Acclaimed Chef Michael Solomonov Didn’t Hit His Stride Until He Embraced Something He Had Long Hoped to Forget: Where He’s From |

Michael Solomonov is co-founder, with Steve Cook, of CookNSolo, a 300-employee Philadelphia company comprising 11 restaurants. He has won four James Beard awards, including Outstanding Chef in 2017 for the Israeli restaurant Zahav. With the introduction of Federal Donuts, now in five locations around the city, CookNSolo ignited the national trend of coffee-doughnuts-fried chicken restaurants. Solomonov’s success required both exercising his culinary imagination and vanquishing his personal demons. –As told to Leigh Buchanan

My mother’s father was a pediatrician: the Jewish doctor in this little town in Ohio. They traveled to Israel a lot. That’s where she met my father, who had moved to Israel from Bulgaria in 1948. After I was born they came back to the United States. My father took over a jewelry store that was a family business on my mother’s side.

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