For Raul De Molina, an Emmy award winning co-host of a top-rated entertainment news show, El Gorda y la Flaca, a recent visit to Israel with a group of Hispanic media personalities rekindled a new kind of appreciation for food. The Latin superstar, who hosts the popular show on America’s fifth largest television network, Univision Network, is also the network’s resident food expert.
The Cuban-born De Molina, along with several other leading Latin media figures took in the sights, sounds and tastes of the Holy Land with the organization, America’s Voices in Israel (AVI), which brings notable figures to Israel throughout the year. Other Latino stars in the group included Don Francisco, the iconic Chilean entertainer behind history’s longest-running entertainment program, “Sabado Gigante.”
For both De Molina and Francisco, the AVI-sponsored trip was not their first to the Holy Land.
“This is my second visit to Israel,” De Molina told Tazpit News Agency while the group was eating at Jerusalem’s famous Eucalyptus Restaurant on Sunday. “I came in 2009 with my wife, but this time around I got to see a more personal side of the country.”
De Molina, who was in the middle of filming a food clip at the Jerusalem restaurant for Univision, stopped to describe the highlight of his current trip.
“The Friday night Shabbat dinner was very special,” he said to Tazpit News Agency, describing the traditional Friday night meal that the group experienced at a private home in David’s Village, across Jerusalem’s Old City.
“It reaffirmed for me how important it is to have dinner with your family at home. Going out to a restaurant is not the same,” said De Molina, who regularly writes about food and restaurants.
“We spent four or five hours at this Shabbat dinner and I loved every minute. In the US, families are so busy, leading separate lives from each other.”
“I can’t do Shabbat dinner, because we’re Catholic. But the family dinner concept is definitely something I want to import back to my home in America. Food can bring together the people closest to you in the right setting,” added De Molina, who frequently tweeted about his Israel trip to his 920,000 followers on Twitter.
Don Francisco, also known as Mario Kreutzberger, the son of Holocaust survivors from Germany who grew up in Chile, told Tazpit News Agency that he has visited Israel many times over his lifetime. “When I first came here 48 years ago, I could never imagine that Israel would grow to be the country it is today,” he said.
Francisco, who hosts Sábado Gigante, a widely popular family entertainment show that has been on air for 50 years (the longest-running variety show according to the Guinness Book of World Records) and seen by millions of Hispanic viewers across the world, would like to do a future documentary about Jerusalem.
“This is a city with a nest of faiths,” says Francisco, who has interviewed many famous personalities on his show including American presidents and international entertainers. “I would like to spend some time documenting this city in the future.”