This woman left a law firm to do what she loves
Tourists flock to foodie's popular – and delicious – walks around fresh markets.
Are you looking to turn your passion into your career? Inbal Baum is doing just that, one delicious bite at a time.
If you’re a foodie and an entrepreneur, you may want to take some tips from Baum, who has successfully launched the food tour company Delicious Israel. Baum dazzles travelers with trips through the country's hidden treasures in the food markets and the best of the Israeli restaurant scene.
Born and raised in the United States, Baum was working as an attorney in New York when she realized that she was unhappy with the daily grind of working at a law firm.
“My parents were both Israeli and I spent a lot of time as a kid visiting Israel ... My connection to Israel was based around food and love and joy,” Baum told From The Grapevine. “When I left law, I was like, 'I am only going to do what I love.' I’m not going to waste any more of my time on something that doesn’t really fill me with my passion and energy, and so I tried to find out what that was. For me, hosting and getting to show people the Israel that I love led to opening Delicious Israel.”
The foundation of Baum’s tours comes from her own travels through the markets of Israel, meeting interesting vendors and tasting her way through their offerings. “I would spend my weekends going to the markets and meeting all of the vendors that later would become all of my colleagues,” Baum told us. “I love to cook and I love to eat so I was always exploring on my own.”
One must for any foodie visiting Tel Aviv is the Levinsky market. “It’s a place that still has this nugget of history where the grandfathers and the grandsons are still making these same one or two things out of their shop – for me, that’s a treasure,” Baum said.
“For example in that market, there’s a guy who makes malabi [a creamy milk-based pudding]. This is one of my secret things. You can’t see it because it is a juice stand and he doesn’t have any sign or anything for the malabi." He makes the corn flour malabi with coconut cream instead of milk, making it vegan. "It’s kind of like a panna cotta. You mix it with rosewater and on top you drizzle some kind of pomegranate syrup and also mix some nuts and some cinnamon. Because he has a juice stand, he does it with fresh pomegranate and with shaved roasted coconut. It’s an incredible little visit.”
One day when Baum went to buy olives from a popular shop in Levinsky market, the line was out the door. Pressed for time, she saw that a shop across the street was selling the same olives. She started talking to the vendors and now they are one of the highlights of her tour. “It’s these two brothers. I immediately connected with them – they are now the fourth generation selling and making these olives. They are young guys. It was beautiful to see this kind of history. It’s these kinds of things that when I was putting together the tours ... those are the people that I would want to meet, that I was so grateful that I would get to meet, so I want to introduce them to other people."
So where does Baum herself like to eat? One of her favorites is Popina, a restaurant in Tel Aviv. “I had head chef Orel Kimchi close the restaurant and cater my wedding because it’s that good," she recalled. "It’s beautiful – he’s a young chef – he’s just adorable and he just knows how to work with food.”
MORE FROM THE GRAPEVINE: