Wednesday, April 2, 2014

“Product To Passion" Seminar! Successful Food Entepreneurs Inspire Fledgeling Kosher Food Business Owners!

Jesse Blonder, CKCA and Irwin Dayan, Exceed Network
The CKCA  /  Exceed Network co-sponsored spring gathering of over 50 participants was buzzing with discussion and questions focused on strategies to bring kosher home-made foods, marketed and sold to the next level of manufacturing, distribution and profitAttendees, who bake and cook,  brought an array of samples of delicious products, all home made, yet mass produced on a small scale and already selling to the public.  Business ventures ready to expand included cream pies, bottled low-fat, low sugar and unusual salad dressings, chocolate dipped fruit pops, cinnamon buns and more.  
The panel’s winning combination of Eleanor Maleh, CKCA graduate of  Mazza &More Catering, Elizabeth Alpert of Gefilteria, Channalee Fischler Schlisser of The Challah Fairy and Jen King of Liddabits Sweets dynamically shared their journeys to success as well as their most practical advise on how to establish, brand and expand a profitable kosher food business, along with the challenges of balancing work and family life.

With an opportunity to network and hungry for the next seminar we found participants' most pressing questions to be directed at, finding facilities for manufacturing, how to move from home business to mass production,  taking the “leap” to expand and how to determine product shelf life.

We look forward to sponsoring future events of this kind and invite you to email us your interests in culinary and pastry arts. To attend future events email us at

Monday, February 24, 2014

Spotlight on: Executive Chef Laura Frankel

CKCA is pleased to announce that Laura Frankel of Wolfgang Puck Kosher Catering will be the featured chef in the first installment of our new exclusive fine dining series, The Chef’s Table.  

As the founding chef of the acclaimed Shallots Bistro in New York, Chef Frankel was a pioneer in the world of kosher fine-dining. Since then she has moved back to her native Chicago, has written two well-known cookbooks -- Jewish Cooking for All Seasons  and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes -- and has become the executive chef of perhaps one of the best kosher catering operations in the country: Wolfgang Puck Kosher Catering at the Spertus Institute for Jewish Studies. She is also quite active as an educator, sharing her craft and experiences with live audiences across the country and on her website, Laura's Kosher Kitchen.
Chef Frankel with celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck
Chef Frankel has been interested in cooking for as long as she can remember. She suggests, half jokingly, that she emerged from her mother’s womb with a full understanding of how ingredients work together. By age 5, young Laura was actively cooking, baking, and playing musical instruments. It was Bashert then that she would grow up to be a professional chef, a career requiring creativity and a passion for working with one’s hands.

Chef Frankel received her professional training from Le Cordon Bleu and The French Pastry School, and credits this education with giving her the skills to plan the elaborate menus that she executes as an executive chef at a large catering operation. Culinary school also taught her the chemistry behind baking. These days, it is chemistry that drives Laura’s philosophy on parve desserts, known to be one of the kosher food world’s greatest challenges. She explains that both sweet and savory parve dishes can be made with natural ingredients like olive oil and nut butters instead of the typical non-dairy substitutes that are commonly used. “I want to do it in a real way, not to create “faux food (using parve whips and margarine) so I prefer to use more natural and seasonal ingredients”.
Chef Laura Frankel 
At Spertus in Chicago, Chef Frankel is fortunate to have as a mentor and employer one of the original “celebrity chefs”. Although Wolfgang Puck may not be well known to the kosher community, he is widely celebrated as one of the innovators that started the American foodie revolution. Aside from owning numerous restaurants around the country, he also has his own cookware line and is one of the go-to chefs for catering the nation’s biggest events, including the Academy Awards. His interest in kosher? "A bit of a mystery", Laura says, but she confirmed that he holds an annual Passover Seder and has an ongoing commitment to keeping kosher kitchens around the country used exclusively to cater kosher events.

