Makor makes a meal out of its big day in Leeds

By John Fisher, March 4, 2014
Chef Ronnie Levy, Makor's Ellie Ruhan and volunteer Marcia Goldstone

Chef Ronnie Levy, Makor's Ellie Ruhan and volunteer Marcia Goldstone

Yorkshire kosher food-lovers were presented with a feast on Sunday as Etz Chaim Synagogue's Reuben Vincent Hall was transformed into a culinary market.

The Leeds Makor cultural event attracted close to 1,000 guests whose appetites were whetted by a mouth-watering array of Ashkenazi and Sephardi dishes. The community's own "hairy bakers", shaliach Or Nehushtan and chef Ronnie Levy, cooked up an enticing Israeli shakshuka and Sephardi chicken.

"It is food for the soul," Mr Nehushtan enthused. Arriving in Leeds from Israel last autumn, he had expected British food to be "bland and unexciting" but was "pleasantly surprised" that Jewish chefs were unafraid to use spices popular in Middle Eastern recipes. "They like fresh ingredients, therefore their food is tasty and wholesome."

Channel 4's Jewish Mum of the Year Sandi Firth presented her signature dish, a Viennese apple strudel made from a great-aunt's recipe. Deborah Judah offered a south Indian chicken curry.

Makor chair Stan Cundle praised cultural director Helen Frais for organising the event. "She is the core of the community and never ceases to amaze," he said. "Helen is Makor's star."

A one-stop café with burgers, shawarma, hot salt beef sandwiches and vegetarian options proved a big draw.

Event opener Diane Goldman said: "our tradition dictates that each festival is accompanied by long days in the kitchen preparing food. As the saying goes: 'They tried to kill us, we survived, let's eat.'"

Last updated: 2:54pm, March 4 2014