On Dec. 13, after the lighting of the menorah and a Chanukah party at the Centre for Judaism (C4J) in Surrey, participants in the Iron Chef Chanukah Competition filled the C4J kitchen. The excitement was palpable as the chefs and their teams quickly planned and executed the preparation of their dishes.
“It was really wonderful to see teenagers, millennials, parents and grandparents working together seamlessly and having so much fun,” said shluchah Simie Schtroks.
“The competition this year was taken to a whole new level,” said Rabbi Nuta Yisroel Shurack, who is one part of The Rabbi and the Chef, with chef Marat Dreyshner.
Although various prizes were awarded, all the participants agreed that dinner together at Rabbi Falik and Simie Schtroks would be the best way to celebrate another great championship.
The lighting of the Silber Family Agam Menorah at Vancouver Art Gallery also featured some clowning around. (photos by Glenn S. Berlow)
Among the many community celebrations of Chanukah this year were, from the first to fourth night of the holiday, gatherings in Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey and the North Shore.
More than 300 people gathered at Vancouver Art Gallery on the first night of Chanukah, Dec. 6, for the lighting of the tallest menorah in Canada, the Silber Family Agam Menorah. The children enjoyed crafts and entertainment inside the gallery and then everyone went outside (in the pouring rain!) for doughnuts and cocoa. The annual event, which is sponsored by the Silber family in memory of Fred Silber z”l, featured greetings from the dignitaries and politicians who were present, live Chanukah music by Dr. Anders Nerman and the menorah lighting led by members of the Silber family.
Approximately 300 adults and kids celebrated the second night of Chanukah with the lighting of a giant menorah, live music by Nerman, magic by Yeeri the Magician, and traditional potato latkes and sufganiyot at the Richmond Library and Cultural Centre.
“Sharing the Jewish Festival of Light with so many people was an incredible community celebration that really expanded cultural awareness,” said Shelley Civkin, library communications officer. Three generations of the Averbach family joined Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie in lighting the menorah.
The event was held in partnership with the City of Richmond, Vancouver Kollel, the Richmond Public Library and the Ebco group of companies. “The evening started off with Yeeri the Magician performing his magic for families, then singer and guitarist Anders Nerman played music while the menorah was being lit,” said Civkin. “It was a lively event and there was even a Chanukah miracle – no rain!”
On the third night of Chanukah in Surrey, after the menorah lighting led by Rabbi Falik Schtroks, and a dairy and latke dinner, those who attended the event at the Centre for Judaism, Chabad in White Rock/Surrey, participated in the third Iron Chef Chanukah. Iron chef Marat Dreyshner was helped by sous chefs Ella Dreyshner, Rabbi Nuta Yisroel Shurack and Debbie Cossever. Competing for this year’s title was award-winning pizza chef Aaron Gehrman and culinary expert Rae Friedlander Sank, who worked with sous chefs Nissim Gluck and Avraham Nissan Zabylichinski. Host and director of Iron Chef Chanukah, Rebbetzin Simie Schtroks, said that, although this year was the fiercest competition yet, there was an energetic and fun atmosphere in the Iron Chef kitchen. Many in the audience tried to assist the teams with small tasks or by keeping them entertained with Chanukah songs. Ethan Dreyshner helped the rebbetzin as second emcee and interviewer. Mariasha Schtroks created the rating sheets for the judges. While prizes were earned by all participants, the winning team and their friends will be treated to a five-course gourmet dinner catered by Simie Schtroks. Scores were so close that you will have to attend next year’s Iron Chef to find out which team won.
The evening of Dec. 9 saw the first-ever menorah lighting at Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. Set against the backdrop of downtown Vancouver, the event was hosted by Chabad of North Shore Rabbi Mendy and Rebbetzin Miki Mochkin and their family.
Rabbi Mochkin opened the occasion with a few words about the meaning of Chanukah. He stressed the importance of standing one’s ground in the face of adversity, and the value of picking oneself up, no matter how hard one has fallen. The menorah was lit by Rabbi Yitzchak Wineberg, executive director of Chabad Lubavitch BC.
Doughnuts were enjoyed by everyone and the kids had a grand time at the impromptu Dreidel Station.
Chefs compete at the Centre for Judaism in the Lower Fraser Valley of British Columbia’s Iron Chef Chanukah Competition II. (photo from Centre for Judaism)
Last month, after the lighting of the menorah, dancing and refreshments, the Centre for Judaism in the Lower Fraser Valley of British Columbia turned into the Iron Chef Chanukah Stadium for Iron Chef Chanukah Competition II.
Simie Schtroks, shlucha and co-director of the Centre for Judaism, presented the teams and spectators with three secret ingredients and a variety of foods and spices that were to be used in creating the competing three dishes. During the busy hour, Chanukah songs were led by Avi Amrani, Ben Roling and Yaakov Dar together with Rabbi Falik Schtroks. Interviews of the chefs and their teams were conducted, and Ethan Dreyshner helped keep time. Spectators were able to participate in the judging based on the prominence of the secret ingredient, appearance and creativity, and judges Abraham Amrani, chef Aaron Gehrman, Ben Roling and Naomi Nelson took into account taste and originality, as well.
Chef Marat Dreyshner and Ella Dreyshner of ikosherbake.com emerged as the Iron Chefs once again. Winners won a gourmet dinner for four catered by Simie Schtroks. All participants were given a book called Seeds of Wisdom. There was great teamwork on both teams.
The Centre for Judaism thanks captain Rae Sank, Esther Roubini, Rita Roling, Joanne Yaakov, Penina Amrani, Debbie Cossever, Lev Titiafsky and Anna Kushelman, as well as Nava’s Creative Kosher for the sushi.
To be a contender, sponsor or team participant next Chanukah, contact Simie Schtroks at 604-440-7411.