Chef Frankel holds the unique distinction of being the only female executive chef of a kosher catering kitchen in the US. Her days are long and intense. The food for her catered affairs are prepared “á la minute” (at the minute - served fresh), not reheated, as many caterers do with large volume cooking. All dishes are timed to the second. 

Laura is committed to modernizing kosher food, and works hard to eliminate the stereotypes that plague the kosher food world to this day. She uses only the highest quality ingredients, often sourcing her products from small purveyors who specialize in one item. Among her most favorite foods and ingredients are duck--”amazing flavor and crispy skin”-- and bittersweet chocolate; with Callibeut as her preferred brand. She pairs its dark, seductive flavors with luscious olive oil in her signature chocolate mousse. 

Chef Frankel is excited about teaching and partnering with CKCA  -- “why not have a wonderful food experience with intimacy and nice people who will truly appreciate a fun evening”! -- and we are delighted to have her!
Flash Questions for Chef Frankel
1) Favorite Dish: Confit artichokes.
2) Favorite Kitchen Tool: Fish Spatula by Peltex for easy manipulation of delicate food “without brutalizing it”.
2) Her Mentors: Jacquy Pfeiffer, “he is the chef’s chef” and owns the French Pastry School, and Wolfgang Puck: “He has incredible integrity, when he visits he speaks with and shakes hands with the kitchen staff, and has been an incredible mentor to me”.
3) Favorite Celebrity Chef: Lidia Bastianich on PBS, “she has integrity, lets flavors speak for themselves and she cooks for her mother!”
4) Favorite cookbook: Alice Medrich, author of Cocolat. “She understands chocolate better than anyone.”  
6) Best advice for CKCA students and graduates: “Remember that cooking takes love, don’t rush it and never skimp, every ingredient should taste good alone and follow this path in the rest of your life. It will breed integrity and keep you at your best.”

About The Chef’s Table
Witness the creativity and skill of today's best kosher chefs. The Chef’s Table at CKCA offers foodies, connoisseurs, and gourmands alike the opportunity to experience up close and personal a master chef practicing his or her craft. While preparing an exclusive tasting menu, the guest chef for the evening will demonstrate and describe the advanced techniques and culinary secrets that have propelled him or her to the top. A wine pairing for each course is also included. Join CKCA and today’s top kosher chefs at The Chef’s Table for the most exciting dining experience in kosher today!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Shlomo Schwartz, Your Own Soulful Personal Chef

Shlomo Schwartz is the kind of cook whose journey and experiences as a person influence each and every dish he creates as a chef. “Your Soul Kitchen” the name of the personal chef service that he started after graduating from our Career Training Program in Culinary Arts captures the intimate approach that Shlomo takes to the business of personal cheffing. CKCA has been inspired by Shlomo’s so much so that we have invited him to join our team! He has been working for CKCA as a kitchen manager and as an instructor for our popular Date Night Couples Competition Class since last summer. Starting in the spring, he will also be teaching classes on Contemporary Israeli Cuisine.

A native of Be’er Sheva Israel, Shlomo was raised in a home where the whole family cooked together. The kitchen was his comfort zone and by his teen years he was already cooking and baking for large family gatherings. For the year after serving in the Israeli army, Shlomo volunteered in the Jewish Community of Stockholm, Sweden and found himself back in the kitchen hosting Shabbat meals
for locals and tourists. He has continued to host and cook large meals for Shabbat guests and friends, first on his journey back to Israel and now in New York City.

Sabich Tartin- Iraqi- Jewish- Israeli Sandwich with Fried Eggplant, 
Eggs, Green Tahini, &  Parsley over Malawach.
After living and working here in NYC for a while and enjoying cooking solely as a hobby, Shlomo decided it was time to dedicate himself fully to his craft. He enrolled in our part-time evening program in the fall of 2011, pushing his passion for cooking up to the front burner. The part time, evening hours allowed him to pursue his education while continuing to work and support himself. This made the transition practical and his dream a reality.

