Moshe Segev and his food presentations Moshe Segev and his food presentations For Moshe Segev, food is elevated to a precise art. (Photo: Courtesy of Moshe Segev)

For chef-artist Moshe Segev, the plate is just as important as the food

Restaurateur and TV personality reveals how he came up with his most unique and dazzling food presentations.

Chef Moshe Segev owns 11 restaurants and his own food production company, is a featured TV personality, and serves as head chef at the residence of Israel's prime minister. With a resume like that, you’d think the chef would take his food pretty seriously – and he does.

But Segev isn’t scared to step out of the box when it comes to plating and presenting his beautiful food.

Nihon Nu-Ba Nihon Nu-Ba, Segev's Japanese restaurant. (Photo: Michaelo Anatoly)

Segev’s restaurants include the gourmet Segev Art, named one of the top 10 in Israel, a Japanese bar, a burger joint, Segev Concept in Sarona Market and in Kfar Saba, and several others. His signature restaurant, Segev Art Herzliya, combines creative plating with designer tableware (plates are painted to match the food that will be served on them) in a trendy space designed by experimental designer Yaron Tal. A food-based digital design ‘dances’ on the walls in slow motion, creating a unique ambience and a surreal experience. The food is served on plates that are painted to match and complement the dish.

Moshe Segev and his food presentations You've always wanted a meal that stares back at you, haven't you? (Photo: Michaelo Anatoly)

Moshe Segev and his food presentations Segev's desserts are gorgeous even without the crafty plating. But when he pulls it all together ... breathtaking. (Photo: Michaelo Anatoly)

Segev’s creative plating in his restaurants includes sweet cream mushroom linguine on a wood stump, cheesecake on a painter’s palette and potato goat cheese gnocchi on a teapot. This Israeli chef is not the only one doing unconventional plating. Trendy diners and gourmet restaurants around the world serve various dishes in stilettos, glass, or wooden shoes, a ping pong paddle, shovel, ashtray or a bowl of rocks.

Moshe Segev and his food presentations 'Cooking is a way of life, it leads and guides me through my day to do, every day. I live and breathe food,' Segev says. (Michaelo Anatoly)

During my recent visit to Israel, I reached out the chef to find out what inspires him.

Sarah: How did you get into cooking, and when did you open your first restaurant?

Moshe: When I was young I dreamed of buying a surfboard. I quickly understood that if I really wanted to buy it with my own money, I would have to get a job. I started working as a dishwasher at a bowling alley. One day at work one of the cooks didn’t show up and I was told that I would be replacing him. The first dish I made was a Greek salad, I was so excited that I had made something like that on my own that for a week straight I made it for my mom at home. The first restaurant I opened was Segev Art in 2006.

Segev with one of his signature burgers at Crunch Burger. Segev with one of his signature burgers at Crunch Burger. (Photo: Michaelo Anatoly)

What inspired you to do creative plating?

I am inspired by my everyday life, a song I recently heard, a painting I happened to see. Everything around me 24/7. I am also inspired by the produce and ingredients that are available to me, but most of the time it's just like a light bulb which turns on in my mind, and I just see the dish and the way it's supposed to be plated right in front of my eyes.

What are some of the most unique platings you've done?

Every dish I plate up excites me more the one before. Every dish, every plate, every finely placed ingredient has a story behind it, so I can't really pick a specific one. But the most unique platings are definitely from my first restaurant, Segev Art.

Is cooking a business or a hobby for you?

Cooking is a way of life, it leads and guides me through my day to day, everyday. I live and breathe food.

American Picnic food art Segev named this dish 'American Picnic.' (Photo: Michaelo Anatoly)

Do you have someone you look up to in the culinary world?

I admire many chefs from all over the world, and I try to learn from each and every one of them ... Robuchon, Daniel Boulud and more. But the best chef I know, love, and am inspired by everyday and throughout my whole career, is my dear mother.

Do you have any plans or dreams for the future – near or far?

To keep creating and innovating, to create the newest thing before anyone else, to wake up every morning with a big smile and most importantly to make my customers smile.

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For chef-artist Moshe Segev, the plate is just as important as the food
Restaurateur and TV personality reveals how he came up with his most unique and dazzling food presentations.