New Jersey is one of the most cosmopolitan states in the country. It encompasses a number of vastly different living locations, from farms to cities, as well as varying demographics. This melting pot of different cultures and backgrounds allows the state to produce some of the most delicious dishes in the US; including a modern focus on Mediterranean food.
One acclaimed chef from Israel is bringing his expertise to the Garden State to expand the area’s mouthwatering selection of cuisine.
Meny Vaknin, owner and Executive Chef of MishMish Restaurant in Montclair, sat down for an episode of Life & Living with Joanna Gagis to talk about his experience on Food Network’s Chopped, as well as why he feels it is important that his restaurant brings traditional Mediterranean foods and flavors to the tri-state area.
Chef Vaknin explained that he grew up in Israel, eating a mixture of cultural cuisines introduced by his parents. “So I wanted to bring all that into a small, casual eatery and mix all that with everything I learned in my years in New York as a chef, as a cook in culinary school,” he said.
Through his years working in the culinary field, Chef Vaknin developed a passion for cooking and for food, which is reflected in his menu at Mishmish.
“I feel like, by cooking, I’m kind of keeping my legacy alive a little bit, and I’m very interested in telling the story on and on and on because this is, in a way, my way to keep connected to my grandma that passed away (and) to my great-grandparents that passed their cuisine to my grandma,” Chef Vaknin explained. “And by telling that story, I connect to other people, which is something that I love to do.”
To learn more about Chef Vaknin, his restaurant, and his involvement in New Jersey’s culinary scene, check out this edition of Life & Living with Joanna Gagis.
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- Hero (Top) Feature Image: © Life & Living with Joanna Gagis / Caucus Educational Corporation