Upon graduating, Shlomo was accepted for a prestigious externship at The Prime Grill, New York’s renowned kosher steakhouse. Working alongside its executive chef, Shlomo learned everything from basic kitchen prep work to the detail and creativity involved with plating dishes in an upscale restaurant. Recognizing his dedication, ambition and skill, Prime Grill entrusted Shlomo to test the recipes that were included in their best selling cookbook, “The Prime Grill CookBook: Redefining the Kosher Experience”. Shlomo is ecstatic to have had such a unique opportunity and acknowledges the importance it played in his professional development. He is especially proud to have been included in the cookbook’s acknowledgements.  

Shlomo has gone on to work in a number of settings within the food business, each experience adding to his culinary repertoire in a unique way. These days, Shlomo has his hands full serving the many diverse clients he has taken on through his personal chef business. Personal cheffing is the ideal setting for Shlomo. He strives to understand each of his clients' needs, to know who they are, what their food experiences have been and then to create a personalized experience through which he shares the passion and joy he himself has for cooking. As Shlomo says “If you can touch people with food, why not bring them that joy?”
Strawberry Blossom Tart - Almond Crust, Roes Water Pastry Cream, 
Fresh Strawberries 
Shlomo is a budding Chef with insight well beyond his years. CKCA is proud of his accomplishments and thrilled to have him as part of our team!

Favorite American cooking show: Chopped,  “Its about a chef creating, not about their failures”
More on cooking shows: Enjoys Israeli Master Chef since it is about family, tradition and heritage and truly about the people.
Favorite food to cook with: Techina (Tehini), with his next challenge to create a drink using Techina as an ingredient!
Hardest food to work with: Fish - ”it needs ongoing attention, is delicate and every moment until it is eaten is critical.”
Shomo's clients’ favorite dishes: Cherry Tomato Confite, his secret - transforming tomatoes by roasting them, and Green Techina, adding spices and herbs--giving Techina new life.
Favorite spice: Zaatar, a Mediterranean spice blend.
Most useful tool in his kitchen: His hands first, then, the almighty food processor since one can do almost anything with it and get different results...vinaigrette, chopped herbs and even flaky dough.
Shlomo’s advice for new CKCA grads:  
- It is a journey and a skill-set to keep developing, so be patient.
- Stay in touch with the school and instructors, they will continue to support you.
- Be yourself, be truthful to yourself and you’ll find your place in the culinary world.

Our next part-time Culinary Program will start on March 2, 2014. Get information here!

Monday, January 20, 2014

CKCA Co-Hosts Seminar on Advantages of Kosher Certification

The Center for KosherCulinary Arts (CKCA) in partnership with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce is launching 2014’s “Brooklyn Eats” seminar series with a panel discussion entitled “Kosher Made Easy” geared to food and beverage manufacturers.  The seminar has been filling quickly and is the first of it’s kind in Brooklyn. It will take attendees through a basic primer on what kosher means and explore the potential business opportunities of attaining kosher certification.

Topics to be covered include:

  • benefits of getting kosher supervision
  • certification process details
  • costs involved in acquiring kosher supervision
  • how to market kosher supervised products to distributors, retailers and customers

Jesse Blonder, CKCA Director will be moderating an engaging discussion with a distinguished panel of speakers including:
- Rabbinical authorities from the Orthodox Union’s (OU) -Kosher Division. 
- Menachem Lubinsky, kosher marketing "guru", Kosherfest founder, and President of Lubicom.
- Jacob Rusanov, Category Director of kosher foods for KeHE Distributors.

Many are unaware that the OU currently supervises a whopping 500,000 products manufactured in 83 countries!  Another staggering statistic: According to Lubicom Marketing, the dollar value of kosher ingredients sold in the United States is now $370,000,000,000 with an average annual growth rate of 10-15% (from 2005 to 2010).

When it comes to kosher, CKCA is committed to training and education. Not only the kosher chefs of the future, but also the aspiring and established professionals throughout the kosher food industry. The Brooklyn Chamber, whose mission is to serve and support Brooklyn based industry, is offering this seminar in recognition of Brooklyn's growing number of small to mid sized food and beverage manufacturers, whose products may be eligible for kosher certification.

