Michael Solomonov

Michael Solomonov (Hebrew: מייקל סולומונוב; born 1978) is an Israeli chef and restaurateur, known for his Philadelphia restaurant Zahav. He won the James Beard Foundation awards for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic in 2011, Cookbook of the Year in 2016, and Outstanding Chef in 2017.[1][2]

Michael Solomonov
Born1978 (age 43–44)
EducationFlorida Culinary Institute
Culinary career
Cooking styleIsraeli, Jewish
Current restaurant(s)
    • Zahav
    • Federal Donuts
    • Abe Fisher
    • Dizengoff
    • Goldie's
    • K'Far
    • Merkaz
    • Laser Wolf
Award(s) won

Early lifeEdit

Solomonov was born in moshav Ganei Yehuda, Israel, to a family of Bulgarian-Jewish descent.[3][4] He was raised in Pittsburgh,[4] where he attended Taylor Allderdice High School.[5] At the age of 18, he returned to Israel with no Hebrew language skills, taking the only job he could get – working in a bakery – and his culinary career was born.[4]


Solomonov began cooking Italian cuisine at Vetri in Philadelphia. In 2003, his brother David was killed on Yom Kippur during an Israel Defense Forces military campaign on the border of Lebanon by three enemy snipers, for which he volunteered. Solomonov decided to change his focus to Israeli and Jewish cuisine. After meeting with financier Steven Cook, they opened Zahav in 2008.

With his business partner Steven Cook, Solomonov is co-owner of several Philadelphia restaurants: Abe Fisher, Dizengoff, Percy Street Barbecue, and Federal Donuts, a fried chicken and donut chain. Having participated in the South Beach Food & Wine Festival in 2013, Solomonov was able to bring Percy Street Barbecue to South Florida. Bill Addison, writing for Eater Philadelphia, called Chef Solomonov "the Genius of Modern Jewish Cooking" after eating at Abe Fisher, Dizengoff, and Zahav.[6]

Solomonov also spent a period of time consulting for David Magerman's, now closed, and Citron and Rose, a certified Kosher meat restaurant on the Main Line in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.[7][8]

In 2015, Cook and Solomonov published a cookbook based on their restaurant Zahav.[9] Zahav: A World of Israeli Cuisine was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Book Award in the International cookbook category.[10] Its recipe for hummus was chosen as "2015 dish of the year" by Bon Appétit.[11]


  1. ^ Bruni, Frank (9 August 2014). "Grief, Smoke and Salvation". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-21.
  2. ^ Nathan, Joan (20 September 2011). "After a Killing, Michael Solomonov Turns to Israeli Food". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-21.
  3. ^ "Philadelphia chef takes readers on culinary journey with Zahav".
  4. ^ a b c "Zahav".
  5. ^ "Munch goes to Philadelphia (For 25 hours)".
  6. ^ Addison, Bill (8 July 2015). "Why Philly's Mike Solomonov Is The Genius of Modern Jewish Cooking". Eater. Eater Philadelphia. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  7. ^ "Welcome - Philadelphia Magazine". www.phillymag.com.
  8. ^ "Welcome - Philadelphia Magazine". www.phillymag.com.
  9. ^ Clark, Melissa (6 October 2015). "In 'Zahav,' Michael Solomonov Explores Israeli Food". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-09-20 – via NYTimes.com.
  10. ^ "The 2016 James Beard Award Nominees". James Beard Foundation. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  11. ^ Stanek, Amiel. "Hummus Is the 2015 Dish of the Year". Bon Appetit. Retrieved 2020-09-20.