One goal I have in feeding people is to create a liminal stage of some kind. I use my role as Chef and Artist to invite people into an experience they know well and I then attempt to change certain rituals in order to allow for the potential of new customs and communities to materialize.
"Restaurant and Community"
ZoeFoodParty is an ongoing food movement attempting to make food fun again for those of us that feel the world of foodie cuisine and culture has exhausted our capacity to simply sit back and enjoy. Ever go out to eat a well-regarded, highly anticipated meal and walk away without a single memory? Me too. This led me to explore the reasons and processes that got us to this level of jaded eating. How can so many restaurants fail to provide a unique experience to their diner? Why is the culture of the restaurant world feeling more and more benign instead of more and more diverse? And why, after so many cooking shows and mainstream exposure to the world of culinary arts does it feel like we are surrounded by mediocrity? Have we lost our ability to be romanced? Or is the industry subject to a larger machine (like much of culture) that is spinning it around on it's own axis? I am trying to move my food and the people who eat it to a new space. One that is more akin to being a kid than being the person who scored a table at the best spot in town. If you walk away from a ZoeFoodParty having stuffed food into someone else's mouth so that they could try the perfect bite...I would not be surprised.
If you have ever visited Tel Aviv, you may have already been to Cafe Xoho to get a chocolate chip cookie, or a beer bread breakfast. I say this with the confidence of a man because we built a space that is THAT good. Serving tourists and locals alike, the restaurant went from a tiny underground spot to a bustling and addictive full fledged cult. The most important thing in creating Cafe Xoho with owner Xoli Ormut-Durbin was our love of food and people. In a cafe scene as saturated as Tel Aviv's, we knew we needed to be different in order to stand out. So loving what we do and standing by our product was only the beginning. Treating each customer as a friend, and our team as family was another. This process of growing a community organically was like growing a garden, it took time, energy, thoughtfulness, and care. We had to endure all the usual pitfalls of opening a business while simultaneously challenging ourselves to be better and more engaged and more democratic than the traditional food models that existed around us. The hard work one puts into the food industry isn't usually met by the type of life changing place that Xoho is. But ask anyone who has been there and they will probably tell you...it leaves it mark and makes you feel like coming back. To that I say, whallah.