Aliya Fastman - Citrus & Salt - Bringing flavors of the world to your home
Welcome to the only ways podcast. I'm Rebecca Passion each week. I'll be introducing you to amazing women who have moved to Israel from all over the world. They have started businesses nonprofits blogs wellness clinics. And so much more. I want to share with you. These inspirational stories of career changes surviving family. Life dating advice and personal development each episode will focus on a different subject matter to help you realize that everyone had some hardships after emigrating but they have managed to overcome them to be successful and make positive changes to their lives. Whatever your life goes on they can become possible hairiness. Row Down the new podcast. We have Elliott fast men who originally from Berkeley California. While she was pursuing her Tel Aviv University. She realized she couldn't sustain waitressing forever and decided to do what she loves and started to teach cooking. She opened the school citrus and salt from her own kitchen and two thousand and sixty hairs her story. Welcome to the only way ends up. Podcast today with me Rebecca Patched Today on the podcast. We have a layup fast. Mun Welcome to the PODCAST. Thank you so much for having me Ami time so a little bit of background. How long have you been in Israel for and wide to do make clear so originally came to Israel come the beginning of my journey in two thousand eight when I did a year abroad at Hebrew University in so that year inspired me to make Aliyah and joined the army and help protect the Jewish state and immerse myself and also? It didn't hurt that. I met this cute security guard on campus. Who has now been my husband for about a decade so I made Elliott. The next year joined the army. Learn some Hebrew. I left the country because I realized that it was driving me crazy and then I came back with a clear head a couple years later knowing that this wasn't America with an accent but was a different country with different rules than I had to adapt rather than trying to change it so with that. I'm a better attitude. I've had a much more positive experience. Put Down Roots and started a business which really keeps me keeps me going. What did you do in the in America when you were back there? Predictably I worked for Jewish and Zionist Organization the World Zionist organization Jewish education and a lot of free lance. But I went back just as the tech boom was happening in San Francisco so I had to live with my mother. Bless her heart for two years she had a twenty something year old daughter and her husband and her dog back on her in her guest bedroom so we decided to come back to Israel you know. The grass is always greener. So well America's going to solve all my problems is going to be amazing and then I realized there's a reason I made Aliyah so I came back with those reasons. How long have you been back this time in Fall two thousand fifteen While yes like true Israelis we. We backpacked India for few months and then and then came back then. I came back and my husband came back a little little later. Did you have any idea what it would be like before? You May Dalia originally. I thought it was just be like this freeing amazing experience or I could be comfortable as chew and just walk around and you know in the warm summer night weather and express myself. You know on a bigger picture. I'm in that I would have to learn Hebrew work hard but once you actually kind of get into that situation. It's much more difficult than you realize. Especially in the army the army for two years. I did a years. Twenty two so are other and my commanders were drew so very spoke Arabic and Hebrew into not understand this English speaking American at all of a crash course in Hebrew insanity. Yeah sure what made you want to join the army you know put actions were senators? Talk did you feel that you are much older than everybody. I was about to say major guys are. Yeah the guys I get. Yeah so I made friends with and worked out with them. Eight super neca and Jank Jank Turkish coffee of quite but even then I was trying to cook in my tiny tiny kitchen at with whatever penny press in cocoon. My hat I was like. I'll make some Asian Vermicelli with sesame noodles in the army for the other girls are like this one's weird we just want cup of Suport Noodles. So we've all had our shelves about. Sundance since Leah Soured Lisa. Tell our listeners. The first time you ready for your living here and it could be the first time all this time that you came back the you have the challenge to overcome and how to get through it. I think currently right now. The challenge that we're facing is a balancing act so I have a baby. Who's about a year and a half? My husband's in school full time and I am working in public relations job and starting my cooking business so trying to make sure that the baby is bathed living in Israel. Starting the business think and God forbid like having time to go to yoga and so we hang. That's the biggest challenge and that's exacerbated by the