Last week, while getting ready to serve her revamped menu at the Olive Tree Cafe—the restaurant next door to and operated by the same owner of the Comedy Cellar—chef Einat Admony heard that Amy Schumer was preparing to perform a semi-secret set at the Comedy Cellar.
"I was joking when I asked if she had an opener," Admony recalls over the phone. Turns out, Schumer didn't—and was totally cool with the chef, who is credited with bringing Israeli cuisine to this side of the Atlantic with restaurants like Taim and Balaboosta, opening up for her.
As memorable as the experience clearly was ("It was a great set!"), Admony's relationship with the Comedy Cellar—to many, the most important such destination in the nation—runs deeper than the special night. The chef has, in fact, performed there already and she's now also responsible for the new menu being served next door, almost half of which can also be enjoyed at the Comedy Cellar.
Admony met Noam Dworman, the Israeli owner of both the comedy club and Olive Tree Cafe, through a mutual friend just as Dworman was looking to hire someone to update the food offerings at his lesser-known establishment. The two kicked it off right away.
Although that relationship is a relatively new one, Admony's connection to comedy, in general, is solid.
"I've known to be funny since forever. It's not something I discovered lately," she says, also confirming that she won't be permanently pivoting to the stage any time soon. "But three or four years ago, I needed to do something for myself that wasn't related to my husband, my kids, restaurants or food. I needed something new to put my mind in a different place." She decided to sign up for classes at the Comedy Cellar and has since performed there over a dozen times.
"I will always be a chef first," she says before discussing the connection between the two creative endeavors.
"I do see a connection between comedy and cooking," she explains. "We're individuals and laugh about different things and we enjoy different foods so, in both fields, you have to figure out how to satisfy multiple people."
She goes on: "Things also change all the time. If I change one word in a joke, it makes it or breaks it. It's the same thing with food: one ingredient can bring it all together or ruin it all."
Speaking of ingredients, folks visiting the Olive Tree Cafe can expect to soon be able to order Balaboosta's signature cauliflower dish on-premise ("I think I'm even going to call it Balaboosta cauliflower—people still ask me about it!") alongside what Admony deems to be the "best hummus ever." Other updates include a Spanish-style shrimp dish, a cornflakes and panko-crusted schnitzel, an eggplant bruschetta with dill and peppers on sourdough and—of course—a whole lot of fluffy Israeli pita. And if you happen to bump into the chef on premise, you'll be undoubtedly treated to some laughs alongside the delicious fare.
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