Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hungarian Cabbage and Apple Soup

For these cold winter evenings, our own Chef Avram Wiseman once again shares one of his comfort classics, a sweet and spicy cabbage and apple soup that is sure to warm you down to your toes.


3 oz. Clarified margarine
1 medium head Cabbage, finely shredded
1 large Onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 Apples peeled cored, grated
10 cups Chicken stock
6 cloves Garlic, minced
3 tbsp. Brown sugar
1 cup Fine noodles, cooked
1/2 tsp. Caraway seed
1-2 tbsp. Hungarian sweet paprika
1 tbsp. White vinegar
1/4 tsp. Sour salt
Salt and pepper to taste
sour cream or pareve sour cream for garnish


In a large heavy bottomed sauce pot melt the margarine. Add the cabbage, onions and grated apple and cook for 10 minutes, mixing frequently .Add the garlic, sugar, caraway and paprika and continue to cook. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Season with salt and white pepper. Add vinegar and sour salt. Add the cooked noodles. Boil and serve very hot. May be garnished with a dollop of sour cream.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wonderful Article About the Next Great Kosher Chef by Jewish Week's Amy Spiro

Amy Spiro, a former intern and occasional writer for the NY Jewish Week and also an expert baker in her own right (she blogs over at Baking and Mistaking, one of our favorite blogs!) covered CKCA's Next Great Kosher Chef All-Kosher Culinary Competition that took place in Long Island City this past Sunday.

Amy's article really provides an amazing play-by-play of the events that took place, so we are happy to pass it along to you here. The article is called "Out of the Kosher Frying Pan, Into the Fire." And congrats again to all the participants! Happy reading!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Congrats to our Next Great Kosher Chef Winner and Participants!!

We wish a hearty congratulations and Yasher Koach to all the participants today's NEXT GREAT KOSHER CHEF competition at the Entrepreneur Space in Long Island City. Thank you for everyone's support of CKCA! Special congrats to our NEXT GREAT KOSHER CHEF JASMINE EINALHORI!

We will report on the event as soon as we have all the details, but for now, we invite you to enjoy our coverage in today's NEW YORK TIMES! Click here for the article!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Korean Short Ribs

Here is another delicious appetizer from Chef Avram Wiseman. Bulgalbi, or Korean barbequed short ribs, are easily made by roasting in the oven, even in the dead of winter. These flavorful savory ribs are a sure winner and perfect for eating both winter and summer.


4 Lbs. beef short ribs
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup water
4 Tablespoons finely chopped scallion
2 Tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon grated ginger root
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ tablespoon garlic chili paste
2 tablespoons toasted, crushed sesame seeds


Cut the beef short ribs into 1 ½ inch cubes. Wash and drain well. Pat dry. Score the beef along the bottom of the bone as to allow marinade to penetrate.
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and allow to marinade at least 4 hours.

Oven roast the Bulgalbi in a moderate oven 325* for 1 and ½ hours. Turn the ribs frequently. Then, pour the remaining marinade over the ribs and continue roasting another 20 minutes.

Place on serving platter and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds before serving. Yields 8 to 10 appetizer portions.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sweet Potato and Leek Latkes

During this year's Festival of Lights, we invite you to try CKCA Culinary Arts Alum (Spring '09) Liz Kratz's recipe for Sweet Potato and Leek Latkes. This savory pancake is fantastically delicious and is sure to brighten up your Chanukah table this year and every year to follow. Sweet potatoes are a nice departure from regular white potatoes, so after you have made classic latkes for a few nights, you might enjoy this gourmet twist on a well-loved favorite.


6-7 large sweet potatoes, peeled and grated, or chopped fine in food processor
6 leeks, white and very light green parts only, washed carefully and chopped fine in food processor
3 eggs
1 and 1/2 to 2 tsp kosher salt (or to taste, 2 tsp makes a very savory latke)
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup flour
vegetable oil for frying (I recommend Mazola Corn Plus!)


Let grated or chopped sweet potatoes drain in a colander or squeeze dry with a clean towel. Combine with other ingredients. If mixture is too moist, add slightly more flour. Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a wide bottomed pan until very hot, and fry latkes approximately 3 minutes on each side until brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels and transfer to a 300 degree oven to keep warm until ready to serve. It's best not to keep latkes in oven longer than half an hour, otherwise they will get soggy. To make in advance, cool latkes immediately after frying and then heat in oven a half hour prior to service.

Serve latkes hot, with applesauce, smoked salmon or sour cream. Yields 12 large or 24 small latkes.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! Root Vegetable Gratin


3 pounds carrots and/or parsnips
1/2 cup pineapple, minced small or crushed (if using canned crushed pineappple, drain very well)
3 eggs
1/4 cup Coffee Rich or milk substitute
1/2 cup flour or matzoh meal
3-4 tbsp honey
1/2 to 1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp grated or 1/2 tsp ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste
fresh, sliced pineapple for garnish


Peel and boil carrots and/or parsnips until tender. Shock the vegetables in ice water to stop the cooking and to retain the bright color. Drain them very well. Puree in a food processor, and reserve in a large colander. Drain the vegetables well again.

