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Need Paris Kosher business travel advice

serenarobin Jun 22, 2013 08:10 PM

I will be going on a business trip with associates but will not be in a situation where I can choose the restaurants or eat on my own. There will be lunches in an office setting and a group dinner at a restaurant. Is it possible to make arrangements for a kosher meal to be brought into a restaurant in Paris? Any recommendations about delivery to the office (if possible)?
Thanks!

  1. p
    PotatoPuff Jun 22, 2013 10:00 PM

    I've never tried to do this in Paris, but if this story is any indicator:

    My husband was at a business lunch in New York; as discretely as possible he arranged for food from a kosher restaurant to be brought to the non-kosher restaurant. There were several businessmen from the Paris office that were horrified and told him he could never do something like that in France. The French businessmen were not very polite about the situation....

    13 Replies
    1. re: PotatoPuff
      serenarobin Jun 23, 2013 08:09 PM

      Hopefully that was a unique situation. That could be really uncomfortable.

      1. re: serenarobin
        m
        Moishefrompardes Jun 23, 2013 08:45 PM

        why should that be uncomfortable? thats industry standard, when i worked in treif we got meals from kosher caterers/restaurants. noone in the nonkosher world is going to be offended. mystified, maybe, but not offended.

        1. re: Moishefrompardes
          d
          DeisCane Jun 24, 2013 04:21 AM

          The French can find ways to be offended...

          1. re: Moishefrompardes
            p
            PotatoPuff Jun 24, 2013 11:16 AM

            Should they be offended? No. But somehow they weren't too thrilled about him unwrapping all the shrink wrap at the table and eating different food. Sadly, many people aren't ok with "different".

            1. re: PotatoPuff
              m
              Moishefrompardes Jun 24, 2013 11:40 AM

              i pack meals for things like this a couple of times a week. I mean its either suck it up eat on different plates,or have a scotch & eat later, i dont think theres as big of a stigma as you think about it, especially in larger metropolitan areas. IDK just how it seems to me.

              1. re: Moishefrompardes
                serenarobin Jun 24, 2013 07:46 PM

                I've had such meals many times in NY and other places in the US, and restaurants are usually gracious and accommodating, as are fellow diners. It sounds like things may be different in Europe...

              2. re: PotatoPuff
                a
                AdinaA Jun 24, 2013 11:41 AM

                Laïcité is not the same as the American acceptance of the right be different. Asking for kosher food sets you off as different, it is viewed as a faux pas. Many Europeans are deeply embarrassed by Jews, Jewishness and Judaism; having a colleague served a special, kosher meal makes them feel uncomfortable. There is no easy answer.

                1. re: AdinaA
                  serenarobin Jun 24, 2013 07:33 PM

                  Any advice then? Is it a bigger faux pas to bow out of dinner all together ( and lose major points from a business perspective) or try to somehow arrange something (though it may not even be possible)?

                  1. re: serenarobin
                    m
                    Moishefrompardes Jun 24, 2013 09:04 PM

                    undressed salad. scotch. im pretty sure ive heard that many hold all baquettes in france are kosher. thats my guess.

                    1. re: Moishefrompardes
                      z
                      zsero Jun 24, 2013 10:30 PM

                      That used to be the case, but no longer. I believe there is a way to tell the kosher ones by sight, which a local observant Jew could probably show you.

                    2. re: serenarobin
                      a
                      AdinaA Jun 25, 2013 02:58 AM

                      I've done it all three ways. 1.) like MoshefromPardes said, I usually ask for raw, naked fruit. 2.) Join the group and drink a beer while they eat. 3.) Join the group and arrange a kosher meal.

                      There is some awkwardness any way you work it. I vacillate between fruit and kosher meal.

                      1. re: AdinaA
                        z
                        zsero Jun 25, 2013 05:04 AM

                        And the truth is it's *supposed* to be at least a bit awkward. Dining with gentiles *shouldn't* be completely normal and comfortable -- there should be a reminder that we are different.

                    3. re: AdinaA
                      l
                      lagatta Aug 12, 2013 05:14 PM

                      Adina, it isn't a question of Jews, it is a question of conspicuous religious practice. I'm not Jewish, by the way, but if I read the kosher board from time to time it is because I do have friends who are observant Jews, and I like to be able to help them (as well as my Muslim friends) find accommodation. I've worked on international events where we were sensitive to this issue, as well as vegetarianism.

                      I have many Jewish friends in Paris, but the majority of them are not kosher and would not even understand such a request. Not saying that is how it should be, just how it is. Interestingly, almost all my Jewish friends there who keep kosher are Sephardic/Mizrahi. They come from a universe where Muslims and Orthodox Christians also eat according to religious tenets.

                      In Paris, it is not only a matter of "dining with gentiles". I've been to events where perhaps 90% of the attendees were of Jewish origin but there was pork charcuterie.

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