Itzhak Zoaretz is not your ordinary chef. Hailing originally from Israel, Itzhak received his training at the internationally renowned Le Cordon Bleu and has whipped up dishes for the likes of Australian Prime Ministers and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey. Arriving on our shores in 2005 to study French cuisine, Itzhak brought with him a flair for cooking and a hunger for life. He’s now the renowned Head Chef at Café 212 at the Quality Hotel Cambridge. A taste for the cheeky, with a biting sense of humour sometimes siding on raw – he is always 110% zesty and full of passion.
This is Itzhak Zoaretz – Mildly Seasoned, Maximum Flavour.
“Wow. This is so tasty Itzhak, I think you should be a chef one day…”
And that’s how it all started.
When I was 6 years old, while all the other kids were playing soccer or basketball outside, I would play a game of pretend where I would change from playing the diner, the waiter and, of course, the chef.
Back then, of course, I wasn’t making any fancy French cuisine, just a bowl of cornflakes.
But that’s how I knew that hospitality was for me.
I started my career in a sandwich shop back home. I started by making fresh pesto from basil and pine nuts, or coriander and walnuts, even capsicum. We had ten different types of salamis, ham, roast beef, Gravalax, omelets – you name it, we had it. And it came all wrapped in a big, freshly baked “just for you” sourdough roll. I’ll tell you what, that was one tasty sandwich.
I quickly came to understand that there was a bit more to it than just sandwiches and if I wanted to experience the real thing, I needed to work in a real restaurant.
BANG!! There I was, wearing my first chef’s jacket; working in an Italian restaurant that had more then 30 different sauces for the spaghetti. I was so excited to discover something new – it gave me goose bumps.
I was learning so much. But after year, I decided that it was time to really fulfill my dream and get my qualifications at the Le Cordon Bleu French culinary institute.
I packed my bags, said “bye-bye” to my Mama and friends and jumped on the first plane to Sydney, Australia.
Getting my qualifications was easier than I thought – it was pretty easy to be better than some of the other students, if you know what I mean. (Let’s just that salmonella and food safety in general were not really in some of the students’ vocabulary. Brrr…. I’m getting goose bumps again – but not the good kind!)
During my studies, I was working here and there to get some experience. I was at a five star kitchen at one of the leading hotels in Sydney and then worked in a butchery, and in Italian, French, Lebanese and other establishments.
Until finally, I had worked my way up to become the executive chef here at the Cambridge hotel in Surry hills.
The Cambridge hotel is an Award Winning hotel in its chain. I tell you, we have awards from here to Honolulu. It’s a really great place, and that’s not just because I work here (or because I hope that one of my directors will read this blog and will decide to send me on a holiday to this Honolulu place, since I’m writing great things about them). It Really Is A Good Place.
Budget rooms, with high quality standards, a swimming pool, parking, and don’t even get me started gabbing about the great food!
OK, so that was my introduction for now, I hope you liked it and you’ll come back for more (just like you do for my delicious food).
I leave you with this beautiful recipe for a Coriander and Walnut Pesto that I collected back in my sandwiches days.
Use it wisely since it’s lethally yummy
Proceed to Coriander and Walnust Pesto