Whip the eggs in a clean mixing bowl. Add all the other ingredients and season well. Divide the mixture into well greased molds or one large baking dish and place onto sheet pans into a preheated 325 degree oven. Pour hot water onto the sheet pans to provide steam while baking and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Test for doneness by inserting a skewer and internal temperature should reach 160 degrees and be firm on top. Garnish with sliced pineapple.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thai Turkey Meatballs with Ginger Sauce

If you make one exotic new recipe this year, make it this one! Everything about this fantastic Chef Avram recipe -- the flavors, the aromas, and the combination of sweet and spicy ingredients -- will transport you to Southeast Asia, and give you a warm and exotic feeling even if when it's shiveringly cold outside. This makes a unique appetizer and an exciting main course if served atop rice or buckwheat noodles.


2 pounds ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 tsp chili paste
3 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
12 oz. water chestnuts
1 cup cilantro sprigs
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

Ginger sauce ingredients:

1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. peeled fresh ginger slivered
2 tsp. scallion whites sliced finely
1 tsp. chopped garlic
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. honey
1 and 3/4 cup pineapple juice
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbps. water
Cilantro sprigs for garnish


Dice onion into small dice. Heat oil in a medium sauté pan and sweat onion until transparent. Add garlic and continue to cook. Add chili paste and brown sugar. When mix is dissolved, remove from heat and set aside.

Drain and mince water chestnuts. Leave pieces about ¼ inch and no finer as to add crunch to the meat balls. Place onion mixture into bowl of food processor and pulse briefly. Add all other ingredients except water chestnuts and pulse a few times until blended.

Remove from processor and place in mixing bowl Fold in water chestnuts and blend well. Form in to little meatballs and bake at 350 for 10- 15 minutes.

Serve with ginger sauce.

Ginger sauce procedure:

In a medium saucepan over high heat place the pineapple juice, sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, ginger and garlic. Bring to a boil.

Dissolve cornstarch in water. While mixing well, pour into boiling sauce, slowly, until thickened consistency is reached. Remove from heat.

Finish with chopped scallions and cilantro sprigs.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Winter Culinary Boot Camps!

The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts is pleased to present our ever-popular Culinary Boot Camp, in two convenient day or evening schedules, this winter.

An intensive culinary experience designed for everyone from the frustrated home cook who finally wants to learn to “really cook” to the budding chef looking to take his or her kitchen prowess to the next level. Learn some of the same basic culinary fundamental skills taught to chefs in the finest cooking schools. Topics covered include: Knife skills, principles and application of all the major cooking methods, how to cook poultry, meat & fish, plating & presentation, and more. This program is a must for anyone who is tired of ruining dinner or conversely, dares to call themselves a good cook!

The classes are open to all enthusiastic and committed students age 16 and over.

$375 -- CALL TO REGISTER -- 718.758.1339

The Day Program will be an intense four-day experience beginning December 20th and continuing through December 24th, from 9am to 12 noon.

The Evening Program will occur on 5 consecutive Tuesday evenings, beginning November 30th, and ending December 28th, from 6:30pm to 9:30pm.

Friday, November 5, 2010

CKCA Cooks for Joan Nathan's Cookbook Signing in NYC!

Famed kosher cookbook author and NY Times writer Joan Nathan has hired CKCA to cook for her book signing and cooking demonstration at the Degustibus Cooking School at Macy's Herald Square on November 11th! Nathan's newest book is "Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France," published by Knopf. It was released November 2nd and is available for purchase here.

Because the Degustibus Cooking School is not a kosher facility, Nathan asked CKCA to prepare a set of delicious recipes selected from several of her cookbooks in advance -- so that they can be served under proper kosher supervision at the cooking demo. The cooking will take place with Chef Avram Wiseman helming a group of high achieving CKCA student and alumni chefs. Rabbi Zushe Blech will head up the kashruth supervision at the Midwood Jewish Center in advance of the event, and CKCA Pro Program Alumna and Mashgacha Joelle Cohn will supervise en route and at the event itself.

Chef Wiseman reports that there are one or two spots still available for students chefs to help assist with the event, so contact him at avram AT if you are interested and have availability on November 10th in Midwood or November 11th in Manhattan.

The recipes that CKCA chefs will be preparing (all from Joan Nathan cookbooks) are as follows:

Moroccan Chicken with Olives and Lemons (Foods of Israel Today, page 286)

Israeli Couscous with Seasonal Vegetables (Foods of Israel Today, page 247)

Moroccan Red Pepper Salad (Jewish Cooking in America, page 277)

Citrus Fruit Soup with Dates and Mint (Quiches, Kugels and Couscous)

Ghouribi (Moroccan Sugar Cookies), (The Jewish Holiday Cookbook, page 320)

CKCA Cold Weather Fave: German Potato Salad

Continuing on the theme of his delicious side dishes after his big first place win at Kosherfest 2010's Cold Appetizer competition, Chef Avram Wiseman shares his kosher, fleishig version of German potato salad, a delicious and filling cold weather favorite!


