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fumio in livingston, nj without a heksher

The Vaad Harabonim of MetroWest announces to the general community that its kosher certification relationship with Fumio Grill and Sushi located at 21 E. Northfield Road in Livingston, and its associated entities "Your Bite of Heaven" as well as "Feinschmecker" caterers and products, will end at the close of business today, May 30, 2014.

Fumio then announced they would be under the Va'ad of Flatbush. Someone called Rabbi Meir Goldberg, Kashrus Administrator of the Vaad Harabbanim of Flatbush, and asked him if his organization is providing supervision of Fumio Grill and Sushi and its associated entities/brands, Your Bite of Heaven and Feinschmecker.
Rabbi Goldberg informed me that the Vaad Hakashrus of Flatbush, the kosher supervision unit of the Vaad Harabbanim of Flatbush, is NOT providing supervision. He further stated, if that situation changes in the future, the Vaad Hakashrus of Flatbush’s Kashrut Certification would be displayed at Fumio. Fumio then posted We were unintentionally presumptuous in announcing to the public that we were going to be supervised by The Vaad of Flatbush. We will be closed while we seek an acceptable, nationally recognized kashrus organization to oversee our operations. Please accept my personal apologies caused by my actions."

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  1. Where did Fumio post their closure & apology?
    Thank you, & Chag Sameach!

    1 Reply
    1. re: josh19051

      all the information about this was on west orange shuls. The cost for Metrowest supervision which they were under is small I believe appx $300/month. As for a nationally recognized hashgacha, I am unsure why they would need it. It is not as if people travel to Livingston for vacation. People from Bklyn are generally not travelling to Livingston to eat out when there are so many great places nearby, Kessler rehab is nearby. But if people investigate the Va'ad of Metrowest they would see it is a good heksher since they certify all other kosher establishments in the area and that the Rabbis are quite reputable as well..And I agree that Va'ad of Flatbush is not nationally recognizable

    2. I wonder why they lost their hechsher to begin with.

      9 Replies
      1. re: tamarw

        given the history above I suspect as is very often the case, they probably were seeking a more economically viable supervision then the one they currently were engaging, often these situations are dictated by cost savings desires rather than substantive kashrut issues.

        1. re: seikoloco

          I can only say that I doubt that costs had anything to do with this move as they have clearly stated that they are looking for a globally recognized kashrut brand rather then just the local Rabbanim. I can tell you from experience that the big names are more $$$ both for the yearly fees as well as a much higher minimum wage requirement for the approved Mashgichim. That was certainly the case when I switched from Vaad of Riverdale to the STAR-K years ago.

          1. re: gotcholent

            Yep, and knowing the owners, they're not strapped for cash...

            However, I think your issue is different, Ari - you are a traveling type :) Fumio is local to Livingston, NJ. Why not use the local rabbis if they're not planning an expansion...unless they are?

            Still, being without a hechsher for any given time is a bit questionable. Switch hechshers first, not afterwards.

            1. re: tamarw

              Yes, so what happens now that did not did have any supervision presumably for a period of time? Will the new supervising agency, whomever it is, require they kasher the kitchen, through out all cereamic plates etc. Curious how that works, does anyone know? How can the new supervisors rely on what was done before, and what occured in the period there was no supervision?

              and Vaad of Flatbush is "nationally recognized" I thought that meant along the lines of Star k, OK, OU etc.

              1. re: tamarw

                where would they expand to? They did expand to the local shoprites to do their take out dept

                1. re: koshergourmetmart

                  That's exactly my point. No reason to change hechshers then.

                  @Ari and that's fine, but they have no hechsher at all right now....which raises eyebrows.

                2. re: tamarw

                  They seem to be building their catering divisions, and I can tell you that when it comes to large jobs for the sort of AIPAC, Israel Bonds, national/international organization, someplace locally known and trusted like the vaad of flatbush is not a nationally recognized brand. When we switched from the Vaad of Riverdale to the STAR-K (aka Vaad of Baltimore) we had to kasher anything I wanted to keep and in some rare instances there were things that simply could not be kashered and did not make the cut. The same has been the case when purchasing equipment from closing kosher institutions. Different Vaads have different rules and allownaces, the Vaad of Riverdale allowed me as an owner to be my own mashgiach, it's this very same allowance that is a major reason that the STAR-K does not allow us to use them in the first place. Switching is a tough process, like moving into a new home. But if these guys plan on further expanding their catering brands, it's a good move IMO. Wish'em luck.

                  for the record, I own and operate a kosher catering company and have no relation to Fumio or it's peeps.

