We can’t tell you what’s on the menu, but we can tell it’s going to be an unforgettable experience. On November 22-26, Tel Aviv’s Hotel Montefiore will host American Express’s annual culinary tour, Round Tables. The hotel will feature a five-day menu by Nordic chef Thorsten Schmidt, who heads Malling & Schmidt in Denmark. Schmidt, known as the “Nordic Alchemist” and a pioneer of Nordic cuisine, will collaborate with the Hotel Montefiore’s Chef Uri Steinberg to create the limited edition, five-course, prix-fixe menu. Here, Chef Schmidt talks Tel Aviv’s culinary influence and teases what we might see on the event’s top-secret menu.
How would you describe Nordic cuisine?
It’s curious and personal, with a regional-cultural foundation. It’s a quest for new tastes and scents. Nordic cuisine is more a way of thinking, feeling and working with food on a blueprint that can be transferred to other geographical locations.
What is your own approach to cuisine?
I find joy in creating moments in a person’s life through taste.
Is it difficult to collaborate when making a menu? How does that usually work?
It works very well, as long as you meet passionate people. Usually, the curiosity and the joy of seeing and learning something new takes over.
Where will you get inspiration for the Round Tables menu?
The trip to Tel Aviv and the land of Israel a few months ago really opened my eyes to the diversity of produce and cuisines within the country. The population itself is completely multiethnic, which influences the cuisine in several new ways. Combined with my Nordic background and culinary approach, this menu will be an experience for the ages.
Will the location, either Hotel Montefiore or Tel Aviv, influence the menu?
Yes, of course, both locations have influenced the menu. I will be out of my normal element and therefore invest a new version of my cuisine that is influenced by the brilliant team at Hotel Montefiore, and the abundance of locavore and incredible produce and ingredients found in Tel Aviv and sourced from across Israel.
What did you do t0 research and prepare for the Round Tables event?
I read extensively about Israeli cuisine and was so looking forward to meeting with the Hotel Montefiore team, who planned to take me around to different food producers, to see and taste some of the possible ingredients for the menu. It was a day I will never forget.
Are you planning to reveal anything about the top-secret menu?
No plans to reveal; that would spoil the fun! I can tell you that we are going to use some products from Israel that I would call some of Israel’s forgotten gastronomic treasures. You will have to be in Tel Aviv for the dinner, and the secrets will reveal themselves.
Reserve your tickets here.