5 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
2 pounds Spanish onions, sliced thinly
1 pound smoked beef shoulder or beef “FRY”, cut into small dice
1 ½ cups Pommerey mustard (whole grain)
2 cups white vinegar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tbs. Caraway seeds
salt and pepper to taste
chopped parsley for garnish


Place washed potatoes to cook over high heat in cold salted water. Meanwhile place a medium sized, heavy bottom rondeau, over medium heat. Sweat smoked beef until much fat is rendered and beef begins to color. Deglaze the fond remaining from the beef with the sliced onions. Continue cooking without color. Add the vinegar, caraway, sugar and mustard and let cool to room temperature.

When the potatoes are fork tender, drain and let them cool to room temperature. Peel and slice the potatoes into the prepared dressing. Adjust seasoning and dressing consistency. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley and serve at room temperature or slightly warmed.

Friday, October 29, 2010

CKCA Fave Appetizer: Cold Sesame Noodles

On the heels of his big first place win at Kosherfest 2010's Cold Appetizer competition, Chef Avram Wiseman shares his favorite recipe for cold sesame noodles, sure to become a staple of your family's table for years to come. It is great appetizer or side dish, and it can easily be altered into a main dish when paired with grilled chicken, fish or tofu.

5 lb. soba, lo-mein, Or rice noodles
3 and 1/4 Cups strong hot tea
3 cups creamy peanut butter
3 cups soy sauce
1 cup sugar
2 medium cucumbers
1/2 cup toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup soybean oil
12 cloves peeled, chopped garlic
3 cups rice wine vinegar
12 scallions, washed, dried and minced
sesame seeds for garnish


Cook noodles as directed on package. Drain well. Rinse to remove extra gluten. Transfer to large stainless mixing bowl. Thin peanut butter with hot tea until smoothed. Add vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, oils and garlic. Pour mixture over noodles. Toss, cover and refrigerate.

Retoss noodles before serving. Peel, seed and jullienne cucumbers. Add minced scallions and cucumbers to noodles. Adjust seasonings, garnish with sesame seeds and serve.

Chef Avram Wiseman Takes First Place in Kosherfest's 3rd Annual Culinary Competition!

The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts is thrilled to extend congratulations to our own Dean of Students Chef Avram Wiseman on his first prize winning cold appetizer preparation in the Kosherfest 3rd Annual Culinary Competition, awarded on October 27th at Kosherfest 2010!

Chef Wiseman wowed the judges and the audience with a fresh fillet of wild caught Long Island Striped Bass rubbed with a tandoori spice mix, which was grilled and placed over a lentil salad. The fish was topped with a spicy pineapple salsa and was plated with a micro green salad with tarragon vinaigrette.

There were three other competitors in the event: Chef Pini Ben-Ari from U-Cafe, Chef Albert Bijou of Heaven's Kitchen Corporation and Chef Salim Fysal of Dashkin Glatt Kosher Indian Bistro.

Each chef had five minutes to assemble and plate four orders of their dish for presentation to the judges for tasting.

The event included judges Roberta Scher and Lois Held of, writer/education Ted Merwin and cookbook author and James Beard Award Winner Gil Marks.

About Chef Wiseman

As any of his students will tell you, Chef Wiseman is an outstanding, caring chef instructor with many years of industry experience, though he has often said that his first love is teaching. Early in his career, Chef Wiseman held an astonishingly diverse number of positions in a wide array of settings — as banquet chef at the Tan a Tar Marriot, Missouri, Chef Garde Manger at the Garden City Hotel, Executive Sous Chef of the kitchen at the United Nations, and Executive Chef at the Riverhouse Restaurant.

Chef Wiseman is more than a little familiar with the demands of the kosher kitchen, having served as the executive chef for Lederman Caterers in Queens, Kay Caterers in NYC, President Caterers in Long Island, and is currently working as a consulting chef for Paradise Caterers at Marina Del Ray in The Bronx. He is also a Yeshiva graduate.

Chef Wiseman began teaching, his true passion, in 2000 at The Art Institute of New York. Over the six years he spent there, he earned a CHE certification in hospitality education and completed coursework in teaching methodology.

The next professional training class that Chef Wiseman will be teaching will be the Culinary Arts Certificate program in kosher culinary arts, beginning January 3, 2011 and ending March 15, 2011. The next recreational program taught by Chef Wiseman will be "Ask the Chef," a culinary demonstration and tasting, on November 27, 2010. Call 718-758-1339 for more information.

About the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts

Based in Flatbush, Brooklyn, above a cookware store owned by Lubavitcher Jews, CKCA initially offered only recreational cooking, cake decorating and garnishing classes. However, many people who attended the classes requested professional training, so they could learn classic techniques and apply them in professional kosher environments. Until CKCA was established, the only way a kosher-keeping student could study the culinary arts in the United States was to attend a non-kosher program and rely on classmates to taste the food. CKCA is also one of the only ways a non-Jewish student learns the art of kosher cooking, in order to compete for an increasing number of jobs in kosher restaurants and catering. Several experienced master chefs are on CKCA's permanent faculty as chef instructors, including Chef Avram Wiseman, formerly Executive Sous Chef at the United Nations and Chef Instructor at the Art Institute of New York.