                  1. re: gotcholent

                    The Vaad of Riverdale allowed you to be your own mashgiach? That sounds very surprising.

                    1. re: CWY

                      According to Shulchan Aruch one does not need a mashgiach present if the owner is on premises and is personally observant of halacha. Local vaadim often accept this since they will know the owner personally. The major organisations usually want a mashgiach temidi in a restaurant because they need uniformity of standards and feel that requires a mashgiach in every place. The OU applies this even to dairy places with Shomer Shabbos owners, the other major providers only to meat.

          2. Fumio Grill & Sushi in Livingston, NJ is now under the Orthodox Supervision of KOA and Rabbi Shloima Isaacson. Not to debate validity of kosher agencies but is this is a nationally recognizable kosher agency?

            10 Replies
            1. re: koshergourmetmart

              Recognizable and acceptable are two different things. Many would recognize the hechsher; not as many would accept it.

              1. re: queenscook

                FWIW, according an email I've seen from the cRc, KOA is only acceptable on a case by case basis (this was in response to a question about a different restaurant. KOA also, TTBOMK, appear on other agencies "acceptable" list.

                But, like all things, ask your LOR.

                1. re: DeisCane

                  they posed on westorange shuls

                  The K.O.A. is a nationally known, well-respected hashgacha. As always, Fumio Grill and Sushi will have a full time mashgiach temidi on premise and will be subject to multiple weekly visits from the K.O.A. supervisors. Most products that were accepted by the local Vaad are also acceptable to the K.O.A. Kevin Lipka, the restaurant owner states “The K.O.A. is a good fit for us. As far as kashrus, nothing has changed. If you trusted us before, you can trust us now. A nationally known hashgacha is well inline with our growth plans for the future and the K.O.A. is the perfect partner.”

                  the two telling things from his comments are
                  "Most products that were accepted by the local Vaad are also acceptable to the K.O.A." meaning to me that there were products not acceptable to the Va'ad are acceptable to KOA and "If you trusted us before, you can trust us now." If that is the case why are you no longer with the Va'ad?

                  1. re: koshergourmetmart

                    I think that phrase means the opposite of your interpretation. it means most products were accepted by both, and some products accepted by the Vaad were not found acceptable by KOA. .

                    1. re: koshergourmetmart

                      "the two telling things from his comments are
                      "Most products that were accepted by the local Vaad are also acceptable to the K.O.A." meaning to me that there were products not acceptable to the Va'ad are acceptable to KOA "

                      You've got that backwards.

                      " and "If you trusted us before, you can trust us now." If that is the case why are you no longer with the Va'ad?"

                      There could be all sorts of reasons. Including, perhaps, that the new hechsher is *more* reliable than the old one. (No idea whether this is the case, but there's no reason it shouldn't be)

                      1. re: zsero

                        first the va'ad of metrowest is quite reliable. they give kosher supervision to numerous restaurants in the livingston/west orange community. Second, a restaurant that announces publicly that they are under a va'ad when they are still negotiating with them is to me is not a sign of trustworthiness.

                        1. re: koshergourmetmart

                          Whether they are reliable or not is irrelevant. You quoted them saying "If you trusted us before, you can trust us now", and asked "If that is the case why are you no longer with the Va'ad?" I gave you some reasons. Including, perhaps, that the new hechsher is *more* reliable than the va'ad. Your telling me that hte va'ad is reliable does not contradict that. So what did you add by saying it?

                          1. re: zsero

                            the story around our community (I live in WO) is that there were some kashrut issues before they stopped being certified by the va'ad.

                            1. re: koshergourmetmart

                              So they lost the va'ad and have found another. I see this almost like a supplier swap. One can hope that they've taken care of whatever issues there were.

                2. The original comment has been removed
                  1. Guess that didn't last long. Just read this on GKRM.

                    Fumio Grill & Sushi in Livingston, NJ Has Closed and is up for Sale
                    The restaurant as well as their catering company is available for sale as a turnkey operation.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: tamarw

                      What an unfortunate chain of events

                      1. re: noya

                        not really. there was no trust in the Metrowest Community because of their past actions.

                        1. re: koshergourmetmart

                          I *completely* understand, but there's not much in Livingston, so it's still unfortunate for the residents there.