BY DAVID S. COVELL / SPECIAL FOR THE AJT //
One of the first decisions of planning your wedding will be whether to “go kosher” or just do it the “regular” way. After all, many believe that kosher can be of poor quality and only my Uncle Saul from Miami keeps kosher.
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All the other 199 guests are not kosher, so maybe we should just get him one of those airplane meals and give him a scotch. After all, kosher is just a rubbery piece of bland chicken.
Well, hate to burst your bubble but that’s not true! Having recently visited “Kosherfest” the largest certified kosher food trade anywhere, I can tell you that this year’s show, the 25th annual held at the Meadowlands Exposition Center was a success on many levels.
While at times you needed to sharpen your elbows to push the crowd aside and avoid being turned into road kill by hungry Jews stampeding toward a plethora of free samples, it was very much a worthwhile show. This year achieved both a record attendance and a record amount of vendors.
As the owner of a major kosher special event company, Avenue K, we are always looking for ways to offer new products and services to our clients hosting important celebrations. Part of my job is to open new relationships with manufactures creating quality kosher products we can utilize for your event.
With a boast of products along with an international group of participants, Kosherfest was as entertaining as it was informative.
This year’s show had many unique products, including a variety of organic items, a pareve hot chocolate (pretty tasty), a variety of new kosher wines that actually tasted good (or maybe I just needed a good buzz), organic and free range turkeys, meats from Peru and Chicago and Canada, organic bison, kosher coffees, kosher tequila, Olive oil from Israel – pizza cones (yes that’s correct).
There were brick oven pizza pockets, fiber rich challah bread (9 grams per slice), gluten free everything, a variety of Asian products and exotic sauces, pink Himalayan sea salt, organic snacks, and the largest chicken nugget in the world, brought to you by Empire Poultry. Plus, there was enough chocolate rugelach to feed a Hassidic army.
So where am I going with this? What this all means is that your kosher event can be as good (or better) than non-kosher events. According to kosherfest, only 8 percent of the kosher buyers actually keep kosher on a full time basis.
Therefore, 92 percent of buyers are trading up to kosher for a variety of reasons including truth in labeling, the taste of kosher products, the lack of questionable ingredients and assurance of quality. But back to your wedding.
Three big important items now that you are engaged:
- Decide on whether kosher is right for you. If you surprise everyone and go for a kosher event, you won’t regret it!
We have recently had two interfaith couples get married and hired us to produce their upscale kosher celebrations. Both events were fantastic.
They could have hired us for non-kosher (through our non-kosher company Avenue Catering Concepts), but instead they decided to make it “special” and opted for a kosher celebration. Interestingly enough, the non-Jews seemed to enjoy it the most
- Don’t lose that date! Caterers and venues book up quickly. When you’re ready, pull the trigger.
- Hire a planner. For an immediate referral, call my office today and we can provide you with a choice of experienced and reputable planners to assist all along this important journey.
Everything after the three items above will slowly fall into place. Now let the planning begin and remember to breathe, enjoy the ride (it goes quickly) and take advice from experts.
Remember, this is a lifetime celebration and should hopefully be a pleasurable and memorable experience.
David S. Covell is the CEO of 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.