Chefs for Peace!

Last Wednes­day evening I joined a packed room in Uni­ver­sity of Toronto’s Multi-Faith Cen­tre for a night of cook­ing and con­ver­sa­tion. Cook­ing and demon­strat­ing for us were two top chefs from Israel– one Mus­lim and one Jew­ish. Ibrahim Abu Seir is the head pas­try chef at Jerusalem’s 5 star David Citadel Hotel and Joseph Elad is the owner of Menahe Yehuda Resu­tau­rant.

The room was filled with Mus­lims, Chris­tians and Jews at every table. The pur­pose of the evening was to bring all three faiths together in a pos­i­tive way– through food. While we helped the chefs pre­pare our din­ner, we were also encour­aged to dis­cuss whether or not we thought peace could be achieved in Israel. The dis­cus­sion was very inter­est­ing and for the most part quite pos­i­tive. When one stu­dent started to bring up cer­tain anti-Israeli sen­ti­ments she had wit­nessed on U of T cam­pus, founder and dis­cus­sion facil­i­ta­tor, Kevork Aleimian, was quick to get the con­ver­sa­tion back on track. Aleimian is Armen­ian and also from Israel.

Founded in 2001, Chefs for Peace is com­prised of chefs from all over the world…

Aleimian explained Chefs for Peace is a not-for-profit with a dream of peace. Founded in 2001, it is com­prised of chefs from all over the world from dif­fer­ent reli­gious back­grounds and its goal to is to encour­age peace­ful coex­is­tence. He explained that it’s easy to focus on who did what to who and dwell in the past, but the only way to bring about peace is by work­ing together to focus on it.

The meal we were served was deli­cious. An Israeli cucum­ber tomato salad, a beau­ti­fully spiced rice and veg­etable dish and a dessert of fresh figs in coconut milk with a berry coulis on top. All veg­e­tar­ian, all kosher, and all halal.

I had a really inter­est­ing con­ver­sa­tion about the sim­i­lar­i­ties and dif­fer­ences between what makes some­thing kosher and what makes some­thing halal with a girl of Mus­lim faith at my table. I think that every­one who attended learned a lot about each other in a pos­i­tive envi­ron­ment. If only there were more pro­grams like this, the world would be a more peace­ful place.

For more infor­ma­tion visit chefsforpeace.com.

Spe­cial shout out to Emily Berg, the Wol­fond Cen­tre Hil­lel team and all the other orga­ni­za­tions that brought Chefs for Peace to Toronto for a week of amaz­ing events!

Oy vegan!

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