Over the past two years, approximately 140 individuals from numerous states and abroad have completed CKCA professional courses. Those who have desired internships have been placed, and many have found work through CKCA as well. Several grads have opened their own food-related businesses, and many have found commercial success working as personal chefs and caterers. For more information, visit

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Crunchy Chicken Salad

We're all looking for new, fun and interesting ways to present chicken to our families. In honor of our upcoming recreational Sunday class, "Chicken Six Ways," which promised to teach all of us a few new ways to cook our favorite bird, we invite you to try Chef Avram's favorite chicken salad recipe, which adds crunch and life to all of all that boiled soup chicken that we never know what to do with. Chef Avram reports that this sharp, simple and savory recipe is a big crowd pleaser. It's perfect for an Erev Shabbos dinner or lunch, served with challah, toast or matzah.

To sign up for Chicken Six Ways, a class which will be given by Chef Russell Moss, Executive Chef of the 92nd Street Y Tribeca Cafe, on Sunday, November 7th, call 718-758-1339.


3 and 1/2 cups cooked chicken (24 ounces)
3/4 cup minced celery
1 small onion, minced
3/4 cup minced water chestnuts
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp minced fresh dill (or 1/2 tsp minced dried dill)
2 tbsp white vinegar
3 tbsp Canola oil
Salt and white pepper to taste


Remove all skin, bone and cartilage from the cooked chicken and dice the meat into 1/4 inch cubes. Place into a sanitized mixing bowl.

Finely mince the onion, water chestnuts, and celery. Squeeze all excess water from the minced vegetables (using a clean towel or cheesecloth) until they are quite dry. Add the vegetables and all other ingredients to the chicken.

Mix well to bind. Chill immediately. Garnish with additional minced fresh dill.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A CKCA Favorite: Mulligatawny Soup

Mulligatawny soup is a favorite at CKCA, made every semester in Chef Avram Wiseman's pro class, often in the first week of cooking. It's a great recipe for students to get comfortable in the kitchen, working as part of a brigade, because there's lots of mis en place (ingredients to be made ready for cooking) to prepare that can be shared among a group of people. It's also a great example of the use of delicious Indian spices that can be used in many recipes to add flavor and color to everyday recipes such as roasted vegetables or chicken.

There's no reason this recipe can't be made at home, and it's a thick, spicy, comforting soup that's just perfect for the fall. It can be either served as an appetizer or as a full meal in itself.


1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 cups chopped onions (about 1 pound)
5 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cups eggplant, peeled,cut into small dice
1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala (see a recipe for this spice blend in "comments")
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
2 cups dried red lentils
8 cups low-salt chicken broth
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups cooked basmati rice
Lemon wedges for garnish


Heat vegetable oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until golden brown, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add garam masala and next 4 ingredients; stir 1 minute. Add eggplant and continue cooking. Add lentils; stir until coated. Add chicken broth. Bring the soup to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until lentils are very tender, about 30 minutes. Discard bay leaves.

Puree the soup using a hand wand or food processor until smooth. Stir in chicken, coconut milk, and lemon juice. Reheat and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide rice among bowls. Pour soup over. Garnish with lemon wedges; serve with cilantro sprigs, chives and a dash of coconut milk.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Artisanal Melon Carving & Fruit Platters with Food Network Star James Parker

Fruit & Vegetable Carving Ace James Parker, found of, returns to CKCA for a one-day workshop on the art of melon carving and fruit platters. James travels worldwide teaching the art of carving and was the winner of the Food Network Fantasy Fruit Sculpture Challenge. Watch the full video here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010
9 am - 1 pm. $175,
10% off for CKCA Pro Program (Culinary, Baking) alumni!
Call to register, 718.758.1339
More here on Facebook.

Come See Us At Kosherfest!

The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts is thrilled to once again be attending and exhibiting at the world's largest kosher food tradeshow, Kosherfest! At the Meadowlands Convention Center (Seacaucus, NJ) on October 26th and 27th, CKCA will be exhibiting at booth 445, and we look forward to having you stop by to say hi to our chef, students, director and founders.

We always look forward to attending Kosherfest, because it is here where we often see very interesting trends and get to view a large array of new products that will be hitting the kosher marketplace in the coming year. We learn a lot about the availability of gourmet products and how even the oldest kosher food companies are constantly developing new products and innovating with flavors and packaging. It doesn't hurt that we also get to taste new and old kosher products too!

