Interview with Shon Chaprak
Shon Chaprak has done what many want to desperately to do: he has turned his greatest passion into a career. Shon is a complex character whose passion for cooking has shaped who he is, as well as the direction his life has taken him in. Sitting down with him, it is immediately obvious that his whole world centers around cooking. His phenomenal work at his restaurant, Eatwith, has already seen astonishing success in Tel Aviv and has now moved on to Miami, America.
As Shon himself puts it, this is only the beginning of what he hopes will be the beginning of a global dream brought to fruition. While his food is incredible, there are many layers to Shon’s success. Shon realizes that, like any successful business, food has made with love, but he is aiming even higher.
Let’s start with you. Does where you are from inspire you in the kitchen?
My roots are Middle Eastern and while that has definitely had a hand in my cooking style and techniques I would say that French cooking is actually the cuisine that kick-started the love for cooking that has evolved over the years. I would say that my roots and my experiences with other cuisines have helped me to constantly push against the boundaries and challenges of contemporary cooking.
What do you think makes people love your food so much, what sets you apart?
I think that people can tell how much love I put into my food. I think that is where it all must start from. I come from [Israel] a place that is so well known for its culinary excellence, and it is something that is fresh and different. The more traditional cuisines from countries like Italy, America, and England are all things that have been done many times before, but what I am bringing to the table is something unique and exciting. People respond well to new experiences, especially if they are done well.
While your food is no doubt a shining example of your own culinary excellence, you are arguably the first to bring it to such an open market. Why do you think that is?
The cuisine I bring to people was previously gourmet and quite elusive. Traditionally, this kind of cooking was reserved for the highest social classes and those who fell under the highest wage brackets. The environments and prices were intimidating, and these made for a cold and somewhat archaic feel that turned people off. Fine food should not be exclusive to only those who can afford the best of the best, and yet up until now it has been. I wanted to change that, and I have.
How have you brought your food to such an inclusive market?
I recognized the clear gap in the market and I wanted to bridge that gap. Fine food should not be exclusive to wealthier classes, and I have simply taken the cuisine and created an environment where everyone can enjoy it. Eatwith is all about fine food for the many people. I have lowered the costs using a pre-booking system and set numbers of guests, opening my doors to the general public. Once they enter, they are in an environment that feels more like home. This makes everyone feel at ease and they can interact with me as well. I want them to feel like they are coming home when they eat with me. My focus is here in the States right now, but it could potentially expand globally.
Is it fair to say, then, that your food is all about not only inclusivity and the taste, but the quality?
Absolutely. Good food is not just about how it tastes, but where it comes from. I want my food to be bright and imaginative, and it is difficult to do this with produce that is not of good quality. I source fresh, local ingredients, utilizing and supporting local businesses as well. I use advanced equipment and technology as well, which makes my food really shine on the plate. Every meal is an experience here, and that is how food should be.