Meet the chef

Nice to meet you, my name is Alyssa Samowitz. I am a born and raised New Yorker, who made Aliyah in the spring of 2013. Before making Aliyah, I graduated from the prestigious culinary school Johnson and Wales university. Since making Aliyah, I have been amazed with the foods and flavors in Israel. Cooking is my passion, especially cooking healthy, balanced, nutritious and delicious meals. In a busy city like Tel Aviv, not everybody has the time to cook. I am here to bring the freshest food from our country, cooked and prepared to your table.

Why healthy food? Whats the fun in that?

Healthy food does not mean no flavor, no taste, no fun. In fact, it means the exact. Israel has fresh fruits and vegetables that are packed with flavors. The first time I tasted a red pepper here, compared to America, I was amazed. Not to mention, the spices in Israel are mouth watering. Healthy food to me is using the deliciousness that is available to us in Israel, using minimal amounts of fat, only whole wheat carbs and no processed foods. My meals focus more on protein and vegetables/ fruits, with a side serving of carbs. Carbs are a very important element in eating healthy because it is what provides your body with energy. Taking out a food group is not healthy nor beneficial to your body. With the correct type, amounts and preparation carbohydrates and fats only enhances your health journey.

What made me start Gourmet TLV?

When I first came to Israel, I was gaining weight like crazy. I had heard that avocados are healthy as well as chickpeas, hummus, nuts. I tasted new fruits that I have never seen before (do you remember the first time you tried a persimmon?). Well, I thought I was eating healthy, but just because the food is healthy, does not mean that your body should eat an unlimited supply of it. I learned the hard way that healthy foods, even fruits and vegetables, should be ate in moderation. That is where "balanced meals" come in. It is no secret that the local cuisine in Tel Aviv is extraordinary. I found it hard to find healthy and balanced meals because even the salad portions at cafes are about double. Does anybody else have trouble putting the fork down before they finish the plate? On top of the delicious food here in Tel Aviv, it is a very busy city. Waking up early, getting home late, maybe you have some time to buy some take-out on the way home or make it in time for half off bar food with a beer after work. I've seen it, I've been there myself. We often do not have time to prepare 3 meals a day, but consequently we then resort to eating whatever we have left over in our fridge for lunch the next day, or paying for over priced, over portioned food. We simply can not add more hours to do the day, so let me make your day a little easier by providing you with well balanced meals for the week. 

Has healthy eating not worked for you in the past?

Balanced meals are proper serving sizes of all the food groups. Your body gets the vitamins and energy that it needs, but with out taking in extra calories or fat by over eating. Who knew that a proper size of meat for a meal is about the size of your palm? It is hard to know when restaurants and all of our Shabbat dinners have pieces of meat as big as our heads, mountains of couscous and fried vegetables. Delicious, yes! Well balanced, no! My meals are the correct serving sizes that each person should be aiming for. With the correct amount of protein, vegetables, fat and carbs, you would be surprised how much a small looking meal can fill you up.

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Alyssa Shochat