Israeli Chef Serves Japanese PM a Dessert in Shoes — a Diplomatic Faux Pas

Well, that’s a way to put a foot in one’s mouth.

Last week, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and wife Akie dined with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and wife Sara at the latter couple’s official residence in Jerusalem, where they enjoyed a gourmet meal that had one kicker of a dessert.

Israeli celebrity chef Moshe Segev, who is also Netanyahu’s private chef, ended the culinary spread with a selection of chocolate pralines served in a shoe — a move that is considered highly offensive in Japanese culture.

Wearing shoes indoors, let alone setting them on tables, can be considered taboo in Japan. Footwear is often left outside the front doors of private residences as well as a number of offices, museums and other establishments in the country.

In this case, the metal brogues designed by British artist Tom Dixon were placed atop a traditional tatami-style table mat. Segev shared photos of the dinner on his Instagram account, adding the caption, “Great honor to cook for you!” However, social media users took to the comments to express their shock and bewilderment.

Segev has previously prepared dessert for another world leader, President Donald Trump, whose visit to Israel in May last year was marked with a creative confection in silhouettes of both him and Netanyahu.

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