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Distilling the desert in Israel

August 17, 2022 - This August, enjoy 15 percent savings on our Best Flexible Rate, including breakfast and dinner when you stay three nights or more at Six Senses Shaharut. Find out more and book our special First Anniversary Celebration Offer.

  • Six Senses Shaharut By RMP 179 New

“The first thing I said to my wife when we came here was, ‘I have to cook here. This place is magical’. The Negev Desert makes you feel that the world is full of possibilities,” says Executive Chef David Biton, an exciting addition to Six Senses Shaharut. Named Israel's Chef of the Year in 2018 by coveted French food guide Gault & Millau, David gained his early culinary experience at the world-renowned Noma Restaurant in Copenhagen before working at the iconic King David Hotel in Jerusalem. He exudes special energy, the kind that never stops. Even as we speak, our conversation is accompanied by the background buzz of a busy kitchen. “Cuisine here is a way of life,” he says. “I am lucky to work with a fantastic team. We’re like one big family. It adds soul to our cooking.”

Olive oil is his base, his guiding light. He uses it liberally, even in deserts. This high-grade Israeli nectar is key to his homemade Kube Nabulsi Lamb, a melt-in-the-mouth spiced meat specialty with tahini. It is just one of the tapas dishes served in Jamillah, a haven for forgotten cultures, where guests are also treated to sounds and songs encapsulating the essence of the ancient Incense Route which once passed through these deserts. The plant-based tapas such as his homemade pasta dishes and Tabun roasted cauliflower and tomato confit also luxuriate in olive oil.

“The biggest challenge is getting our daily deliveries, which is why we are moving to self-reliance and sustainability. My dream is to eat from the ground I am standing on. There’s great satisfaction in that.” A growing proportion of organic food is grown on-site, producing the natural, strong flavors that Chef David loves to work with. “Nothing is synthetic or ready-made. Everything starts from scratch. Of course, maintaining a garden in hot and arid conditions is a challenge: to not only grow fruit and vegetables but to make them tasty. But learning solutions is how we all grow. No plastic, no waste, clean supply chains. I’m even obsessing about sustainability in my own house!”

The vegan cheese with fig jam is made on the property, as are the vegetables for the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern-style mezze platters, and the fact that nothing has had to come far shines through in the taste.

Beyond the flavor, David is interested in the experience. He offers private cooking classes, farm-to-table chef’s dinners, and destination dining, with views of the sun setting across the copper hues of the Arava Valley and Edom Mountains. He has also introduced romantic sharing menus at Midian, the resort’s fine dining and show kitchen. “The table is laden with salads and eggplant baba ghanoush, followed by a cote de boeuf or dry-aged T-bone or porterhouse steak. To finish, the homemade chocolates go down a treat.”

The Negev is also an oasis for local wines from established estates and boutique wineries. During your stay, you can plan a night in the Wine Cellar and spend time with our sommelier, who will organize a 10-course private tasting menu paired with an exciting wine selection and anecdotes about the region’s winemakers. In the bar, don’t miss Kevin’s cocktails, often served with a personal touch (The 6E2063 Martini for our Creative Director, where the purple color from the basilicum flower grown in our organic gardens is an obvious brand connection or the Shaharut Sling with a mysterious ‘homemade herbal liquor’ base for our Singapore-based CEO Neil Jacobs).

Slowly but surely, David has made our Shaharut kibbutz his home. His children are moving to schools in Eilat for the new school term, and he has fully embraced the Six Senses way of wellness, “I go to the gym, I think yoga will come…” The sunrises are worth waking up for. And to relax? “Oh, I cook!”

This August, enjoy 15 percent savings on our Best Flexible Rate including breakfast and dinner when you stay three nights or more at Six Senses Shaharut. Find out more and book out special First Anniversary Celebration Offer.

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