Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem chefs strive for the next iconic dish

Click photo to download. Caption: Chef Itzik Barak and Chef JJ Johnson, of the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, present their proposed iconic dish: "The Seven Species." Credit: Sarka Babicka.

The Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem this week announced its participation in the second year of “Taste of Waldorf Astoria,” a global culinary contest from Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and the well-known James Beard Foundation culinary arts organization. Itzik Barak, executive chef of the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem, is competing with five other international chefs to create a new iconic dish.

Participating dishes are judged according to their level of innovation, simplicity of preparation, taste, presentation, and suitability for preparation at hotels around the world.

“I am proud that Chef Barak was elected to be one of the five master chefs to compete in the prestigious ‘Taste of Waldorf Astoria’ competition,” said Guy Klaiman, general manager of Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem. “It is a great honor for Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem. This nomination, along with being awarded the best hotel in the Middle East and seventh best hotel in the world, is very exciting. We will continue to strive for service and quality of the highest levels.”

The following is the recipe for the Jerusalem Waldorf’s proposed iconic dish:

"The Seven Species," By Chef Itzik Barak and Chef JJ Johnson, Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem

Yield: 4-6 servings


Sea Bream

4 filet seam bream

2 whole eggplants

100 gram (1) sourdough baguette

4 thyme leaves

1 lemon

10 grams of fennel seeds

Pinch of salt for taste

Pinch of pepper for taste

1 cup olive oil

Bulgur Salad

40 gram of bulgur wheat

1 pomegranate

4 dates

40 grams pumpkin

4 pears 

One piece of ginger

20 grams parsley

20 grams mint

1 teaspoon yuzu 

1 lemon

1 small red chili, fresh

Pinch of salt for taste

Pinch of pepper for taste

1 cup olive oil



40 grams tahini

1 lemon juice, fresh

Pinch of salt for taste

Pinch of pepper for taste

1 cup olive oil

1 cup ice water


1 radish

1 yellow zucchini

1 carrots

1 cucumber

1 fennel 

1 lemon

Drizzle yuzu 

Pinch of salt for taste

Pinch of pepper for taste

1 spoon olive oil


Fill mixing bowl with room temperature water and soak bulgur wheat for 30 minutes. Grill eggplant on high flame for 5 minutes on each side until soft and charcoaled. Remove both stems. Peel one eggplant, leave the other with the charred skin. Cut both eggplants into cubes. Put all cubed pieces into one blender. Add 1/2 cup of olive oil and squeeze 2 lemons. Add salt and pepper for taste. Mix in blender on high until smooth.

Strain water from the soaked bulgur wheat and move to a mixing bowl. Chop parsley and mint. Dress pumpkin with thyme leaves, salt, pepper and oil. Sauté pumpkin in medium pan for 3 minutes till golden brown. In a separate bowl, add 20 grams yuzu, salt, pepper, olive oil, chili and mix. In the same bowl, add Bulgur, sautéed pumpkin, dates, pomegranate seeds, pears, parsley, mint, ginger, mix. Add yuzu dressing from the first bowl to mixture and taste.

Remove sea bream skin. Cut fish long way and then in half to result in four equally-sized rectangles. Season raw pieces with thyme, salt, pepper and olive oil. Add the eggplant paste to one side of each fish piece. Add one piece of sliced bread to the same side as the eggplant paste. Cut the bread to align with the size of each fish. Add all four pieces to a sauté pan. Cook fish at medium heat for 2 minutes, bottom side first then flip until top side is golden brown. Add tahini, lemon, salt, pepper, olive oil and ice water to a medium size mixing bowl, stir until smooth. Soak the vegetable(s) garnish in lemon, olive oil, yuzu, salt, and pepper


Smear tahini in a line on the bottom of the plate. Place bulgur salad directly on top. Add the four pieces of cooked sea bream, shingled. Roll each vegetable and place throughout the plate, on top of the fish or in the bulgur salad. Garnish with leaves.

Posted on December 4, 2015 .