Zahav Is the Best Restaurant in the Country at the 2019 James Beard Awards
Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook’s Israeli restaurant took home one of the biggest awards of the night
By Rachel Vigoda – Eater Philadelphia
May 6, 2019
For the third year in a row, Philly hot spot Zahav won big at the James Beard Awards, the annual honors given out to chefs, restaurants, and restaurateurs. The 11-year-old Israeli eatery in Society Hill, from star chef Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook, was named outstanding restaurant at the 2019 James Beard Awards ceremony on Monday night in Chicago. It was the only winner from Philadelphia, and the first time Philly received the outstanding restaurant award.
In his acceptance speech, Cook called the award incredibly humbling and thanked the city of Philadelphia for being so supportive, jokingly adding “but not too supportive, because that’s not Philly.”
Zahav’s general manager Okan Yazici, who started out at the restaurant as a buser 10 years ago, referred to the Zahav crew as a family.
When it was his turn to speak, Solomonov gestured toward his team next to him on the stage: “When you’re surrounded by these people, life is good.”
Solomonov and Cook are both previous James Beard Award winners for their first cookbook, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking. In 2017, Solomonov came home with the outstanding chef award. Last year, Zahav’s pastry chef Camille Cogswell was named the rising star chef of the year.
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