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Jewish Chef Series starts Sunday

Submitted by on 1, January 20, 2011 – 12:02 amNo Comment

Four years ago, Oakland City Councilwoman Nancy Nadel took a fateful – and delicious – trip to Jamaica. While there, she became interested in that country’s unique cocoa beans. And before long, The Oakland Chocolate Company was born.

This Sunday, January 23, Nadel will share her love of Jamaican beans by kicking off Temple Israel’s fourth annual Jewish Chef Series. Presentations will happen from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Sundays through February 13 in the temple’s social hall.

Nadel will be joined by Avital Ungar, a tour guide for the Gourmet Walks Company, which tours artisan chocolate shops in San Francisco. Other presenters include Jonathan Wornick, co-owner of Amba, a vegetarian, Mediterranean restaurant in Oakland (January 30), and Z Specialty Food, an Israeli honey company; food card vendors Amelia Prapher-Nahman, who operates the “Egg Cream Cart” from her food tricycle, and Evan Bloom, who runs a food cart called Traiff (February 6); and Michael Rose, co-owner of bread and pastry maker Semifreddi’s.

Participants will have the opportunity to learn the stories behind each presenter’s restaurant or business, getting the 411 on their culinary influences, the hurdles they needed to climb and even their kitchen mistakes. They then will be able to sample presenters’ culinary creations.

Nadel’s more unusual offerings include a bonbon filled with a lime peppered savory jelly, a bonbon with a rum raisin and curried sweet milk center, and a chocolate covered Bing cherry covered in kirsch.

“Making chocolate is my retirement project,” Nadel said. “I figure I have 20 more productive years left and I can’t think of a better way to spend my time!”

Admission is $80 for the entire series or $25 for each event; series tickets can be purchased by calling Temple Israel at 522-9355, and single-event admission is available at the door. Proceeds from the event will support tuition assistance and supplies for the temple’s religious school and eco-organizations in Alameda. Temple Israel is at 3183 Mecartney Road, behind the Harbor Bay Shopping Center.

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