fact that My parents aren't here. So they're back in San Francisco Bay area so trying to coordinate schedules with me and my husband and my sister who I've dragged into you know try to coax sort of a third parrot here the biggest challenge. Yeah I imagine that. Did you speak Hebrew before you may Allah? I did all pon. I did the Jess -tural private Hebrew school kind of thing. But it wasn't until the army that I was able to have a working knowledge so I could fight with whatever cellphone or Internet company. I needed to house Hebrew today. Functionally fluent I would love to go to an advanced pond so I could start really understanding the news and you know more high level he will but I can do anything I need to do. Thank God do you read the Yes for not. Like a whole. Yeah nope I don't have time to read in English. I Skim of cookbooks. You know what you love about living in Israel I think the community aspect also this sort of startup nutrition atmosphere that really pushes innovation creativity. It's not something I personally ever felt America although I know it's there but for here I'm just always starting new ideas and businesses and feeling super inspired whether that's because the country sort of Just has that sort of general atmosphere or whether we're all trying to find a way to make another shackle we can pay our rent either way I really liked that about here in the international community in the fact that I don't have to schedule with my friends who can just see your friends. Yeah she's lovely so a little bit about what you do. You've started a cooking school. I'd love you to go into your background of y you love cocaine and how it came about. The cooking school does citrus and salt. But I would love you to talk about your background of why. Cook so cooking is something that I just started. Naturally when I was about eight years old or soon as I was able to be left alone in the kitchen so I was always experimenting. And it wasn't until years later that I realised actually talent I had something I never thought about. I just did right went for BA. I went for an Ma. And then you add some. I waitress and I never worked in the back of a kitchen. 'cause I wanted to be up front. Where the tips for better but always deeply interested in world food and cuisine and recipes and all this and then in two thousand fifteen. I started sort of realizing that I should maybe teach and so I made a menu and made a facebook page in it sort of manifested from there. It's funny like sometimes you go through years and years of your life only to realize what you want to be doing is what you had all along which is very true for many many many people. Ya so how do you open the scorn in two thousand fifteen technically? But it didn't take often so how. How have you seen it growing since? You've decided that this is what you wanted to do. How did you bring in people clients or people who wanted to learn to cook? I think when I started it it I didn't even realize that it's something I wanted to do was just sort of a side hustle right And then just organically people started writing me. There's not there's not a huge amount of options now and they're even less than for tourists. Who Want to learn to make Israeli cuisine and also with the growth of sites like airbnb experiences. People have started seeking out local experiences whether that's cooking photography or stand up paddle boarding whatever. It is In countries they visit. So it's something that I often do when I travel so wanted to bring that back to where I live so you mostly advertised to tourists. I do kind of about you. Know Eighty percent tourists classes twenty percent local. And that's always shifting depending on the week right so for visitors internationals to Tel Aviv. We do beautiful food like hammered. Pita philophical Shakshuka homos and for locals. Who get that. Every day we focus on international menus like Italian or tie were doing around in class for Valentine's Day and all of our menus are inspired from countries that I've travelled to and experienced the cuisine first hand and I bring it back and adapted for the Tel Aviv. Crowd do you when you go traveling to go and do the cooking classes that. Oh Yeah Yeah I seek out. You know specific chefs right. I want to kind of learn their approach in the ingredients and yeah. What do you do about ingredients here? Especially because definitely thinks that you should fine. There are some things that you can't can't find feed be surprised. Know for people swear that there's not limes here Rather all year round even get these ingredients. You just have to know where to look. That's part of the value that I give students to talk about where you can find these ingredients to make the most authentic freshest food possible and you don't have to eat I plant with the plow. Was He was studying for your ma? So my Ma is in conflict resolution and mediation and focused a lot on You know listening and talking skills and all this which is actually totally amazing for the classes especially when I have eight different