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Todd's Story


While earning his Culinary Arts degree at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Todd developed and refined his craft at the renowned Zuni Café in San Francisco under the supervision of Chez Panisse alumna,  the late Chef/Owner Judy Rogers. It was here that he was first exposed to a highly efficient, passion driven kitchen, which wielded wood-fire to cook some of it's greatest dishes. Zuni Café will always set the bar of quality that Todd lives up to. This is apparent to anyone who reads the sign that hangs in Todd’s kitchen: “This kitchen may seem large but there is no room for mediocrity.”

From there, Todd went on to work at the renowned Savoy Restaurant in NYC under the guidance of his mentor and teacher, Chef/Owner Peter Hoffman. Todd remains dedicated to the food philosophies he learned and lived while working at Savoy. Todd recently returned to this SoHo icon for the 20th anniversary celebration, and helped prepare dinner in its honor at the James Beard House. He was reunited with the people that helped create what he describes as “the perfect time and place to cook in New York City.” This pivotal time of his career, from 1993-99, turned him from line cook to chef.


Just as Kung Fu masters have master teachers, great Chefs have a lineage of their own. In 1999, Todd met the Chef that would become his ‘master’ from Savoie, France; Chef Madeleine Kamman. Todd’s mentor Peter Hoffman was also a student of Chef Kamman’s, so when Todd was selected to attend her exclusive postgraduate program at Beringer Vineyard’s School for American Chefs in Sonoma County, California, it was a privilege. This valuable time spent with Madeleine instilled and developed a masterful knowledge of  Classic  French technique as well as the art of food and wine pairing.

Todd took a yearlong sabbatical from Savoy to live and work in Tuscany, Italy. He worked at  four restaurants while in Tuscany, but one establishment - Ristorante Da Delfina - stands out most in his culinary memories. Restaurante Da Delfina is where he lived and worked with the Chef/Owner Carlo Cioni. “The connection of land, its people, and the bounty that is tilled from it and the cuisine it produces” sums up Todd’s Toscana education. An enduring love affair and fascination with rustic Tuscan culture and cuisine continues to be widely present on his menus.


Upon returning to Savoy, located in the middle of  NYC’s downtown SOHO, Todd took on his first responsibility as chef of the twenty-five seat upstairs private dining room where he created innovative, seasonal four-course,  prix fixe menus based on available ingredients from the Union Square Green Market, where his Chef Peter  played an integral role as a founding member of the greenmarket  association overseeing and setting standards for NYC’s program. Todd recreated Tuscan-influenced menus with dishes prepared in Savoy’s wood-burning fireplace based on his first-hand experiences in Italy. At Savoy, Todd’s work was ultimately reviewed by Ruth Reichel of The New York Times, and his menu items were featured in New York Magazine.

The Outcome Of Two Worlds Colliding........

Before returning to his native shores of America, Todd was hired by Italian coffee company Cremcaffe of Trieste, Italy to develop Italian/Mediterranean menus for new cafes in Netanya and Tel Aviv, Israel. He began to spend time in Jerusalem, learning more about his own Judaic roots along the way. His culinary adventure turned into a spiritual quest. Thus, along with many trips to the shuk, or outdoor markets in Israel, Todd became the observant Jew he is today. He immersed himself in the eclectic cuisine of Israel and became familiar with the laws of Kashrut through this miraculous trip. In addition to the cultural and spiritual knowledge he acquired on this journey, he also acquired something far more important; his wife Nava, who is of Yemenite background. and is the reason why Yemenite flavors and spices permeate some of his most beloved dishes.


Todd Aarons’ first establishment as chef and restaurateur was a little bistro/trattoria named Mosaica that he and Nava opened in 2002. It was located in a small crossroad of a town named Vauxhall, New Jersey. Vauxhall connects Springfield and Millburn, Maplewood towns of Northern New Jersey and serves as a colloquial small town suburb to Manhattan. Todd had prayed for a kitchen – any little place he could cook and call his own. His prayers were answered when he found the gutted out space that would later become his first restaurant. Todd served as the general contractor, and for two months, even did all the construction work himself. Mosaica was reviewed by the New York Times and received a “very good” 3-star rating and was also one of the handful of Times reviewed restaurants that was featured in the ‘Best of New Jersey’ issue for 2003.