Event Info:  Wednesday, January 22, 2014,  8:30AM – 10:AM 

Industry City, 237 37th Street - Sunset Park. 

Space is limited and pre-registration is required.

If you know of someone who might benefit from this seminar, kindly spread the word!    It promises to be informative and a worthwhile networking opportunity!
 For information and registration

Thursday, December 12, 2013

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT... Pastry Chef Nechamit Rosen!

SPOTLIGHT... is CKCA's new column, dedicated to sharing the inside stories of Chefs, CKCA instructors, CKCA alumni, and restauranteurs of the Kosher Culinary and Pastry Arts world.  

With the new semester of our Professional Pastry Arts Program starting January 13, 2014, we are thrilled to feature CKCA graduate Pastry Chef, Nechamit Rosen, whose education, skills and passion have landed her an exciting venture with The Kosher Marketplace on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. 

STARTING as a toddler, Nechamit assisted her mom with cooking. At ten years old, she was guiding her dad in selecting the correct pots to use for dinner, and ultimately what sealed the deal for her was baking weekly for her grandmother in trying to fuel her appetite and brighten her spirits. The joy of baking emerged and it was then that Nechamit knew it would be an ongoing part of her life!  
After completing her Pastry Arts education from The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts (CKCA) and the now-closed Jerusalem Culinary School, CKCA worked closely with Nechamit to help get her placements for field experience. She started in her hometown of Chicago at the prestigious Spertus Museum, featuring Kosher Cuisine by Wolfgang Puck, and upon moving to New York, Village Crown Caterers.  She is now enrolled in ICE’s Culinary Management program where she is focusing on business studies so she can ultimately start her own business. Passion combined with a strong education is giving Nechamit opportunities she could only dream of.

Nechamit's creation, she says, "working with pulled sugar is most challenging for me".
Baking six days a week, Nechamit’s current position as Pastry Chef at The Kosher Marketplace has her creating an array of Parve fancy cookies, pastries, cupcakes and special order cakes.  She is working on a gluten-free line which she hopes will be on the shelves soon, once her testing for ideal flavor, consistency and customer preference has been completed.  

Nechamit shared with us that gluten-free flour is harder to work with given the texture, and she must rely on her knowledge of baking chemistry, technical skills and intuition.

Looking back at her education at CKCA’s Professional Pastry Arts program, Nechamit credits her Instructor, Pastry Chef Philippe Kaemmerle for his technical expertise, unique eye at problem solving, and his encouragement for her to pursue her dream to become a pastry chef. She shares  that CKCA continues to be an incredibly supportive community, and a place she turns to for advice.  Whether Chef Kaemmerle, Chef Avram Wiseman, CKCA Director, Jesse Blonder, other alumni or in interview with CKCA’s newest addition, Arlette Loeser, Manager of Community / Media Relations, Nechamit has her go to people for getting advise to support her craft, network and develop her business strategy.

Quick Facts about Nechamit!
- Favorite Celebrity Chef:  Altan Brown of "Good Eats" on The Food Network
- Most essential baking tool:  Offset Spatula
- Greatest Pastry Arts challenge:  “Pulled Sugar”
- How she spends free time? Reading industry-related blogs, articles and magazines.
- Best advice for Pastry Arts students and graduates? Be open to learning new things and stay up to date on what is trending in the entire food industry.

- Thank you to Nechamit for helping us launch our first edition of SPOTLIGHT!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Chanukah Contest Fires Up Fans!

Our first annual Chanukah Photo Contest was a smashing success!

The entries, which included both savory and sweet items, were judged on aesthetics and creativity. CKCA's panel of judges narrowed the stack of photos down to three finalists which were then posted on Facebook for our friends and fans to vote on and choose the winner! 