people from all over the world who may have different levels of English and backgrounds and political beliefs and such so. It's amazing how much my background has is supporting what I do now. But no it was not the plan. I was GonNa do piece work. Which in some way I still yours. You got thrown together to eat exactly but no is not the plan but it also going back to. The ingredients are definitely things that all seasonal light stober it's for example Yeah what do you do about that? That must be things that you can teach in the summer and you can teach in the winter. Yes we adapt our menus for instance the desert offer with our tank lasts in the summer when there's mangoes. We do mango sticky rice right and the winter. We do fried banana with coconut. So you know there's always something flipped. Yeah where did you see the business going? Oh man so okay. Started businesses in third grade selling candles and necklaces. Until my school. Shut me down. So I don't like to put too many parameters around that I'd like to let it organically grow but I'd love to have both home. Base classes and a studio and here and in Jerusalem were offering international news Israeli menus. I'm GonNa Start a Bible based class to lead people through time periods of the Bible for both Jewish Christian groups and anybody who's interested and then who knows you know I looked to be the airbnb of cooking experiences where people can go anywhere in the world know that they have a teacher who speaks English or has a translator that you're going to be able to get recipes that you can repeat and really bring that kind of home based feeling of being invited to somebody space and getting a look into the culture accessible to people for sure. Yeah I like that idea but you do that. You're still doing. It Hoffman Hof late. You're still working. Npr I'm doing the business. Yes I still we work in. Pr again another thing. That's brilliant for my current business having PR skills. Yeah from I work at an amazing PR. For and I love being able to go in and working with these creative high tech companies and go and speak to other adults. How bit of a work? Social Life and also running the business. I'd so you do mostly evening classes. I do evening some afternoons weekends. I try to be flexible possible because people who are working people who are traveling can't always be flexible. Yeah usually had some tour to the Dead Sea to go on. So what's your favorite thing to cook so my signature dish. Yeah is this Moroccan fellow. Joe Pye which has browned onions almonds cinnamon and chicken in it and then baked and powdered sugar on top. It's so gorgeous like sweet and savory altogether yeah I learned it in. Morocco adapted it and now You don't make it as much as my students will let me. That's amazing. How do you teach someone who's never cooked before? So the Nice thing about the classes is that because they're very Recipes specific we can go as slowly as possible. Okay so the main hiccup usually is nice skills so if they tell mirrors either struggling I teach them how to hold the knife and they start to kind of understand how each recipe each ingredient goes to make the final menu so we advertise to beginners and higher level chefs right. I myself never went to culinary school. I'm self taught and traveled up so I understand the perspective of somebody who is just starting out right. Yeah I got. That was your favorite style of cooking so right now. I haven't obsession with Asian food and using the walk and using heat to create flavor like last night we The walk like oil caught on fire and we through all the vegetables in there was just gorgeous. Smokey rich flavor that is from the heat itself ingredients. So that's really fascinating me right now. Let's go yeah. I'm hoping to create a Chinese menu. That's already five. Who knows who knows you with all your time on your house having an Ma helped you with Your Business. I think having the MA. As I mentioned before helps me with listening negotiating skills but also just being a stronger writer and critical thinker is very very helpful. I also took a business class and are not sure if that actually helped me. GonNa say it's good to kind of have the background anyway is growing. Do how hard was it open? An actual business in Israel furor. Chrissy is very difficult here. So my new plan as I'm growing is to hire people to four me and I'll do what I'm good at and they will make sure that I don't get fined or go to jail. That's a good plan conference accountants right. I need a file here. Need TO FILE IN AMERICA. Need to pay them so. I can pay the other people in my mind right now. That's why I had someone on before. And I said to her about starting a business I said. If you have a good accountant they should be the ones that are like kind of directing you in to the right places. So you don't screw up on your and you don't miss file somewhere so everyone should make sure they have a good accountant. So how do you market your cooking? School I don't actually market it very much I'm on tripadvisor reviews