Nof Atamna-Ismaeel, an Arab-Israeli scientist and mother of three, is the new winner of the celebrated ‘Master Chef Israel’ TV program. She is this week’s choice for the weekly ‘Faces of Israel’ feature. 

Dr. Nof Atamna-Ismaeel, an Arab-Israeli microbiologist, won first prize in the fourth season of reality cooking show “Master Chef Israel” on Saturday night.

Married with three children – a six-year-old boy and two-year-old twins – Atamna-Ismaeel, 33, hails from the Israeli Arab town of Baqa al-Gharbiyye.

Fluent in Arabic, Hebrew and English, she grew up studying in a Jewish school.

Atamna-Ismaeel earned her Ph.D. from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, one of the most prestigious academies worldwide, and is a post-doctoral research scientist at Oranim College in northern Israel. Not only that, but she has four additional postdoctoral degrees.

Yet with all her outstanding accomplishments, winning the competition was “one of the most exciting experiences of my life,” she enthused.

Atamna-Ismaeel enjoys cooking Arab food with a modern twist. She plans to use the prize money to open a cooking school for Israelis of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds.

The winning dish, which she named “Sultan’s Spring,” included stripped red mullet with almond cream and a fresh vegetable salad.

This year’s Master Chef Israel season, which aired on Channel 2, began with 14 contestants and was narrowed down to three. Savyon resident Ido Kronenberg, 54, was the runner-up, and Meseret Woldimikhal, 42, an Ethiopian-Israeli, came in third.

Israel’s most popular television show, Master Chef’s semi-final was watched by 37.8% of households nationwide.

Date: Apr. 6, 2014