A Czech, a Kenyan, a Costa Rican and a Canadian meet at an Israeli wedding. Who has the most fun? That's easy – the Australian of course!
Diplomats reading this know that www.diplomacy.co.il would never reveal the answer and thus risk favoring (or insulting) someone. For the non-diplomats, let me reveal that .... uhhh you need to have more information.
The truth of the matter is that it's not a joke, and that it all depends on where the wedding was held. The standard answer to the question concerning real estate – and in this case, event venues – is location, location, location.
This August alone, no less than 14 weddings for couples with French roots were held at one of Israel's premier wedding and event locations, "The Villa at Gan Oranim". Without going into the whys and wherefores of French culinary arts and chic, 14 events for French people in one month at one location has to tell us something about the place. 14 events where the hosts discovered the location only by word of mouth.
It's the background. Gourmet meals and haute cuisine are the hallmarks of French culinary artistry and hospitality, and herein lies the secret: Firstly, Chef Colin Gillon, Israeli born but French trained, orchestrates every event at The Villa. Chef Colin trained at the renowned Paris culinary institution "Le Cordon Bleu", where he was subsequently awarded "Le Grande Diplome" (the highest ranking for graduates). He later gained experienced at the 3-Michelin-star "Taillevent" restaurant, the 2-star Apicius (no small achievement) and worked at Fouchon and the very prestigious George V Hotel, also in Paris.
It was at Taillevent that he first met, rather casually, the present owner of "The Villa", Norbert Attali, who was then still a resident of Paris. In their wildest dreams, neither Chef Colin nor psychiatrist Dr. Attali foresaw them cooperating in Tel Aviv at an events location. Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction.
When he retired some 6 years ago, Dr. Attali (he prefers to be called Norbert) and his family immigrated to Israel. Norbert, who was born and raised in Algeria but lived in France from age 11, became the silent partner of the then owners of Gan Oranim, a successful wedding venue in North Tel Aviv. Through a quirk of fate (ask Norbert one day, he'll tell you the details) he suddenly found himself to be the sole owner and active manager! The psychiatrist began a catering business; is it any wonder that he soon engaged the likes of Chef Colin and a team of experts to help him?
Norbert's classical, exclusive European finesse, with just an elegant touch of Algiers – a touch that highlights the venue's prestige – is everywhere at the Villa,. Norbert is one of those rare personalities who put you at ease at once. (Did we mention psychiatrist?) His has published several books (alas, in French only) in which he examines such issues as "Judaism and Sexuality" "Psychiatry and the Cinema" and – how not? – issues of food and satisfaction. A self-made man, he and his wife are at the forefront of aiding those less fortunate than themselves or in need of support – at this very time his social welfare efforts are magnificently directed at soldiers fighting on the front lines in Israel's struggle against terrorists.
We were delighted at the exalted standards of every aspect of the "Villa". It seemed casually extravagant, but befitting the Villa's slogan "The Best or Nothing".
Isn't that what Diplomacy is all about?
Photos Silvia G Golan