Delicious and fresh American-style cuisine prepared and available in the middle of Yerushalayim—who would have thought?
Well, when Matti (Fuld) Addess moved to Israel, she had no idea she would soon be running a very popular and successful bakery business—Matti’s Kitchen—based out of her home kitchen.
Matti grew up in Teaneck and went to YNJ for elementary school and Manhattan High School. Her parents, Yoel and Chayah Fuld, are part of the Bnai Yeshurun community.
After marrying Gabriel Addess, originally from Memphis, in June 2018, they moved to Israel two weeks later, to the Sanhedria Murchevet neighborhood in Yerushalayim. They have a two-year old daughter, Rachel. Matti set up ‘Matti’s Kitchen’ at the beginning of 2020, under the hashgacha of Rabbi Wiener.
Matti and Gabriel love living in Israel. “It’s amazing being part of such a diverse, authentic community, and it’s a constant inspiration to interact with so many people who are intensely devoted to Judaism,” said Matti.
She emphasized that she tries to keep her products in the American style and taste—that’s what her customers love and come back to her for. She particularly serves the American yeshiva and seminary community in Israel and their families when they come to visit.
Where did her love of baking come from? “I learnt how to bake in my mother’s kitchen,” Matti said. “When my mother was always busy cooking Shabbat for our large family, she gave me the job of taking care of desserts and I learned on the job. I love that I get to bake special treats for people and bring a smile to their face.
“When I was in high school, I went on a chesed trip to Belarus. After I came back, I started selling cookies in the neighborhood and in my school to raise money to send back to the school there.”
Before starting her business, Matti took a brief job working for another business in Ramat Eshkol that catered to families visiting for Sukkot. “It was tremendously informative in how to go about the business, even if my business is not a full-blown catering business. Plus, I got a lot of yummy recipes out of it.”
Matti’s business was only at an early stage when COVID hit and yeshivot and seminaries closed down, but after they started up again in Elul, it proved to work to her advantage.
“Parents were unable to visit their children, who often found themselves locked down in their dormitories and apartments, making it very difficult to treat them the way they would normally want to. My business allowed people to send home-style treats to their loved ones in a convenient and less-costly fashion, and we received a lot of positive feedback from parents and students alike.”
For example, before Purim, she made special hamentashen boxes, and it was one of the first times they mass-delivered outside of Jerusalem. One of their locations was Yeshivat Sha’alvim, and one of the students’ grandparents reached out to tell Matti that he was so happy, “he almost cried.”
Another reason why Matti’s Kitchen became very popular during COVID is due to her regular delivery service. “At a nominal charge, we deliver throughout Yerushalayim and beyond, which saved people the worry of having to leave their homes—which they didn’t want to do due to COVID.”
Matti serves the whole spectrum of the community, from chassidim and charedim to religious-Zionist and Modern Orthodox and everything in between and beyond.
Some of her customers are from her own community who are buying for themselves, for their hosts or for a simcha. Many of Matti’s customers, though, are people living in America, Canada and England looking to send a meaningful gift to their loved ones here in Israel, sometimes for a special occasion, other times just to treat them to something tasty. “Cookies are a great way to let someone know that you’re thinking of them.
“I started out selling soft chewy American-style cookies. They are a big hit. Many people buy the cookies for their children who are living in Israel or are in seminary or yeshiva here. People are so happy to have a taste of home, as chewy cookies are not found so commonly here in Israel.”
Matti also offers a gluten-free option. “A lot of potential customers reached out requesting a gluten-free option, so I researched and developed an amazing recipe for that as well,” she said. “Some people love it so much, they ask if it’s actually gluten free. Don’t worry, it is!”
Matti is always happy to respond to individualized requests. “If there’s something specific that someone wants to order that I don’t have on the menu, I try my best to see if I can make a specialized order, and I’m always open to experimenting and adding new things to my menu.”
Many of the products she sells can be enjoyed through the week—particularly at simchas and parties. For instance, funfetti and oatmeal raisin.
She also started offering additional options. For instance, chocolate chip cookies, cookie cakes (which are great for birthdays), cookies in a gift box and sour dough bread.
Matti also can sell you delicious Shabbat cuisine. Her fresh potato kugel has already made a name for itself and is very popular for both Shabbat meals and kiddushim.
Matti has also started producing more meal-type options. She will be preparing weeknight dinner options like chicken poppers one night a week and mac and cheese another night.
What are Matti’s hopes for the future?
“To slowly but surely expand the business from being dessert oriented to being more meal oriented. I’ve experimented with different products and different occasions, and I’m constantly trying to fine-tune my menu so that people can order meals throughout the week as well as for Shabbat. I recently catered a newlywed couple’s entire Shavuot for them, and it was a really fun experience.”
To order from Matti’s Kitchen:
Email: [email protected]; WhatsApp 053-921-7106; and on Instagram @mattis_kitchen_israel.
Benjy Singer is a freelance journalist living in Yerushalayim, covering Israel and Jewish world stories.