Israeli cuisine is having a moment

An Israeli cook prepares a dish at the kitchen of 'MahneYuda', a gourmet non-Kosher restaurant, in Jerusalem's landmark Mahne Yehuda market on November 19, 2009.
MARINA PASSOS/AFP/Getty Images

JERUSALEM Israelis may have been hoping 2013 would bring recognition for their cinematic prowess, with two Oscar-nominated documentaries, but its turning out to be "The Year of the Cookbook."

Whatever the misgivings about their Oscar candidates -- two films sharply critical of Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands -- Israelis were sorely disappointed to awaken Monday morning to find themselves without a single gold statuette.

Had they averted their gazes from garish Los Angeles to that other glittering metropolis, Paris, they might have felt better.

This weekend at an elegant ceremony at the Louvre, in the French capital, an Israeli cookbook called "Seafoodpedia" won "Best in World" in its category at the renowned Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, which are dubbed "the Oscars of international cookbooks."

Another book, "Jerusalem, A Cookbook," published in England by the Israeli-Palestinian team of Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, walked off with the "Best in the World" laurels for Mediterranean Cuisine.

The timing could not have been more propitious. Also this weekend, the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that a major study conclusively proves a seafood-heavy Mediterranean diet can stave off up to 30 percent of heart attacks and strokes.

But that's not all. More gastronomic glory arrived thanks to Apple, opening the week with a new ad campaign based -- yes, you guessed it -- on a brand new Israeli cookbook app, "Look and Cook."

The voice-activated app offers an experience akin to inviting a personal trainer/top chef, in the personage of Israeli celebrity chef Meir Adoni, into your kitchen to talk you through every tiny step.

It is, according to Apple, "mind watering."

Kinetic Art, the Israeli start-up that designed the app has been basking in rave reviews, taking its turn in the sun that shines upon high-tech achievement in the new culinary mecca.

Oran Huberman, Kitenetic Art's CEO, said that when he used to search for cooking related apps, he'd find "insipid, text-filled versions of real cookbooks. They look like textbooks."

"When you leaf through a well-made cookbook," he continued, "it makes you hungry. We wanted to recreate that visual and sensual experience."

The app offers you "a rare backstage pass into the most cutting-edge of new Israeli kitchens," which might have sounded more outlandish before the imprimatur of the Parisian prizes.