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with Jon Wirtis, chef of Shlomo & Vito's, at the restaurant.
Jonathan and Rachel Green conceived of the idea, and Jonathan's mother, Fay Green, of Texas, underwrote the project in honor of her grandsons - Ryan, 13; Aaron, 10; and Gabriel, 6.
Jonathan and [...] Shlomo & Vito's New York Delicatessen Chef Jon Wirtis (left), deli owner Dean Greenberg (center) and Jim Liebeskind (right) measure the world's largest matzah ball. Shlomo & Vito's New York Delicatessen Chef Jon Wirtis (left), deli owner Dean Greenberg (center) and Jim Liebeskind (right) measure the world's largest matzah ball. World's largest matzah ball On Sunday, Nov. 7, Chef Jon Wirtis of Shlomo & Vito's New York Delicatessen set the Guinness World Record for the world's biggest matzah ball.
Jon Wirtis, Ristorante ItaliaBorn in Beverly Hills, Calif., and raised in San Fernando, the 47-year-old Wirtis grew up in the food business, as his father owned and ran several eateries. "I basically grew up standing on a milk crate making sandwiches at my Dad's delis and barbecue joints," he says. Wirtis went off to college at Humboldt State University in northern California, where he originally studied geology, then switched to marketing and accounting. "I cooked my way through school and realized that I liked the cooking part better than the schooling part," he says. That realization led him to enroll at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.He did his externship at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, then worked at two other resorts in the area before moving to Portland, Ore.There, Wirtis spent 10 years with McCormick & Schmick's Seafood Restaurants, where he rose to corporate executive chef. Wirtis later took a hiatus from cooking and did ballroom dancing for two years, then taught at Portland's Western Culinary Institute. His wife of three years is a Tucson native, which prompted his move to Tucson and his new gig at Italia, the newest venture of Bob McMahon's Metro Restaurants. Question: What's your favorite restaurant in Tucson? Wirtis is a graduate of Culinary Institute of American in Hyde Park, N.Y.additional informationBE THE CHEF
Jon Wirtis, an instructor at the Western Culinary Institute, has been leading a Seder for 12 years now, since his days as a chef at an upscale seafood restaurant.For the past eight years, the Benson Hotel has been the host. "I did it selfishly," Wirtis says about his Seder plan."It was such a neat family holiday."But when he left most of his family in Los Angeles and moved to Portland, he gathered his grandmother's recipes for brisket and matzo ball soup and hosted the dinner. "The idea took off," he says."We got couples who didn't want to do a Seder for two.We got families of three or four, and parents whose children had grown up and were no longer in town." The non-kosher but traditional dinner at the Benson is served in the Crystal Ballroom and is prepared by the Benson kitchen. "We go through a whole, traditional Haggadah," Wirtis says of the written service that is central to the Passover observance, "which means we skip a few pages.
Toast until seeds turn light brown, shaking the pan to keep the seeds from scorching. -- From chef Jon Wirtis, Western Culinary Institute