Let's Eat

Paris chefs who served in the IDF face a new battle – keeping their restaurants open

Since October 7, the battle facing Israeli restaurateurs working in Paris — in between serving their home country — is for survival


Dan Yosha left his kitchen to serve in Gaza but is now battling to stay open

It’s been horrible, but they say there is a time to fight and a time to cry, and this is the time to fight,” says Dan Yosha, a Michelin-starred Israeli chef, who has just returned to Paris in after spending several weeks fighting for the IDF on the ground in Gaza.

He’s now back in his chef whites at Shabour — the Michelin-starred restaurant described as a “bridge between Paris and Jerusalem.” He’s one of a number of chefs in Paris’s burgeoning Israeli restaurant scene that have returned from war, to find a less than warm welcome.

He says custom took a hit after the events of October 7.

“We’ve always drawn a big Israeli crowd, and Israelis barely flew anywhere for several weeks [after October 7]. But both the Jewish and non-Jewish communities of Paris showed us big support.”

His 0.partner, the celebrity chef Assaf Granit opted to return to Israel immediately after the attacks, volunteering for two months in the army. “Going back into uniform within weeks of the excitement of opening Boubale was something I never expected at 45, but I had to do it to set an example for my son and our employees,” explains Granit by phone from Tel Aviv.

“We closed the restaurants in Israel and used the facilities to cook for the troops. The restaurants in Europe never closed, although in Berlin you could feel the tension on the streets.”

While Yosha has now returned to Paris, Granit is still in Israel to supervise the gradual reopening of the domestic restaurants. He said: “Israelis are starting to eat out more and more they are embracing the opportunity with relish as they did after Covid.”

Another place that felt the strain after October 7, were the Parisian branches of Eyal Shani’s Miznon, the pitta palace with branches all over the globe.

The crowds have only recently returned admits David Moyal, the first to expand the now worldwide franchise outside Israel. “After October 7, many Jews hesitated to be seen in [the Marais] an obviously Jewish neighbourhood, while others did not have the heart to eat out, and there were some customers who boycotted us,” 

“Where can Jews go now if we don’t feel comfortable at home or in Israel?” he asks. “I would rather leave Paris than take down my mezuzahs. A customer has recommended Mexico City as a place where Jewish society is thriving — “and it doesn’t yet have a Miznon!”;;

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