Tireless attention to detail gifts OCD MENA award

By Tom Tanner, Sustainable Restaurant Association

While the food at OCD does plenty of talking itself, the team at the Tel Aviv restaurant are so proud of what they’re doing they love communicating directly with their customers. And, when you’re leading the pack in the race to serve food that tastes amazing and is doing good, to the extent where you win the Sustainable Restaurant Award at Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023, why not!?

Shalom Simcha Elbert, OCD’s Head of Research and Development, explains: “Our idea on sustainability is around bringing the agenda to our customers as much as possible. While food tasting good and being aesthetic is important, we believe in the message our food has to give, and the thought provoking ideas that come behind our food can create a conversation that is larger than just food, it has a ripple effect that can become more of our daily conversation.”

So what is it exactly that they’re doing at OCD that makes them and their food stand out in terms of reducing their impact and on the environment and enhancing their positive effect on people?

It all starts with a zero waste philosophy. With a wine bar, restaurant and pantry shop, OCD can use every part of every ingredient in the way best suited to each outlet. This is driven by a deep respect for the produce their close network of farmers and fishers supply. Such is the closeness of their supplier relationships, that they regularly discuss planting schedules, happily accept cosmetically imperfect produce and take delivery of the whole animal from the meat supplier, ensuring nothing goes to waste. On the subject of meat, conscious of its hefty carbon footprint, the chefs have reduced the number meat dishes on the 17 course menu to just one.

Kosh Mahshi – Cucumber and XO sauce

So what does the zero-waste approach look and taste like in practice? Grilled trout and blackberry, using eggplant skin kombucha, blackberry hot sauce and basil oil sits on the menu alongside Trout belly croquette, using the rest of the eggplant, fermented blackberry and the basil flowers.

Regular workshops where the chefs are tasked with creating a dish from waste are another part of Shalom’s mission to reach zero waste. For any vegetable matter that simply can’t be turned into a new dish or product, OCD is creating its own compost facility to be shared with the local community.

It’s not just the food that Shalom and his colleagues including chef Raz Rahav, are flat out refusing to waste. A recent investment in a glass crushing machine means old bottles or broken glasses are upcycled into new plates, cups and jars for the new pantry business.

Fermented asparagus stalks mousse, lemon verbena

As you’d expect from a business like OCD, single-use packaging is simply not an option and they’ve worked tirelessly with suppliers to remove all traces – even in tricky to manage products like sugar, salt and cleaning products.

When the switch is flicked on the newly installed solar panels, and with green energy on tap, customers at OCD can enjoy the experience knowing full well that their dinner has been sourced, designed and prepared with no stone unturned in a quest to serve Food Made Good – in every way.

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