As an added incentive to attend Kosherfest this year, we're excited to announce that Chef Avram Wiseman, our new Dean of Student Affairs, will be participating in Kosherfest's third annual culinary competition on October 26th, so make sure you attend and cheer him on at 11am in Conference Room CD. A panel of industry professionals will judge and decide who takes the title for best kosher appetizer.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Master Class: The Cuisine of Italy

This January, Italy comes to CKCA! We are delighted to welcome Italian Cooking Instructors, Cristina Blasi and Gabriella Mari of Tuscany's "Scuola di Arte Culinaria Cordon Bleu Firenze" to CKCA for our very first week long, hands-on master class in Italian Cuisine. In this four day intensive course, Cristina and Gabriella will teach both classic and contemporary dishes from the Italian North, the Italian South, Tuscany, and the ...Mediterranean. A certificate of completion will be rewarded to all participants.

A reception is to be held on Sunday, January 23rd for students to meet and greet Cristina and Gabriella and each other.


Cristina Blasi and Gabriella Mari are the owners of the prestigious Scuola di Arte Culinaria Cordon Bleu in Florence, ( where they have been teaching the art of Italian cuisine for over 25 years. They are fully qualified Cordon Bleu instructors and members of the "Commanderie des Cordons Bleus de France". Cristina and Gabriell also teach’s kosher program, La Cucina Kasher in Toscana, Florence, and have taught in the New York metropolitan area at The Institute of Culinary Education, King’s Cooking Studio, and the Sephardic Community Center.

$475 -- CALL TO REGISTER -- 718.758.1339

Mon - Thurs, Jan 24 - Jan 27 (YESHIVA BREAK), 10 am - 2 pm

Visit the facebook page but you MUST CALL and confirm your rsvp:!/event.php?eid=158701220821401&ref=ts

CKCA Chef Instructor Avram Wiseman Named Dean of Student Affairs

Dean Avram Wiseman is second from left, pictured with several students.

The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts (CKCA) is pleased to announce that Senior Chef Instructor Avram Wiseman has been appointed Dean of Student Affairs for CKCA. This newly created position requires a unique combination of teaching, curriculum development, student counseling, networking with industry professionals, and culinary performance. Dean Wiseman will also serve as an advisor to the CKCA director in several professional capacities, and represent CKCA at public events.

As a professional trade school, the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts is committed to providing its students with meaningful on-the-job training opportunities, honest career counseling, and lifetime job placement assistance. Dean Wiseman, in his new capacity, will serve as the CKCA students' primary career counselor, by managing the student externship and job placement programs, which the school has committed to expanding in the near term.

In his capacity as CKCA's culinary ambassador, Dean Wiseman will work to raise awareness of CKCA in surrounding communities. He will travel throughout the NY/NJ area and promote the school via engaging, entertaining and memorable culinary demonstrations and performances.

As any of his previous students will tell you, Dean Wiseman is an outstanding, caring chef instructor with many years of industry experience, though he has often said that his first love is teaching. He has a dynamic, engaging personality and is a natural, motivating speaker and performer.

Early in his career, Dean Wiseman held an astonishingly diverse number of positions in a wide array of settings — as banquet chef at the Tan a Tar Marriot, Missouri, Chef Garde Manger at the Garden City Hotel, Executive Sous Chef of the kitchen at the United Nations, and Executive Chef at the Riverhouse Restaurant in New Jersey (where he earned 4 stars from the Asbury Park Press).

Dean Wiseman is more than a little familiar with the demands of the kosher kitchen, having served as the executive chef for Lederman Caterers in Queens, Kay Caterers in NYC, President Caterers in Long Island, and is currently working as a consulting chef for Paradise Caterers at Marina Del Ray in The Bronx. He is also a Yeshiva graduate.

Dean Wiseman began teaching, his true passion, in 2000 at The Art Institute of New York. Over the six years he spent there, he earned a CHE certification in hospitality education and completed coursework in teaching methodology.

The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts is delighted to have Dean Wiseman as part of our team, and we look forward to continuing our work with the benefit of his leadership and expertise.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Recipes for a Sweet New Year

As we wish everyone a happy, healthy, joyous and prosperous Shanah Tovah, we are happy to provide you with the links to our wonderful Yom Tov recipes from this season.

Rosh Hashanah Recipe: CKCA's Famous Honey Cake

CKCA's Yom Tov Treat: Dark Chocolate Cake with Mocha Fudge Frosting

CKCA's Yom Tov Treat: Mama Deb's Famous Apple Kugel.

Enjoy and we look forward to seeing everyone in 5771. Until then, Happy Cooking and Chag Samayach!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Chef Instructor John Murphy Joins CKCA as Evening Pro Instructor

This fall, Chef John Murphy joins the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts as an instructor for the evening Professional Program in Culinary Arts. Chef Murphy has a wide range of experience in culinary education and an exciting history of supporting students in competitive culinary competitions.

Chef Murphy has worked in the culinary profession for more than 30 years. For the last 15 years, he has worked as a culinary educator at Barry Tech Center, a part of Nassau Bureau of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), located in Westbury, NY.

While at Barry Tech, Chef Murphy has been very involved with Skills USA. He has guided five of his students to New York State Culinary Arts Competition's First Place Gold Medals. In 2007, his student finished second at the Skills USA National Championship in Kansas City, MO. He has also been the New York State Culinary Championship’s Cluster Chair since 2004. He oversees four competitions: culinary; baking; table service and food preparation assistant.

