Every Wednesday and Friday, for as long as is necessary, Ronen Levy of Santa Catalina institution Simply Delicious is preparing fresh, nutritious and, yes, delicious food for the doctors and nurses at Son Espases hospital.
Ronen has joined forces with Antonio Serra Garcia who has a stall in Santa Catalina market named Es Reco and Palma-based American entrepreneur Michael Hewitt.
Mike and Ronen met when Michael, who founded upmarket US restaurant talent recruiting service onehaus, moved to Palma from Brooklyn, NYC two years ago. ‘The first thing my daughter Marlow wanted when the family moved here was hummus,’ Michael says. ‘We went hummus-hunting and found Simply Delicious. Hummus brought us together and Ronen and I have been friends ever since.’
The Healing Through Hummus mission came about after Ronen and Mike, who describes himself as ‘a connector who joins the dots’ were brainstorming what they could do to help in the current crisis. They discovered that Antonio has the necessary permit to deliver food to the hospital and began working together.
Now all they do is cross the road from Simply Delicious to the market and hand over Ronen’s amazing hummus along with falafel, pitta and wraps to Antonio. He delivers to between 175 and 200 doctors and nurses at the hospital.
The initiative is 100% funded through donations. ‘We raised enough to keep us going throughout April and May,’ Ronen tells me. ‘We were a little concerned about finding pita, but one kind gentleman donated enough pita to cover us until the end of May,’
Currently, the trio are spreading Healing Through Hummus only at Son Espases but the plan is to expand to other hospitals if necessary, starting with Son Llatzer in Palma.
The big question is how we can all help Ronen, Mike and Antonio in their work.
‘Email me and I’ll send you details of a bank account you can pay into directly,’ Mike says. ‘The more people help us, the more we can do for as long as we need to.’
Adapting to the situation
I’m a fan of Ronen’s fantastic extra-piquant shakshouka. Just the thought of it makes my mouth water.
But, apart from the amazing food at Simply Delicious, one of the great pleasures of popping to the restaurant is sharing a few words and a laugh with the man himself.
How does he feel about the situation right now? ‘I’m very positive, not at all negative. This is a great opportunity to start something new in life. To liberate our creativity, be entrepreneurial.’
What about business? ‘Even before the current crisis, restaurants in Palma were coming off the back of a tough year. When terraces outside restaurants were banned in the city, people took a big hit. In June, when things hopefully kick off again, it’ll be survival of the fittest. I’ll be promoting takeaway more – our food travels well and is perfect for the beach. And I’ll be converting part of Simply Delicious into a deli selling premium Mallorcan products.’
From this week, you’ll be able to order a complete meal from Ronen that he’ll deliver to your home. ‘It will be simple, delicious things that you can heat up – a chicken dinner, for instance,’ he says.
A Simply Delicious recipe from Ronen
It seemed logical to ask Ronen for a healing hummus recipe. But, he says with a grin and a wink, ‘Every time I share my recipe, people say yours in the restaurant is better. I think it’s the frequency, the vibes, the love I put into making my hummus.’
Here, then, is Ronen’s recipe for malabi, a delicious Mediterranean desert from Syria and the Lebanon served cold with rosewater and pistachio. You will need:
Pour the milk and sugar into a pan. Bring to the boil. Stir constantly. Add the cream and cornflower. Allow the mix to thicken on medium heat – about 5 minutes. Stir in the rosewater. Ladle into bowls. Wait for the mixture to cool and transfer to the fridge. Serve with a drop of rosewater and pistachio nut garnish.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can donate to Healing Through Hummus.
Call Ronen on +34 600673722 to find out more about home delivery from Simply Delicious.
Written by David Holzer, a Mallorca-based author, journalist and blogger.