CLEVER COOKING with HAYA MOLCHO
The Israeli star chef in a cook-off with her son
The popular pros put our all-rounders to the test
Haya Molcho is an internationally celebrated star on the culinary scene. This engaging businesswoman has now put the Clever Cooking range to the test for you, in an exciting cook-off with her son! Read on to find out how it went, pick up some clever tips from the pros and work up an appetite for a visit to one of the trendy NENI restaurants.
"Shakshuka is a bit old school."
— Nuriel —
"What do you mean by old school? You grew up with shakshuka, what are you talking about?"
— Haya —
As you watch the star chef Haya Molcho and her son Nuriel at work in the kitchen, expertly blanching tomatoes, deseeding chilis and grilling aubergines, you can feel their passion. They are clearly a well-practised team, despite the fact that they're in competition here! Because the Clever Cooking cook-off will show who has the edge in the culinary stakes. Or perhaps not?
The new art of serving
If you want to create a relaxed atmosphere around the table, all you need is a bit of courage to let go. The Molchos show you how it's done. They arrange all kinds of flavoursome dishes on the table, serving many straight from the chopping board. Whole peppers, half lemons and sprigs of fresh herbs add a decorative touch. Salt is taken from a pile rather than using the shaker. And bread is torn off instead of sliced!
Shakshuka à la Haya
Shakshuka is not just a national dish in Israel, it is also the best hangover breakfast in the world! Try it for yourself. To prepare it, use the largest Clever Cooking dishes, which you can later place directly on the table. The baking dishes coordinate perfectly with all kinds of crockery and the fact that everyone helps themselves automatically creates a cheerful and lively atmosphere. Like at the Molchos'!
Casual grilled aubergines
At the Clever Cooking cook-off, Haya and Nuriel also prepared some aubergines, almost in passing. For a perfect smoked aroma, cook them directly on the open flame of the gas stove. But if you prefer to use the oven, cook the aubergines until they are beautifully soft and starting to blister. Then scrape off the dark skin, pull the flesh into pieces and add a little salt.
Haya Molcho has always enjoyed trying out new things and developing her own recipes. Although her main focus is Israeli cuisine, her culinary influences range from Morocco and India to Romania - the homeland of Haya's parents. However, one very important factor in all modern cuisine is the freshness and quality of the ingredients.
The successful NENI concept
Good, honest and tasty. This was the principle that inspired the opening of Haya Molcho's first restaurant with her sons in 2009. There are now three NENI restaurants, which have become a byword for modern orientally aromatic cuisine. The name is a combination of the initials of the four boys, a symbol of the family spirit that is the most important thing in life for the Molchos. Visitors to NENI can feel this and everyone is part of it.
An interview with the star chef
"Cooking is my life," says the internationally celebrated gourmet chef. And this passion is reflected in everything Haya Molcho does. After the Clever Cooking cook-off, we had a chance to talk to her and find out more about the engaging star chef, businesswoman - and mother.
How often do you cook outside of work?
I cook every day for family and friends. It's my life, I love it.
What can we learn from Israel in terms of cuisine?
Variety. Israel isn't about stews and single-pot dishes, it's a table laden with sumptuous food.
How did you cook for your four sons when they were growing up?
They ate everything and luckily they were always very flexible. There was a surprise for them every time:
What has Haya reinvented now? I was constantly trying out new things, from Indian to African, and developing my own recipes. The boys had no time for fast food.
Is the menu the same at all NENIs?
There are some slight regional differences. For example, in Hamburg we have more fish on the menu, because you can find fresher fish there.
You have recently started sourcing vegetables from your own farm in Romania. How did this come about?
I love tomatoes and the aromatic varieties I prefer are hard to come by in Central Europe. So we came up with the idea of growing our own. My husband thought I was crazy at first, and complained: I married a princess who became a restaurateur. And now she's a farmer! We laughed a lot at that!