Monday, July 26, 2010

Kosher Catering? Five things to keep in mind

Did you Know?
The top 5 things to keep in mind when catering a kosher event!

Hurrah for all those who enjoy food and keep kosher – these days, amazing cuisine that just also happens to be prepared kosher is easily available.

There are, however, a few things to keep in mind when catering a kosher event –

Rabbis or other religious officials do not need to "bless" food to make it kosher.
Food can be kosher without a rabbi ever becoming involved with it: the vegetables from your garden and fruit from your trees are kosher (as long as they don't have any bugs, which are not kosher!). However, with so many processed foods now available, it is difficult to know what ingredients are in your food and how they were processed, so a reliable kosher caterer will have a Mashgiach on the premises to examine the food and its processing and assure kosher consumers that the food is kosher. In many cases, for a more formal catered affair, a Mashgiach will also need to be present at the venue where you are catering to ensure that observance of kashrut continues as the food is being served.

Fish & Meat at the Same Meal
Many kashrut-observers will change to a new plate and utensils after eating fish and before eating meat. So, on a buffet line, guests may first enjoy a variety of salads and fish and then return for the meat selections. Your caterer should keep this in mind when planning a plated meal and, for example, not serve a chicken appetizer before a fish main course.

Kosher Wine!
There are two types of kosher wine--non-mevushal, your basic kosher wine, and mevushal, fit for the most orthodox wine lover. Non-mevushal wines must be produced, handled and even served by Sabbath Observant Jews in order to be kosher. Mevushal wines go through an additional step, flash pasteurization, in which the wines are subjected to heat during the winemaking process but are not boiled, contrary to popular belief. This process originated from ancient times when wine was once used by pagans for idolatrous worship. By pasteurizing the wines, they were considered unfit for pagan worship and should satisfy the most orthodox Jew. As a result, mevushal wines may be handled by non-Jews and remain kosher. (Thank you to our supplier, Royal Wines for this explanation).

Equipment Rentals
If you’re renting china and flatware for your event, it is easier to work with a vendor whose equipment is certified kosher. China cannot be kashered – i.e. china previously used for a non-kosher meal, cannot ever become kosher. Silverware and steelware (utensils) previously used for a non-kosher meal can be kashered through boiling.

A Kosher Caterer Cannot Serve Certain Fruits & Vegetables!
What a shock to find out that your kosher caterer cannot serve raspberries or asparagus or other delectable fruits and vegetables. Raspberries can be heavily infested with small mites and thrips. These insects can be nestled on the surface of the berry as well as inside the open cavity of the raspberry. Occasionally, small worms may be found in the cavity of the berry. Likewise, the asparagus spears can harbor insects and are difficult to clean. White asparagus does not have tips and so can simply be washed and then prepared.