'Zahav' is James Beard's cookbook of the year

"Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking" by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook (Rux Martin Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

"Zahav" is Hebrew for gold, and the owners of the Society Hill restaurant Zahav have struck gold in the food publishing world.

Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook's Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking won the book of the year at the James Beard Awards Tuesday night in New York. The book also won in the International category.

Marc Vetri and collaborator David Joachim were finalists in the Single-Subject category for Mastering Pasta.

"It's very humbling to be in the company of the talent assembled here," Cook texted from Pier 60. "The book is the distillation of thousands and thousands and thousands of meals cooked and served by the Zahav team past and present and we're honored to represent that commitment and body of work."

Inquirer food editor Maureen Fitzgerald wrote that Zahav is "so much more than a cookbook, it is a beautiful memoir, the story of Michael Solomonov's family, his parents, his grandparents, and his journey - back and forth from Israel to the U.S. - that eventually led to the opening his groundbreaking, award-winning Israeli restaurant, Zahav, in Philadelphia. Oh, yeah, and then there are the recipes. Some are simple, some are projects, but the recipe for his hummus alone is worth the price of the book."

Solomonov also is featured in the documentary In Search of Israeli Cuisine. See the trailer here.

Zahav, the restaurant, has been a white-hot hit since its 2008 opening at Society Hill Towers. The duo went on to co-create Federal Donuts, Abe Fisher, and the hummus-forward Dizengoff, which is just about to open a New York branch in Manhattan's Chelsea Market.

Solomonov, born in Israel and raised in Pittsburgh, was the 2011 James Beard Award winner for Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic. He is a finalist for the national Best Chef award on May 2 when the Beard doles out restaurant awards in Chicago.

Also nominated for next week's Beards are Eli Kulp of Fork and High Street on Market; Rich Landau of Vedge and V Street; and Greg Vernick of Vernick Food & Drink, all the Beard award for Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic.

Alex Bois, the baker from High Street on Market, is a finalist for rising star chef of the year.

Stephen Starr is a finalist for outstanding restaurateur.

Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is on the list for outstanding wine, spirits, or beer professional. 

Other book and media awards from April 26 are here.

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