two loaf tins greased with olive oil. Cover with a wet towel and set aside in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes or until it doubles in size.
In the last 10 minutes of resting preheat your oven to 260 C (if your oven takes time to heat put it on before 10 minutes) and bake for 50 mins or until golden brown and the top of the bread is hard.
* Add between 300 – 360 gms of whole wheat flour till you get a dough of floppy consistency. The dough is not a well formed dough but a wet-ish one.
One of the very first cookies I made with my mum was a Moshe’s recipe we found in a newspaper…Sweet memories :)