Chef Murphy has been an active member of the American Culinary Federation Long Island Chapter since its founding in 1992. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors as long as he has been a member of the chapter as well as having served as treasurer, vice president, and newsletter chair. He has been the membership chair for the last five years. John has been the recipient of many chapter awards including Chef of the Year in 2002.

Chef Murphy continues to hone his skills by working in industry during his down time from school as well as visiting his former students when possible to learn what they now have to teach him. As a culinary educator, he draws from his many years of culinary experience to pass along to students not only the skills for success in the kitchen but also for life. He feels those life skills are the most important things they can learn: teamwork, integrity, organization, respect, compassion and a good sense of humor.

The Jewish Star: It's Date Night: Time to Make Dinner

Editor's note: The below article refers to the Culinary Date Night classes taught by Chef Mark D'Allessandro at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts on August 18 and 19, 2010. A new series of Culinary Date Night courses, including a culinary competition for couples, will debut in December 2010.

It’s date night: Time to Make Dinner

by Stephen Wallach

This article originally appeared in The Jewish Star: Individual and Original Reporting from the Orthodox Communities of Long Island, August 28, 2010.

When you think about going out on a date, some type of food and some sort of activity are involved. A picnic can be romantic, but preparing the meal is rarely the event itself. But that’s what six couples experienced on “Culinary Date Night” recently at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts in Flatbush. My wife and I went with another couple and I wasn’t sure what to expect out of the program. Then again, my first date with Miriam ended with my tie being rung out in an elevator by partners of the law firm where I worked at the time, when I walked in drenched from head-to-toe from our walk in the rain. Life with her tends to be full of surprises.

We filed through a doorway and up a set of stairs to a room filled with a commercial oven, kitchen supplies, and two long metal tables with folding bar stools set in front of cutting boards. Each person got their own butcher knife and the evening was shaping up to be a cross between a slasher movie and a good game of Clue. While Professor Plum and Miss Scarlet were not there, we had our own cast of characters. There was the “pretty” couple, the newlyweds, the pregnant couple, and the couple that was so out of their element. When that wife said she had never tasted lox before in her life, the “pretty” husband asked her if she was really Ashkenaz.

Chef Mark D’Alessandro and his team of sous chefs and assistants helped make this a memorable night. He demonstrated the different dishes in the four-course kosher meal that he had designed. The first course was blini with smoked salmon, where he emphasized the need to make small pancakes, fried just so. Next, for the soup course, an easy but tasty white gazpacho, followed by a demonstration of the deboning of a chicken leg that was then stuffed, seared and cooked. Dessert was a poached pear accompanied by French toast strips, soaked in a coconut cream, alongside caramel sauce and sorbet.

Each couple got to make blinis, the appetizing course, as a way for every one to get into the feel of the evening. We then broke into three teams of two couples each to prepare the next three courses. This is where I began to feel like I was in the middle of a taping of either Top Chef or Dinner: Impossible as 12 people ran around a fully stocked kitchen searching for serving utensils or fresh ingredients in the commercial refrigerators.

Meticulous attention was paid to kashrut throughout the entire class. My wife and the couple we were with were assigned the gazpacho. With some predictable goofs by people working in a rush on a dish they have never made before, working from a recipe that was to be tripled, our course ended up tasting very good and looking good, too. But the pit I get in my stomach during slasher films came back as the four other couples, some of whom didn’t seem to know which end of the knife to hold, were now responsible for the rest of dinner.

When prep time was over, the tables were cleared, cleaned and covered in white linens. Flowers were put on the table and the dishes were set. Each team was now responsible to plate and serve its own course. All of these strangers were able to assume their roles in this choreographed dance, weaving in and out, setting twelve places and serving three different courses. When all was set, we were able to eat.

A night with the potential to be another where I would be rung out in an elevator, or found in a freezer a few scenes ahead in my slasher flick, turned into a pleasant surprise. The food was actually very good. Each course was pretty and tasted good enough to want to have again. At the end of the evening we were able to call this a success. One, the food was good. Two, the experience was one I would probably do again and our friends had fun as well. And three, my date had a good time. I guess I’ll call her again.
If he hasn’t already experienced them firsthand, Stephen Wallach hears most of the stories in “That’s Life” before you do. E-mail for more information about The Center For Kosher Culinary Arts or for future programming.

The original article appears here:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fire Up Your Ovens! New Evening Culinary Arts Course Starts October 3rd!

CKCA's fall evening course in classic Culinary Arts is set to begin October 6th, immediately following the chagim.

This is the only kosher program of its kind in the US.

Classes are open to men and women ages 16 and above and appropriate for anyone who is passionate about cooking and committed to expanding his or her knowledge and skill set in an intensive, professional environment.


The dates for the Fall program are as follows;
150 hours
October 3 - February 7th
Sunday and Monday Evenings

Please contact Jesse Blonder at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts for more information and an application at 718-758-1339, or visit The application is also available for download at this link.

