Whether intentionally or unintentionally, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may have made a faux paux of sort when his renowned and creative chef served visiting Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe with desert dishes in a shoe on last week May 2. Shocked Japanese revealed it a week later.
Japanese, like any Asian culture, do not bring shoes inside the home, let alone on the dining table. even inside the Japanese home, shoes are forbidden and only leather covering cloth shoes are preferred.
Unthinkable for Japan PM Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie, the creative chef Segev Moshe, riding high on his latest triumph when he served US President Donald Trump and his host a desert in the shape of a double-headed Trump and Netanyahu, presumed that it was funny but leaving the diplomatic circles in a shock.
The media, which was criticised by Netanyahu for not covering the Japanese PM’s visit last week, has retorted giving the faux pax more due to cover the event.
A Japanese diplomat, not named by the paper Yediot Aharonot, was quoted to have said,“There’s no culture in the world in which you put shoes on the table. What was the distinguished chef thinking? If it was humor, we don’t think it is funny; we were offended on behalf of our prime minister.”
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said the menu was not its decision but said, “We have the utmost respect for the Japanese prime minister.”
Undaunted, Segev has posted the shoe-filled dessert on his Instagram account, with a message: “Chocolate selection from the world by #SegevArt / A metal shoe by @tomdixonstudio”. essentially the chef tried to defend the serving saying the shoe was a sculpture by international artist Tom Dixon, whose works are displayed in major museums around the world.
He said for the first time, it was displayed in Israel at a meal and the vessel is a piece of art made of cast metal in the shape of a shoe; it is not a real shoe.
"You don’t need to know any culture to know that serving shoes at a dinner is WRONG!” said another tweet in a reply.
However, the shocking episode has given enough coverage to the visit by Japan PM and Netanyahu must be feeling happy about it.