Argentine Jewish chef named top in Latin America by his peers
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Argentine Jewish chef named top in Latin America by his peers

Tomas Kalika, who started learning how to cook in Israel aged 17, receives prestigious award from his peers at ceremony in Buenos Aires

Tomas Kalika receiving his award (Screenshot from Instagram)
Tomas Kalika receiving his award (Screenshot from Instagram)

Argentinian chef Tomas Kalika, who cooks traditional Jewish foods with a modern twist, won the Chefs´ Choice Award 2019, the only peer-voted prize at Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony.

Kalika started to learn about cooking at the age of 17 in Israel with award-winning chef Eyal Shani, who later helped Kalika get a job at the Hilton Hotel in Jerusalem. Kalika later was head chef at the Eldan hotels chain. After eight years of living far from family in Israel he returned to Argentina as a professional chef.

Kalika believes that Jewish food is the first truly global cuisine and defines it as “the emotional memories of the Jews who fled Eastern Europe, the Sephardim who were expelled from Spain, the Mizrahi who have lived in the Middle East since Moses,” according the website of his restaurant Mishiguene, which means crazy in Yiddish.

The restaurant was opened in Buenos Aires in October 2014 by Kalika and his friend and partner Javier Ickowicz. Among his top dishes are: gefilte fish wrapped in carrot ribbons and topped with fish roe and micro greens; Mi Baba Ganoush with char roasted eggplant, yogurt sauce, toasted almonds and tahini; slow-cooked pastrami; and Kalika’s Bubbe’s Varenikes, a potato-stuffed dumpling.

The restaurant also placed 20th on the 50 best list during the ceremony on Thursday in Buenos Aires. Mishiguene was the winner of the Highest Climber Award 2018, jumping 32 places in the list from 50 in 2017 to 18 the following year.

According to the panel, “determination, self-realisation and a career peppered with vicissitudes” have contributed to Kalika as recipient of the other chefs’ votes as the best of 2019.

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Escribo estas líneas con la emoción que me desborda el corazón. Anoche recibí la distinción mas hermosa de todas, haber sido reconocido por mis hermanos cocineros de Latinoamérica con el # Chefs’ChoiceAward. Todos enormes colegas a quienes admiro, respeto y quiero, gracias por este mimo. Nunca más cierto, este premio es el reconocimiento a toda la familia Mishiguene. A nuestro equipo, a ustedes que han hecho carne nuestras ideas, sueños y fantasías y son los que hacen que Mishiguene sea mejor cada día. Son sin duda mi más grande orgullo. Los admiro y quiero. Gracias por la entrega y por la pasión que imprimen cada día a esta locura. Gracias a todos los que de manera directa o indirecta colaboran con la industria gastronómica en la Argentina, a todos lo que día a día trabajan por una gastronomía más generosa, igualitaria y responsable. Gracias a todos por ayudarnos a difundir nuestra perspectiva sobre la cocina judía, uno de los mapas culinarios más amplios y fascinantes del mundo y por ayudarnos a ser mejores, todos los días. Gracias! Por ultimo quiero agradecer a mi familia y a mis socios. Gracias por el apoyo y la confianza, por creer que todo es posible, por un Mishiguene cada día más grande. Gracias a todos! @theworlds50best @boliviaonline . . #mishiguene #cocinadeinmigrantes #cocinajudia #jewishcuisine #buenosaires #argentina #travel #miciudadfavorita #food #foodie #chefontour #foodporn #travel #traveltheworld #instatravel #travelphotography #wanderer #instatraveling #seetheworld #trip #chefstalk #finedining #lifewelltravelled #gastropost #gastronomia #diaspora #latam50best #travelbuenosaires @theworlds50best @boliviaonline

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