Shalom Life | August 21, 2014

Top 20 Under 40 Los Angeles- Michael Israel

Owner of M.O. Eggrolls, Michael Israel, joins us for Day 2 of our Top 20 list

By: Ashley Baylen

Published: August 14th, 2012 in Culture » Society » Interviews

Top 20 Under 40 Los Angeles- Michael Israel

In celebration of Shalom Life’s new Los Angeles office, we have decided to take our popular “Top 20 Under 40” series on the road.

Over the next 20 days, Shalom Life will showcase 20 individuals of diverse talents and backgrounds that have made a significant contribution to their field both locally and globally. From entrepreneurs to philanthropists, entertainers to chefs, this list places a spotlight on a small sampling of the spectacular, innovative, and passionate Jews that call Los Angeles home.

Top 20 Under 40- Michael Israel

Age: 31

Chef Michael Israel invented a creative and delicious way to marry Jewish and Chinese cuisine: Montreal Open-Ended Eggrolls (M.O. Eggrolls). With unbelievable flavors including brisket, pastrami, and beef tongue, all served with a kosher dill pickle, it’s every Jewish foodie’s wet dream.

With a degree in Culinary Arts from the Culinary Institute of America, and over 10 years professional cooking experience including a spot in the kitchen at Thomas Keller’s New York restaurant ‘Per Se’, Israel decided to open a kosher food truck with his wife, Emily. Bringing a unique gourmet (and Jewish twist) to egg rolls, M.O. Eggrolls has become one of the most talked about and visited trucks in the Los Angeles area.

Israel is an active member of the Jewish community in Los Angeles, citing this as one of the reasons M.O. Eggrolls is on wheels.

“A food truck allows us to be part of the Jewish Community in many different ways. We can literally bring our kitchen to any Jewish event from Purim carnivals to fundraisers and serve delicious egg rolls,” Israel shared.

“As the owner of a kosher business, I am able to connect with my Jewish heritage on a daily basis. Everyday I learn something new about Kashrut and living life Jewishly because of our Jewish business.”

Although Israel cites marrying his beautiful wife as his greatest accomplishment to date, the gourmet chef has conquered many professional feats as well. In addition to running M.O. Eggrolls, Israel launched popular food blog, “Kosher Bacon”, that aims to reinvent more than 600 recipes found in Gil Marks’ “Encyclopedia of Jewish Food.”

Over the next 20 years, Israel plans to open more M.O. Eggrolls locations, publish some cookbooks, and expand his family.

“In 5 years I would like to have at least one kid, and see M.O. Eggrolls in at least 3 cities throughout the US. In 20 years, I hope to have at least 4 kids and see M.O. Eggrolls in at least 20 cities throughout the US. I would like to have published 3 cookbooks based on my blog Kosher Bacon that highlight old world recipes that have been given new life.”

Chef Israel is a supporter of Country Israel.

“Most of my charitable contributions go to Jewish causes and more specifically Israel. I try to support AIPAC as much as possible because I believe that there job is paramount in ensuring that Israel has the support it needs to thrive.”

Ultimately, Israel hopes to inspire other chefs, individuals, and families to celebrate Jewish cooking.

“I want to be remembered as the chef that brought new life to Jewish food. We have such an incredible history of great cuisine that has lost a tremendous amount of respect and enthusiasm. I would love to think that my passion for Jewish food will inspire people to cook more Jewishly, to make a great meal for Shabbat, and take time to teach their kids how to make great Jewish food.”

Click over to Page 2 to learn some fun facts about Michael Israel!

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