Monday, August 16, 2010

CKCA Summer Open House

Thinking about taking a professional or recreational class at CKCA?

Come try a delicious selection of hot and cold hors d'oeurves and canapes (free of charge!) and meet Chef Avram Wiseman as well as CKCA staff and current students of the Summer 2010 Pro-Program in Culinary Arts at our next CKCA Open House!

You can feel free to ask questions to Chef Wiseman, CKCA director Jesse Blonder, or any of the students. They will also be happy to share with you some of the special hors d'oeuvres recipes created for the event, which you will be able to taste for yourself.

The event is on Friday, August 27th, at 12:00pm to 1:00pm. RSVP is required.

To RSVP, please call Jesse Blonder at 718-758-1339.

CKCA is located in Flatbush, Brooklyn, at 1407 Coney Island Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11230. Visit us on the web for more information:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Middle Eastern Mezze: Moroccan Cigars

Moroccan Cigars are a delicious appetizer and a great addition to any Middle Eastern Mezze (sampler or small plates). In honor of our upcoming course, Middle Eastern Mezze, which will occur on Monday, August 23, at 7:30pm (a few spots are still available! Call 718-758-1339 to sign up!), we are sharing the following delectable recipe for Moroccan Cigars.

About this class: "The lightness and emphasis on fresh ingredients makes the cuisine of the Mediterranean and middle east the perfect summer fare. Join CKCA and one of our top chef instructors for an exploration of "mezze" or small plates and tasty nibbles from a variety of countries throughout this region."

Moroccan Cigars

1 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 pound ground Lamb, Beef, Veal or Chicken
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
freshly ground pepper
kosher salt
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
5 eggs, beaten
1 lb filo pastry (or large wonton wrappers)
6oz margarine, melted

Saute the onions in the olive oil until softened. Add the ground meat and cook until there is no more pink. While cooking, separate the meat with a spatula to avoid clumps from forming. Add spices, and salt and pepper to taste. When mixture is seasoned to your liking, add the beaten eggs and remove from the flame. Mix until the eggs become creamy. It will be slightly wet. Add the chopped parsley to the mixture, reserving a bit for a garnish.

Cut filo pastry lengthwise into a stack of rectangles. Brush the corners of three sides of the first rectangle with melted margarine. Place a small amount (approximately 2 tsp) of the filling along one of the shorter edges (the one without margarine), and roll into a tight cigar, folding in the corners as you go. Brush the end of the cigar with more melted margarine if necessary to secure it and to keep it from opening.

Place unbaked cigars on a non-stick pan or over non-stick foil. Brush tops with melted margarine. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes until golden brown. Cigars can also be finished by frying in olive oil until golden brown on all sides. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Yields 20-30 cigars, depending on how much filling you use for each cigar.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Culinary Date Night Sells Out! Second Class is Now Open!

Chef Mark D'Allessandro (pictured above), a previous chef instructor of the CKCA Pro Program in Culinary Arts, returns to us this August 17th to teach a special seminar for couples, Culinary Date Night. But the August 17th date sold out so quickly that CKCA has added a second Culinary Date Night for August 18th, 2010. The cost is $125 for couple and it's selling out fast, so sign up now! The price is inclusive of the full meal after the class with wine and other delicacies.

This exciting class will include a short class with each couple working together to create a delicious four course, upscale dinner. Special attention will be paid to teaching how to plate and present each course so that they appeal to the eye as well as to the palate. The evening will finish with a white tablecloth dining experience complete with wine, flowers, candles, and all the other trimmings of a meal to remember.

This is sure to be an evening to remember with that special someone, so make sure to sign up now. Call 718-758-1339 to register.

Friday, July 16, 2010

This Fall, Moonlight as a Kosher Chef!

Back by popular demand! CKCA has scheduled dates for our Fall Evening Program in Professional Culinary Arts and Professional Baking & Pastry Arts, so that working professionals and students can spend just two evenings a week learning strategies to succeed as a classical professional chef.

This is an amazing opportunity for people who are already working to get the kind of training that will secure better job opportunities and a world of new experiences.

The Pro Program in Culinary Arts dates are as follows:

August 29 - January 10, 2010
Sunday & Monday Evenings
6:30 - 10:30 pm

The Pro Program in Baking & Pastry Arts dates are as follows:

August 31 - January 19th
Wednesday & Thursday Nights
6:30 - 10:30 pm

In observane of Rosh Hashana, Yom Kuppur, and Sukkot the schedule for this program for the month of September will be as follows:

week 1: Tues - Thurs, Aug 31 - Sept 2
week 2: Tues, Sept 7
week 3: Tues - Thurs, Sept 14 - Sept 16
week 4: Tues, Sept 21

There will also be NO CLASS on Thursday, November 25, Thanksgiving.

The Professional Day Program in Culinary Arts is also running this fall:

October 4 - December 9, 2010
Monday - Thursday
9 am - 1 pm

CKCA Guest Chef James Parker to Appear in Food Network Challenge!

