This the Jerusalem Atelier, a cooking and dining space in Mahane Yehuda, where a group of visitors will soon arrive to participate in a culinary workshop, learning not just the traditions and recipes from the city’s diverse cuisine, but how to prepare dishes with the best ingredients from the surrounding market.  In addition to culinary workshops, the Atelier also offers tours of the market, food and wine tastings, as well as 11-course chef’s meals, where diners watch as their food is prepared.

I want to show people that the market is a fascinating place, a place you can experience gourmet food, but that it is still an authentic market, the place where people buy their daily fruits and vegetables and bread,

explains Tali Friedman, the chef who opened the Atelier in back in 2009, before Israel’s food scene began to attract so much international attention.  Friedman, who studied cooking Paris and Israel, grew up near the market, and says it has always influenced her cooking.  Although over the years she worked in some of the city’s top restaurants, she was always trying to incorporate her grandmother’s style of cooking, based on fresh vegetables, meat and fish purchased in Mahane Yehuda. When she started to teach cooking more than a decade ago, she often found herself bringing students to the market, teaching them about selecting the best fresh ingredients.

I always kept coming back to the shuk,

she says.  That led to her begin offering food tours for tourists, and then to eventually open the Atelier. As the market has become a more popular place, now filled with dozens of bars and restaurants in addition to bakers, butchers, produce vendors and spice shops, the Atelier has also become more popular, hosting cooking workshops nearly everyday. Most couples and small groups opt for a tour of the market followed by a culinary workshop in which they prepare a six-course meal.  They enjoy that meal along with local wine at the large table in the space’s kitchen, or on its rooftop.

Visitors can enjoy really fine food,”Friedman says.  “But they also learn about the people of the market.

The custom tours and workshops can be arranged for couples or small groups by contacting The Jerusalem Atelier.

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