We applaud the winner of this year's contest, Malka Langermann, whose adorable Spinning Dreidel Pops (pictured above) propelled her in to first place. Malka will receive a CKCA cooking class for two and CKCA apron!
While the contest was open to all, Malka happens to be a graduate of this past summer's PROFESSIONAL PASTRY ARTS PROGRAM! She is currently studying Design and Management at Parsons School of Design.  During her interview, Malka reflected back to her pastry arts training and how exciting it was to learn the craft from a French professional chef. While she had dabbled with making cake-pops at home, she credits the instruction of Chef Philippe Kaemmerle at CKCA with enabling her to enhance her technique in order to get the "Dreidel-Pops" precisely shaped and tasting great.  Malka plans to continue expanding her pastry arts knowledge and is thrilled to have won the competition!


Shoshana Shine-Turin, one of our finalists, is the creator of the "latke-wich" and has participated in CKCA's best-selling DATE-NITE COUPLES COMPETITION with her husband.  A practicing nurse and a mom, Shoshana also bakes and cooks weekly for the Chai-Lifeline school program. With the latke-wich  Shoshana's goal was to make "stardard fare" latkes more exciting. She did so by making her own apple sauce, whipping it into an apple cream and creating a lighter weight top latke so as not to crush the cream. Viola, the latke-wich was born!

Our other finalist, Malki Hershkowitz, is also a graduate of the Professonal Pastry Arts Program.  The program peaked her interest in baking and gave her the confidence and motivation to open up her own dessert business called "Cinn City" in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Her plans for the near future are to open up her own bakery, selling high quality pastries. This Chanukah, Malki decided to capitalize on the Cronut craze by creating and selling her own. Her photo submission was of some of the more than 500 that she ended up selling during the holiday. Way to go Malki!

Congratulations again to our winner and finalists and thank you to everyone who submitted a photo and voted during the contest. We hope to make photo and recipe contests a regular event before every major holiday to come!

Monday, November 25, 2013

CKCA's Six Amazing Thanksgivukkah Recipes

In this year's unusual holiday season, Chanukah and Thanksgiving will overlap!  This will be the first and last time we will see this since THANKSGIVUKKAH, as this holiday union has been dubbed will not occur again for at least another 77,798 years!  

Before you start your holiday cooking, check out this analysis by Jonathan Mizrachi, a PhD in Physics. Mizrachi writes that the Jewish / Lunar based calendar is "very slowly getting out of sync with the solar calendar, at a rate of four days per 1,000 years." 

These staggering numbers will get anyone hungry! To celebrate this unique day, CKCA has developed a collection of SIX THANKSGIVUKKAH RECIPES that meld both holidays' ingredients and flavors! 

APPLE-CRAN LATKES, created by our own CKCA instructor, Chef Avram Wiseman.

CRANBERRY BRAISED BRISKET will surely balance the colors of your roasted turkey and vegetable dishes while melting in your mouth for a your culinary "high".

These next TWO original RECIPES put a twist on the standard APPLESAUCE usually served with latkes.  We encourage you to make both and let your palette play with all of the flavorful combinations!  RHUBARB APPLESAUCE will appeal to your craving for sweet and tart flavors!
Another great way to "amp things up" is with our GINGER-SPICED APPLESAUCE!

Our last TWO RECIPES will help make your last day of CHANUKAH as exciting as the first! 
Lower your carbs and get the same LATKE "rush" with our BUTTERNUT SQUASH OVEN FRIED LATKES!  

Finally, our SWEET POTATO-LEEK LATKES will help you get your Vitamins A and C without skimping on the deliciousness!  We promise you will not be disappointed!

Which are your favorites? 
Like and comment on our FACEBOOK Page!

From your friends at CKCA!

CKCA'S 1st Chanukah Photo Contest!

Submit a photo of your BEST CHANUKAH DISH 

for your chance to win 


Submission Guidelines:
1) Your photo should have a placard with the dish's name in the photo and be submitted via:
     - email (
     - Facebook (Personal Message your photo to our FB page)     

     - Instagram (tagged @kosherculinary and #HappyChanukah)
2) Limit ONE photo per person. Make it a good one!