that I'm on facebook. Can I'm also always poking around like me and my friends are tagging. Nancy could Tel Aviv. Or whatever it is Beyond their I haven't done much marketing. That being said might have a wonderful woman who starting tomorrow with Digital Marketing Inc. So I'm hoping that that will help expand the business but until now it's been word of mouth which is fantastic Those platforms I told you about and just organic growth. Whoever is supposed to be at my table ends up at my table on. That's anybody from businessmen diplomats who are here. Visitors Allot from Germany and America high-tech groups who want to do like a yield calf. I've had companies like wicks table. It's really fun. Yeah power the Internet right. Yeah what about instagram? Okay so listen and working on my instagram. It's definitely helped. It helps Again something I need outsource. Yeah it's a lot a lot of work so this woman's going to help me with that and been trying to do more stories stories this thing and people love to especially food. People love to see pictures of food. And that's what I love looking food videos. Yeah so that for you to like entice people and it's way more interesting than Play video people like to see faces as well so they like to see talking like doing demonstrations and things like that. Yeah it's hard I hate to. Yeah but we're working on it. The pictures are beautiful or food is beautiful and I just need to outsource that so again. Somebody who's better at me can do it. That's what you need. What advice can you give to the listeners? About starting a business here. Lots of lists of lists stay organized. Don't give one thing at a time so for me. I tell myself that even if I wasn't able to everything done as long as I'm still trying or even a failed with one thing. Try again and then it grows in a one week. I'm ready to have no clients the next week. I'm worried I have too many clients you know so Lots of lists ask for help and don't be afraid to spend some money every time I've invested in the business whether it's new beautiful plates or more cookware. Or renting out of building or hiring simply. It's paid off a hundredfold. Yeah I agree with that. What have been your main successes with a cooking school I am able to singlehandedly. Support my family in tel-aviv. My husband doesn't have a paying job because he's a nursing. School of course helps with the dishes but singlehandedly. Supporting me my husband and my baby and being able to travel. We just did seven. Weeks backpacking in Asia. Learn more Asian recipes so being able to kind of hold all of that and pay rent and grow. The business is probably my biggest success. A major yeah. I don't know I'm doing it with the baby. Oh Yeah well. That was fried. What is your definition that success breath waking up each morning and not dreading when? I'm doing that day. Being excited about it. Yeah well was brings you more excitement the PR on the cookie Okay so Western. Time whenever I am able to grow something that I see supporting me both financially and mentally in the future something that I can grow and is really exciting to see in which way it grows can be done here is really really stimulating for me and brings me a lot of happiness and my sister is helped. Cook Glasses. She's a professional chef. So she also Lipson yes. She's also give a time so that's been really great. What is one thing? You're most grateful for my husband. I couldn't do anything without my husband. He helps me clean. Heels shops. Heals me like talk me off. A ledge on like this isn't working. He helps process even when he's not listening. We travel so I can get new ingredients. He Super Dad. So what have you about yourself since moving to I have a lot more inner fire then. I realized whether that's pushing things through arguing north people you know whenever I need. I'm able to decide complete confidence in myself. Good Yeah it's great. What are your guilty pleasures when you're not cooking of PR and looking after your baby? Okay so I WANNA see yoga. 'cause I son Super Grade and also I love it Pasta Charlie guilty. I just had only good habits good. I'm good as long as you only have eating better jerry's on the couch only the best kinds of ice cream. Will I eat though the guilty pleasure real America? I'm getting an ice cream maker so we can just cut out the middleman you know. I did and then you WanNa do yoga about five times a week. Your like certainly the ice cream and I'll be like his cardamom. Lavender whatever ice cream. Can I make it even better? I love quite follow because then you get to like improve. I mean obviously you're always trying to improve but like you must make something always be thinking. How can I tweet? Can? How can I absolutely? I was just telling my intern that I made almost the same way every time to class and sometimes I make it six times a week in classes always taste. Had a little bit different wizards this you know the students inspiration or the water or the Olive Oil Sundays. I'm just like Wow Simpson. Mazing as you know but you know what you did different or you just don't know sometimes. I'm starting to write a cookbook with a friend. She's She's in charge of writing everything down of who are what is your biggest inspiration in the kitchen or in general in life. Alums say my mom. It's Cliche but she's very very similar. She was always starting side hustles and businesses and very very artistic and able to think through a problem and get anything done. So that's very very inspiring and I always go to her when I have been issued a workout. 