By David S. Covell
The nice thing about kosher is that many of us have our own level of acceptability at home regarding compliance to a kosher standard. This standard can vary widely, and in my little corner of catering upscale kosher events, my staff and I have heard from many clients who use language about their level of kosher at home such as modified kosher, kosher light, not kosher, kosher style and, yes, REAL kosher.
The one consistent theme amid the flurry of inconsistent kosher adherence is Jewish pride. Maybe that feeling is more important than anything else. After all, why take the time to discuss kosher or even look for the tiny kosher symbol on the packaging in the store if not for Jewish pride?
Interestingly enough, while Avenue K is an upscale Orthodox catering brand, I can tell you that the vast majority of my clients do not keep an Orthodox standard of kosher at home (or any kosher standard at all), but they elect to host a meaningful life event, such as a wedding, by going kosher and observing the kosher rulebook without losing quality of food, service and presentation.
Many of our wedding clients the past couple of years have been interfaith couples who want to go kosher for their wedding celebration. This is a trend I see continuing, as we have several upcoming bookings with a multinational mix of individuals electing to go kosher.
So while on the surface Atlanta does not seem to have a ton of kosher retail outlets staring at us as we navigate our way home during the afternoon commute (compared with New York or Miami), dozens of establishments proudly offer kosher products of all types under the supervision of the Atlanta Kosher Commission, the group that upholds the gold standard of kosher.
Just take a look at the AKC’s website, kosheratlanta.org, to see dozens of establishments offering everything from doughnuts to Chinese food to ice cream to five-star catering.
Most important, there is as much Jewish pride in Atlanta as there is any other city in the United States and beyond.
One of Atlanta’s catering pioneers, Enoch Goodfriend, passed away recently after a long illness. Goodfriend’s Catering, with its corporate tagline, “making kosher cool,” was an instrumental force in forwarding kosher events and instilling Jewish pride throughout metro Atlanta. Many of us are familiar with his company, and I want to acknowledge him here as someone who paved the way for kosher catering in Atlanta and for future generations of caterers to pursue kosher throughout the Southeast.
Finally, it’s summertime, and it’s time for a Covell Cocktail Concoction. This time of year think tequila. It’s refreshing and fun and goes great with a summer barbecue. So here is a recipe for a watermelon margarita.
First, you need some friends who like to drink. Then treat them to a good tequila. I recommend 1800 Silver. Avoid using brown tequilas because they are usually colored with caramel food coloring (not kosher) and are designed to imply they are aged.
If you have the extra gelt, buy Patron tequilas. They include anejo (aged), reposado and silver, and are all kosher.
Makes 5 servings
2 teaspoons sugar
3½ cups cubed, seeded Georgia watermelon
10 ounces tequila (maybe a little more for your professional friends)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
5 ounces DeKuyper Triple Sec (orange-flavored liqueur)
Lime wedges or watermelon balls as garnish
Put the watermelon and sugar in a blender. Pour the blended mixture into a pitcher, then pour the tequila and triple sec into the mix. Squeeze in the juice of half a lime, and add a small pinch of kosher salt. Stir the pitcher. Salt the rim (or half the rim) of a highball glass filled with ice. Pour individual portions into the glasses. Garnish with a lime or watermelon ball. Let the party begin!
David S. Covell is the CEO of Saratoga Event Group, which manages multiple event facilities and operates an award-winning catering company, Avenue Catering Concepts, and is the president of Avenue K-Glatt Kosher Events, Saratoga’s certified glatt kosher event division. He also has a background as a certified public accountant and as a consultant to the hospitality industry on food, beverage and facilities.