Rabbis rise to the bake off challenge

Rabbi Daniel Sturgess celebrates a home victory at the St Albans contest, having rustled up a shakshuka with red wine and honey


Daniel Sturgess topped the menu at“The Great Rabbinic Bake Off”, scoring a home triumph for St Albans United Synagogue at the culinary challenge, held as an Israel 75 celebration.

In front of a packed and vocal audience, Rabbi Sturgess faced stern competition from fellow US rabbis Mordechai Chalk (Watford and District) and Alan Garber (Shenley).

In the allotted hour, Rabbi Chalk prepared flatbread, topped with tahina, his own special recipe falafel patties and a mango salsa inspired, he said, by a stay in Israel. Rabbi Garber was, meanwhile, cooking up an ambitious menu of spicy Israeli schnitzel, rice salad with red quinoa, tri-colour hummus and sweet potato wedges. Rabbi Sturgess’s aim was to keep it simple but appetising, rustling up a single dish — shakshuka with red wine and honey.

While the rabbis created, cookery writer and contest judge Denise Phillips kept the audience entertained by sharing some of her favourite kitchen hacks.

Delivering her verdict, Phillips was complimentary about all the contestants, awarding Rabbi Chalk the highest mark for skill. But taking into consideration elements such as presentation and originality, Rabbi Sturgess came out on top overall.

After the “fabulous, feel-good event”, the rabbi reflected that “the real winners were our communities who joined together to celebrate in style”.

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