German convert is MasterChef

Half of Israel watched German-born Tom Franz, converted, kosher & Israeli citizen their #1-rated TV show, MasterChef.
by FROM JNI.TV | Dec 20, 2013


The 2013 winner of Israel’s version of MasterChef is Tom Franz, a German converted Jew from Tel Aviv. The reality TV show pitted 14 amateur chefs against each other. In his first visit to Germany after winning the competition, Tom Franz puts on a cooking show at Frankfurt's Budge Foundation, a retirement home for Jewish and non-Jewish seniors.

He is a 39-year-old lawyer who moved to Tel Aviv 10 years ago. He converted to Judaism, married a Jewish Israeli woman, and slowly began adopting Jewish culture. Part of the journey was adapting to keeping kosher, a set of dietary laws observant Jews follow in the kitchen. His wife Dana signed him up for the MasterChef cooking competition, and he was shocked to make it past auditions.

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“Within the competition, it is hard to say that I planned something but I had something on my mind, I wanted to do a culinary journey there, it was, eh, this is what I could control. In the beginning, at the audition, I said I’m going to bring food that comes from where I come and I did a dish which was a trout with potato salad which is so German.





Tom Franz quickly stood out in the competition for his impeccable technique, perfectly chopping his vegetables and carefully arranging them on a plate. German dishes were at the forefront of his first few dishes.


“The people could, you know, love it, they could see it and not think 'ah this is a German guy, you know, we don’t like it', no, it was like 'this is German, look how he works, we should learn from him this is how he works'.”

As the season wore on and Tom Franz survived elimination rounds, he moved more toward Mediterranean dishes.

“And it was wonderful because I proved them I can do the Israeli dishes, I can do Moroccan dishes, and they were so surprised they didn’t expect me that I could do that.”

In the final episode, Tom Franz’s dish was a marriage of his German roots and his new home in Israel.

“I did a culinary journey, I showed them, you know, where I come from, I showed them places of my life and then more and more did dishes that were Israeli even Moroccan and they are, you know, real food of the place where I come, where I wanted to live, where I choose to live, where I live and I shared it culinarily. It was one of my greatest moments, I think. It was so amazing, I mean, I think I could feel that moment much more than the moment of my conversion.”

The 2013 final of MasterChef was the highest rated Reality TV show in Israel. The program pulled in more than half of Israeli Jewish households. But for Tom Franz, the converted Jew from Germany, it was a much more personal victory.


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