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Jun 16, 2014 09:27 PM

Kosher chef in food network conteast

Tonight on Guy's Grocery Contest on Food network, one of the contestants was a kosher chef. She did rather well in the contest, dressed in "tichel" and was rather careful to do things the right way. I was impressed and so were the judges.

She has a website at and has a kosher catering business in the San Francisco bay area...... Amazing!

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  1. How did it work with the kosher aspect? Did she only use kosher ingredients?

    14 Replies
    1. re: PotatoPuff

      There have been kosher chefs in the past who have had to compete with non kosher ingredients. I recall Paula Shoyer competing about a year or two ago in Sweet Genius.

      1. re: PotatoPuff

        From a kosher aspect, during the competition it didn't really work at all.

        In the first challenge she was essentially "forced" to cook an unkosher ingredient (prepackaged mini cheese burgers) - which given how the challenge was designed felt like it really didn't need to work out that way. But then in the third challenge, she chose to use Spam. In the situations when she used non-kosher ingredients she didn't taste the food.

        1. re: cresyd

          I'm assuming she isn't really observant, since from a kosher point of view, it's basically the same issur to cook cheeseburgers as to eat them; I don't really see how kosher-keepers can participate in things like this. For that matter, it's why those who keep strict halacha can't take most non-kosher cooking courses; cooking milk and meat is almost unavoidable. It used to be that dessert classes were pretty safe, but with the current trends of using bacon and lard, even that's not a given anymore.

          1. re: queenscook

            She was definitely observant. I was so confused as to why she used the Spam. She couldn't taste her final dish. I thought that was quite strange. She didn't HAVE to use it. There were like 100 other things in that aisle that could have been salt-worthy.

            1. re: OutshinedLA

              Then perhaps she just isn't aware of the halachot of keeping kosher even when eating isn't involved. You can't even feed a meat & milk mixture to your pets, for ex.,and you certainly cannot cook it--no matter who is eating it.

            2. re: queenscook

              I make no comment on her observant status, but I do think that when cooks identify as not just "a cook in a kosher kitchen" but as keeping kosher personally (which she did) - it just serves to confuse those who aren't aware.

              Chopped once had a vegan chef appear on the show, and essentially catered all the baskets to not force un-vegan cooking. However, it was presented that the show producers made a mistake by including honey in the dessert basket. While the chef opted to use the honey - the whole episode was clearly set up to try and accommodate a vegan chef and also be vaguely informative and sensitive to a vegan perspective.

              This episode would simply confuse anyone about kosher eating - and as far as cooking competition shows go had the chance to be the most sensitive to a kosher cook. As the design of the show is to use a "grocery store" - they could have enabled challenges to focus on produce and included kosher meat/frozen items/etc. in other parts of the store. Ah well.

              1. re: cresyd

                Still, it would never be 100% correct to eat that food, even if the preparation is kosher, because the actual pots/pans and utensils are not... it's going to be a slippery slope unless it's a 100% kosher competition (and I think the kosher food world needs one).

                1. re: tamarw

                  Well, the chef's usually bring their own knives and there's no reason why they couldn't have given this chef (or another kosher chef) brand new pots, pans, and other utensils. I get that a competition like Top Chef is never going to have the flexibility accommodate a kosher chef, but Chopped or Guys Grocery Games being a smaller competition could.

                  I get that the food wouldn't truly be 100% kosher to eat, but there are shows where they could get a lot closer.

                  1. re: cresyd

                    Kosher pots and pans don't mesh well with nonkosher ingredients :)

                    And giving me a can of olives that have no hechsher is still a slippery slope.

                    1. re: tamarw

                      100% understand.

                      I just think that a show like Guy's Grocery Game could modify either an episode or their challenges to be accommodating. As the point of the show is to have a grocery store - having kosher stock wouldn't be so far fetched. Perhaps not for the series but no reason not to be able to accommodate an episode or two.

                      1. re: cresyd

                        It would be harder than it sounds. I would very much like for a 100% kosher food TV competition one of these days...heck, I'd love to be involved in planning one if anyone ever wants to endeavor to do it!

                        I have a feeling it would perform well. Maybe not on prime time TV--a webisode series, perhaps.

                      2. re: tamarw

                        Olives that are just cured in tartaric and citric acid don't need a hechsher.

                2. re: queenscook

                  Actually, she carefully removed the cheese layer from the frozen burgers before cooking, and she explained that to the audience. That was one of the things which impressed me, not only kosher but also able to communicate kashrut, and she scored very well! The judges thought very highly of her food. Has anyone tasted her catering?

                  1. re: EvanM

                    The fact that the cheese was there to begin with (aside from whether or not the meat had ever been kosher in terms of butchery - for all we know those sliders could have been a beef/pork blend) - rendered the components not kosher.

                    Based on her explanation of kashrut, it'd be acceptable for an observant person to eat a piece of pepperoni pizza as long as they picked the pepperoni off.

            3. Well that escalated quickly.

              Am I the only one who mentally remakes recipes on Iron Chef so I could eat them assuming all kosher ingredients could be found under supervision?

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