Entry Deadline:
- 11:59PM on the 5th DAY of Chanukah (Sun, Dec. 1st)

- Winner posted on Facebook on the last day of Chanukah (Thursday, Dec. 5th)


- 3 finalists' photos (determined by CKCA) will be posted on Facebook for Voting: You and your friends vote on our FACEBOOK Page for the most CREATIVE and ENTICING dish!
         *ALL voters must "LIKE" our page first!



Thursday, November 7, 2013

CKCA – First Responders in New York Knish Crisis!

An equipment fire at the Gabila knish factory in Copaique, Long Island in late September has led to an unprecedented national knish shortage. 

The fried, square potato knish that is Gabila’s signature item is well known from Coney Island to the street corner carts of New York City and had been sold at every deli and Costco in between.  Who doesn’t love to indulge in a warm and crunchy crusted treat smothered with deli mustard! 

Sadly, due to the fire, there are currently no Gabila square knishes available anywhere.  While many desperate knish cravers have tried, these 18th century Eastern European delicacies cannot even be found on EBAY!

As first responders in the Jewish Food World, we at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts (CKCA) feel it is our duty to step in. We have proudly developed our own POTATO KNISH RECIPE, published here and available on our website for all those suffering from knish withdrawal.  

Inspired by the iconic Gabila's version, our knish was developed by our resident Jewish baking expert Lynn Kutner and can be fried or oven baked, depending on preference. While making a knish from scratch may not be as easy as walking into your favorite deli and ordering one to go, we assure you the rewards of a homemade knish are worth the extra effort. 

Yes, a good knish is hard to find. Fortunately Gabila's plans to start making their iconic version by Thanksgiving. We wish them the best.  

“Gabila’s” Style Potato Knish
Developed by Lynn Kutner


2 1/2 cups AP flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1-1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric(I used 1 1/2)—optional
2 eggs
1/2 cup tap water
2 Tablespoons oil

1 ½ pound Idaho or Russet Potatoes, boiled and mashed
1 large onion, diced and sautéed until golden
salt and pepper to taste

1 egg
2 T water


Combine flour, salt and turmeric in a bowl.  In another bowl beat eggs with water and oil.

Make a well in the center of the flour, pour in egg mixture and work until a nice soft dough forms.

Knead for one minute, then wrap in lightly floured plastic wrap.  Allow to rest in refrigerator for a minimum of one hour (or longer).

Cut the dough in half, refrigerate one half.  Roll out thin on a lightly floured pastry cloth (or other surface, which will require a bit more flour).  Then stretch a bit more with the your hands, being careful not to make holes.  The dough is nice and elastic, and stretches easily.  Each half of the dough makes 8 knishes.
Fill with cooled potato filling:

Potatoes are mashed with onions that have been sautéed in oil until golden brown, salt and pepper.  Potato mixture should be on thick side.  If you feel that your potatoes are too thick, add a spoonful or 2 of water. This much knish dough takes about 3 cups of mashed potato--about 1 1/2 to 1/3/4 pounds. 

To Bake:

Preheat oven to 350- 375 degrees, oven rack high in the oven.
Brush knishes with egg wash(1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water).
Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden.

To Fry:

Heat 1/4 to 1/3" oil in a skillet.  When the oil is ready( test by placing the handle of a wooden spoon in the oil.  If the oil bubbles around the wooden handle, it is ready) Caution: You will have to adjust the heat, so that the oil doesn't get too hot.

Using bone dry utensils (to avoid dangerous spattering--Water should
 never come in contact with the oil.) , place a few knishes in the oil at a time.  Do not crowd the pan. When the first side is brown, turn carefully, and brown the other side.  The knishes take about 1 minute per side.

Remove, and place on paper towels to drain.  Then proceed with the next batch.

Once cool enough to handle, shmear with deli mustard and enjoy. You'll want for knish no more.