2008-09-05 / Entertainment/Lifestyles

Young Local Is Cooking Something Up In Israel

By Christine Cea

Originally from Rockaway and now located in Israel, a new chef is on the rise. Moses 'Mo' Yonickman, Far Rockaway resident, is now breaking culinary boundaries, attending the only Glatt Kosher culinary school in the world with the goal of opening a restaurant in Queens.

A mere seventeen years old, Yonickman has accomplished much. He recently graduated from Mesivta Ateres Yaakov of Greater Long Island High School and currently has an internship at 1868, a meat restaurant in Jerusalem.

Yonickman became involved in the culinary school at a young age, through cooking with his father. "I would practice on the weekends," he claims.

He then applied to culinary school to transform cooking from a hobby to a career. He applied to a culinary program in Israel, offered by MASA, a nonprofit organization that attempts to bring Jewish young adults from around the world to Israel to pursue a specific program. Yonickman picked the Jerusalem Culinary Institute.

"Working in the kitchen is like being on 'Iron Chef,' except the consequences are real- it's a very competitive environment."

The only difference, perhaps, is that the chef's on "Iron Chef" most likely do not have to be fluent in the Hebrew language, a skill Yonickman had to perfect if he wanted to make it in the kitchen.

That "helped me become more fluent," he claims, insisting that it is a benefit, not a hassle.

The food industry is more than just a career path for Yonickman, who claims that wandering the market and sampling different fruit and vegetable combinations from a variety of vendors is a favorite pastime.

Clearly a cook with eclectic tastes, his favorite dishes to prepare are steak and pesto pasta.

And the journey for this young chef is far from over.

In November he plans on joining the Israeli army, hoping to one day both open a restaurant in Queens and permanently reside in Israel.

Ambition is found deep within Yonickman, evident by his advice to others also seeking to fulfill a goal.

"Don't be afraid to get out there!" he tells those seeking time abroad. "If you have a goal to get there, stick to it, and don't let anything get in your way!"

Rockaway residents, particularly in the Jewish community, have something to look forward to thanks to Yonickman.

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