Shalom Life | August 29, 2014

Israel Crowns "Master Chef"

Beautiful olah (immigrant) from Ukraine wins competition

By: Eva Cohen

Published: November 29th, 2010 in Culture » Food » News

Israel Crowns "Master Chef"

Channel Two in Israel aired the finale for its Master Chef competition on Saturday night, and fevers were running high in the first challenge of it's kind in the country.

MasterChef was originally a BBC television series with a few spinoffs, and the concept was also picked up by producers in the United States and Australia.

In Israel on Saturday night, the show was a masterful ratings success, on top of the mastery shown by the three final chef contestants.

The three amateur contestants were Smadar Vaknin (47), Elkana Biton (29) and Ina Kravetzky (31).

All three cooked to their limit, but it was Kravetzky who came out on top. Everyone got teary with her as she celebrated her victory. She is a single mother who has worked as a model and a bartender.

“I came as an olah from the Ukraine,” Kravetzky managed through her tears. “We had very little money and hardly any food. My mother cleaned houses to earn a living. I’m so glad I can do something special.”

Kravetzky fell far behind the other two at one stage when they were to make macaroons. They were racing against the clock and it looked as though the blonde model may be out for the count.

She rebounded beautifully though by serving up a three-course meal crowned by a plate of perfectly ready pink, yellow and green macaroons. It was Vaknin who actually got eliminated in that round by presenting a sub-par wheat dish.

For the final showdown, unlike the American version, the contestants needed to please the taste bud of not only the three judges, but also 100 members of the audience. They were given two kitchens and a host of chefs for this undertaking.

As the final course was being tasted, Biton could be seen silently mouthing the words of "Shema Israel."

Biton got far, but two judges and 80 per cent of the audience chose Kravetzky's cooking, so she was crowned Israel's first-ever Master Chef.

The grand prize is a suite of kitchen appliances, and a book will soon be published containing the top recipes of the finalists. In addition, viewers will have a chance to cook with the finalists online.

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