Israeli-born Avi Chamal has headed the Boys Town Jerusalem kitchen for 13 years, producing freshly cooked and baked fare daily to delight the palates of the Boys Town student body, who trace their origins to 45 countries across the globe. Not every chef could meet this daunting task, but Avi’s previous work experience includes having served as a senior chef at the prestigious Jerusalem King David and Dan Panorama Hotels, and clinching silver medallions at the Luxemburg and Canada Cooking Competitions.
“True, I had the finest gourmet ingredients at my disposal in the hotels,” he muses. “Here at Boys Town I work with high-quality, though very basic foodstuffs. My challenge is to create the level of hotel cuisine using these ingredients.”
Avi is well aware of the crucial role the school’s three wholesome meals a day plays in enriching the lives of Boys Town students. For a number of these young men, it is a true lifesaver. “I get immense pleasure from planning and preparing the meals,” says the chef. “I like to give the boys the extra touches that show them we care.”
Chef Avi shares his delicious Sea Bass Passover recipe:
Seared Sea Bass on a Bed of Green
2 pound sea bass divided into 5 portions
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of black ground pepper
4 T. olive oil
3 ½ T. olive oil
10 cherry tomatoes, cut into fourths
1 clove minced garlic
¼ fresh lemon, cut into small squares
1/4 cup white wine
4 potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed
1 cup cooked broccoli
salt, pepper, nutmeg to taste
To prepare the fish, heat oil in a frying pan until hot but not smoking. Season the fish with the salt and pepper. Pan-fry fish for approximately 2-3 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish) on each side.
To prepare the sauce, heat the oil, sauté the garlic, and add remainder of ingredients. Cook on low flame for around 10 minutes.
Serve the fish atop the warm potato-broccoli puree. Spread sauce over both.
Boys Town Jerusalem is one of Israel’s premier institutions for educating the country’s next generation of leaders in the fields of technology, commerce, education, the military and public service. Since its founding in 1948, BTJ has pursued its mission of turning young boys from limited backgrounds into young men with limitless futures. From Junior High through the college level, the three part curriculum at Boys Town – academic, technological and Torah – is designed to turn otherwise disadvantaged Israeli youth into productive citizens of tomorrow. Boys Town’s 18 acre campus is a home away from home for its more than 900 students. More than 7,000 graduates hold key positions throughout Israeli society.