Comments From the Kosher King
By David S. Covell | Featured Columnist AJTDavid Covell
Clearly there has been a trend towards healthier food products over the last 5 years. This includes an explosion of organic foods, gluten free foods, hormone free and antibiotic free foods. Even though less than 3% of the population is allergic to gluten, trendy packaging has the letters “GF” to indicate gluten free. Retailers are increasing their inventory of organics to include more produce, meats and dry goods. These trends appear to be permanent as we see Whole Foods and several other grocers specializing in healthier and more expensive products spring up all around the nation. Are kosher products along with kosher events part of this trend? I say yes.
While culinary trends are important to almost all of us, as a full service special event caterer, my company, Avenue K, takes these trends very seriously and implements trendsetting menus based on indicators about the demand for certain products that our Clients and their guests seek at events. At Avenue K, we have the great fortune of producing many of our community’s important life celebrations including weddings, fundraisers, mitzvahs, corporate events and also a warm kiddush at the Shul. We are sitting front and center when observing trends as they relate to food and beverage. We create focused menus based on those trends. But even more interestingly enough over the last year we have seen a great increase in demand for kosher special events. Are kosher events the next big thing? These are some of my basic observations.Kosher Sushi
- More interfaith couples that have married over the last year have determined that their celebration will be kosher. While they do not come from family’s who keep kosher, the trend has been to “kosher is out” when planning a wedding. Interesting that kosher is trending with more interfaith couples.
- More non observant, reform, etc, Jewish families are opting for a kosher celebration. When asked by my staff about why they decided to go kosher the response we often get is “it just seems like the right thing to do” or “we wanted to impart important traditions into our event even though we don’t keep kosher.”
- One recent groom said something interesting. He said that with food being manufactured from worldwide sources how should we trust the various governments to oversee the food that we consume. Can they be trusted? A good question that we seldom think about. But, with kosher products we can be sure that there is a conscientious Rabbi out there making sure that certified kosher foods do not contain ingredients that are unfit.
- More non Jewish event planners are referring us business that are working with clients who seek upscale kosher events. This can be a fun and educational experience for all those involved in the process.
- Kosher products are very similar to organics in that they cannot contain certain fillers and byproducts. There is also truth in labeling for kosher products.
- Finally, there is a movement to individual expression when creating custom special events. With that comes more vegetarian stations, more custom themed events and more kosher events.
Whatever the theme, food style or occasion, we clearly have seen more kosher events when the client clearly does not have to kosher it out. Maybe this is a trend that is here to stay?
Editor’s note: David S. Covell is the CEO, Saratoga Event Group and President of Avenue K-Glatt Kosher Events. The Saratoga Event Group manages multiple event facilities and operates an award winning catering company, Avenue Catering Concepts. “Avenue K” is the certified glatt kosher event division of the Saratoga Event Group. David also has a background as a Certified Public Accountant in New York State and consults to the hospitality industry on matters of food, beverage and facilities. For more information call 404-495-0555 or visit www.avenue-catering.com.