In 2005 Todd then went on to design and implement the concepts behind Tierra Sur at Herzog Wine Cellars. The Herzog family elicited his expertise of seamlessly producing finely crafted food that also adhered to the highest of kosher standards. As Amy Scattergood, food writer for the Los Angeles Times, once wrote about Todd, “characteristically, Aarons uses the rules as a jumping off point rather than a limitation.” Through the design of the restaurant, the wood-burning grill, the seasonal menu, and even the name, Todd built a restaurant and concept strongly rooted in the rustic styles of cuisines from Tuscany, Spain, Provence and Mexico.  Scattergood also writes, “At Tierra Sur, a fine-dining kosher restaurant, you can read Aarons' cultural résumé on his menu. The cooking is pan-Mediterranean, with not only Cal-Ital influences, but also Middle Eastern, Mexican and North African.” In the Kosher scene in LA, Todd became the first to research and build a proper meat aging room to fuel his concept of along with the production of homemade traditional charcuterie and the first to implement his skills of utilizing a wood burning oven and grill for his menu. 

At Tierra Sur, Todd’s global travels and expert experiences culminate in flavorful, rustic cuisine reminiscent of the Mediterranean, with seasonally available ingredients from the area’s best farmers and purveyors. Tierra Sur was dubbed “one of the best restaurants in Ventura County”, by Los Angeles Times food critic S. Irene Virbila and “the highest rated restaurant in all of Ventura County”, according to the 2013 ZAGAT guide where Todd maintained a rating of 28 out of 30 on his Food.


Todd’s vast knowledge and experience has surely helped define the next evolution of kosher dining in America.  This notoriety led him to be invited to participate with other regional Jewish American Chefs; Joan Nathan, Michelle Bernstein, Gale Gand, Joyce Goldstein, Michael Leviton, Michael Solomonov, Peter Hoffman, to Plan the 2011 Passover Meal for The White House. He has been featured often in the LA Times newspaper food section including his Edible Odyssey: A Passover Meal by chef Todd Aarons.


His Accomplishments in helping initiate new professional kosher culinary establishments include his most recent request where Todd was brought to Mexico City by Victor Romano to utilize his expertise and talents in devising a new restaurant for their restaurant group. Todd over a year-long period traveled back and forth to Bosques De Las Lomas, Mexico City to put in place Tamar. A modern Israeli style restaurant. He trained the staff in his menu and continues to consult for the restaurateur at their other well known establishment, Gaucho Grill located in the affluent neighborhood of Polanco.




Upon Making Aliyah with his family In July of  2014. Todd  with other partners opened the highly acclaimed and successful Crave Gourmet Street Food. in Jerusalem. With Todd as Executive Chef, Crave enjoyed universal acclaim and was favorably reviewed throughout Israel and beyond. Indeed, Todd’s work at Crave was honored to be included in the  prestigious Gault & Millau Guide and was included in their very first restaurant Guide for Israel 2018.


In early 2019, Todd  set out on his own, traveling throughout Israel with a food truck and dream that Israelis would love the best in American-style street cuisine as much as they did. The response was overwhelming with crowds following the truck at every stop.


Due to popular demand, Todd along with James a partner from Crave opened a permanent location in the center of Tel Aviv called Bodega American Kitchen. Todd continues to make great strides adding to the culinary scene in Israel, with TimeOut announcing within weeks of Bodega opening, “We found the best smash burgers in Tel Aviv!” Bodega has become famous for its innovative menu featuring kosher bacon cheeseburgers, NYC style Pastrami filled Reubens and lamb ham Cubano sandwiches, chili cheese dogs, and more. Todd plans to continue to roll out new culinary concepts like his latest, Aarons Barbeque real Texas style smoked meats. He is a trailblazer enlightening both kosher and non kosher clientele to his great culinary concepts.

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I'm always looking for new and exciting opportunities. Let's connect.

+972 (058) 778-0165

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