Israeli chef Guy Gamzo, who owns Aria restaurant in Tel Aviv, is slated to help kick off the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival tonight, offering his cuisine at the opening gala. While in town at the request of the Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast, Mr. Gamzo is also offering an exclusive Israeli cooking class. The consulate spoke with Mr. Gamzo about his cooking beginnings and what he hopes to achieve during his short visit. (This Q&A first appeared on the consulate’s website.)
How did you get your start on the culinary scene?
I was always attracted to food and the kitchen. Even as a child I used to watch my mother cook, go with her to the market, and help her in the kitchen. At the age of 15, I started working in a small restaurant and couldn’t get enough. After the army, I studied in Tadmor’s Culinary School and for 10 years worked in major restaurants in TLV. I also worked in Michelin-starred restaurants in Provence southeastern France. Two years ago we opened ARIA Restaurant & Bar where I am the executive chef.
What do you hope to bring to the Atlanta community?
I hope to bring real, authentic Israeli flavors for the Atlanta community to taste and reminisce, and hopefully to make them want to come and visit in Israel.
What, if any, are the major differences you see between Israeli and American cuisine?
I think the major difference between the two cuisines is in the flavors and seasoning, Israeli food has lots of olive oil, lemon juice and fresh herbs, cumin and other spices.
What are you most looking forward to during your time in Atlanta?
The thing that I am most looking forward during my stay in Atlanta is to see how people react to my food, to watch their faces as they take a bite into something. That will give me great pleasure. Also I would like to visit some local markets and eat in restaurants.
Learn more about Mr. Gamzo’s Tel Aviv restaurant here.