'cause it's like talking myself but smarter with more life experience so it's super duper gray looking in the mirror. Colour version which you'll get to that's cool so for my final questions. I'm sure you've often thought even though you have gone back in time with the hardships and challenges about maybe returning to America and I was running what we have. You ever thought that also if you have you ever wondered what it would be like if you haven't made the Leeann what you'd be doing now and how you'll power life would continue so I did go back in live the parallel life and it was fantastic to be close to family. It was fantastic to build a car and drive somewhere beautiful and have a little bit more solitude trader. Joe'S IN COSTCO FOR ALL. These things are amazing burritos. So have that but there was a sense of loneliness that I experience even though you see your friends occasionally. I didn't feel embraced by the community here so I would probably have an easier life and a little more money depending on and Yeah but here. I feel more excited and stimulated and frustrated and optimistic for the future. So do you think you'd be doing the cooking school in America? Not at all not at all. I don't think I don't have the either one. Have the drive there like actually. I think there's really food would have been quite would be quite popular there and I'm actually thinking about going and visiting my parents are doing some cooking classes in the bay area for people who are interested. But I don't think I would've ever thought about it right. It just just came because lifted manifested here your Holy Land so for my final question. Israel is an always perfect and again. That's we both are definitely things. That are missing trader Joe's and starbucks and everything else. So if you were to build a city from scratch what would be the first building the first law you would pass on the people you bring with you The first building would be some epic High Tech Tree House so we could always be surrounded by nature node. Obviously a great kid. Jim Help me cook during those chef hats and I would bring my husband and my sister and my baby obviously and my friend you know and first law would pass is to take negative thinking and try to make it constructive or reframe it. I think a lot of times here. We can focus on the negative but a lot of A lot of instances it can be thought of a more positive way. And that's really what helped me grow the business and make my life function by thinking about okay either tomorrow will be better or this is actually a good thing because XYZ he so that would be my first law which seems a little bit could dictate Arab okay. What about the people mentioned that I would want to bring has banned and my baby and my sister? I don't WanNa leave anybody out because I'm really. Oh what about me? Anyone who had spies in the cooking world I think for me. I'm always focusing just on the home chefs. Who are poor. You know the Indian man in India just making the perfect glasses chai tea or the chef and Thailand making the perfect noodle dish just these people who really perfected their trade have had no fame or glory from it but just to make this beautiful humble food with fresh ingredients. Those are the people who really inspire me. That and I really like Gordon Ramsay. You Watch master chef. He's an interesting. So where can everybody find you? This is the time for you. To Schill were is oil social media everything so our website is citrus and salt cooking dot com spelled out and our instagram is at citrus and salt cooking. The end is filled up. My name is Elliott fast men. You can always find us. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me anytime. Thank you for listening to the only ways podcast and thank you again to my guest. Today I would love to hear from you my listeners. What inspired you from this episode. What did you like? What would you like to hear more about? You can tweet us at only way. Is Up Part. You comment on one of the post on Instagram. Page at only weighs up podcast or you can send us an email to only weighs up. Podcast A. G. MOUTH DOT COM. Your feedback is really important. Please if you haven't done so already. And it should only take a minute rate review and subscribe on Apple podcasts. This will help to continue the success and bring you more content. If you'd love the episode today why not share? Turn your instagram stories. You can take a Pitcher Tag. A friend and we can increase the amount of listeners. Thank you again. I'm remember the only way is up.