Our own Chef James Parker, who teaches our recreational master classes in fruit and vegetable carving, will be appearing beginning Sunday, July 18th, on the Food Network, on a program called Food Network Challenge: Food Landscapes.

If you haven't had the opportunity yet to take one of Chef James' classes at CKCA, this is a great opportunity to see him in action. He is not only a talented fruit sculptor; He's also a great teacher, so make sure you watch our recreational class listings and sign up early for his next class. They always fill up!

The dates for Chef James' appearance, and several repeats, are as follows (All appearances are on the Food Network):

Jul 18, 2010
8:00 PM ET/PT
Jul 19, 2010
3:00 AM ET/PT
Jul 21, 2010
7:00 PM ET/PT
Jul 24, 2010
6:00 PM ET/PT

* Jul 25, 2010
7:00PM ET/PT

* Jul 26, 2010 - Fantasy Fruit Sculptures
7:00PM ET/PT

* Jul 27, 2010 - Fantasy Fruit Sculptures - THE REMATCH
7:00PM ET/PT

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

CKCA Open House June 23th!

Thinking about taking a class at CKCA?

Come try a delicious selection of hot and cold hors d'oeurves and canapes (free of charge!) and meet Chef Avram Wiseman as well as CKCA staff and current students at the next CKCA Open House!

You can feel free to ask questions to Chef Wiseman, CKCA director Jesse Blonder, or any of the students. They will also be happy to share with you some of the special hors d'oeuvres recipes created for the event, which you will be able to taste for yourself.

The event is on Wednesday, June 23, at 12:30pm. RSVP is required.

To RSVP, please call Jesse Blonder at 718-758-1339.

CKCA is located in Flatbush, Brooklyn, at 1407 Coney Island Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11230. Visit us on the web for more information:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tart and Sweet Acapulco Bass

This is an amazing recipe shared by our favorite fish-grilling Chef Avram Wiseman. It's sharp, spicy, tart, fresh and sweet all at the same time. It's one of those restaurant quality fish dishes that you order over and over again. And now, with the recipe in hand, you can make it in the comfort of your own home!


* 4 (6 ounce) Bass fillets
* 1/3 cup tequila
* 1/2 cup orange liqueur
* 3/4 cup fresh lime juice
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
* 4 tablespoons olive oil
* 3 medium tomatoes, diced
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
* 1 cup mango, peeled, small Paysanne cut (the size and shape of scrabble tiles)
* 8 large sprigs fresh cilantro
* 1 pinch white sugar
* salt to taste
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* ground black pepper to taste


1. Place the fish in a shallow baking dish. In a bowl, stir together the tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice, 1 teaspoon salt, garlic, and olive oil. Pour the marinade mixture over fillets, and rub into the fish. Cover, and refrigerate for 1/2 hour, turning the fillets once.

2. Reserve 1 sprig of cilantro per plate for garnish and coarsely chop the remainder.

3. Preheat the grill for high heat.

4. In a medium bowl, toss together the tomatoes, onion, mango, jalapeno, cilantro, and sugar. Season to taste with salt. Set salsa aside.

5. Remove the fillets from the marinade, and pat them dry. Brush the fillets with oil, and sprinkle with ground black pepper. In a small saucepan, boil remaining marinade for several minutes. Remove from heat, and strain out garlic cloves. Pour the prepared salsa into boiled marinade and heat briefly.

6. Grill fish for 4 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Transfer fillets to a serving dish. Transfer the fish to a serving plate. Spoon salsa over the fish. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Students Arrive from Around the World to Study Culinary Arts at CKCA

It used to be impossible for kosher-keeping students to learn how to make croissants and delicate French pastries from real French pastry chefs. But at CKCA, the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts, students are learning from true masters every day, and as more and more people have heard about the program offerings, CKCA has begun welcoming students from literally all over the world.

Lured by the rigorous course programs, classic French culinary training and top-notch kashrus instruction designed to assist the kosher chef in professional environments, CKCA has this fall, winter and spring welcomed three students from Panama City, three students from Toronto and one from Melbourne, Australia. Other recent semesters have seen students joining CKCA courses from as far away as England, Israel and Mexico, as well as students from Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Arizona and California, as well as from every community all over the tri-state area.

To help guide the pastry component of CKCA's Professional Certificate Program in Baking & Pastry, Chef Philippe Kaemmerle has joined the already distinguished CKCA faculty this semester as a lead chef instructor. Trained in Strasbourg, France, Kaemmerle has made classic French pastry all over the world, from Paris, Stockholm and St. Tropez, to Manhattan, in restaurants such as Windows on the World, the 21 Club and Aquavit. He has also been an instructor for the past 14 years at The Art Institute of New York, and has also taught at the French Culinary Institute and New York Technical College.

Chef Kaemmerle is intrigued by the burgeoning world of kosher food, and feels that there is a great opportunity for the kosher world to embrace classic French pastry. "There is not such a big concentration right now in kosher pastries, but this is going to get better and better as the education of the students improve," he said.

"It is a learning process and a wonderful challenge to work on the recipe substitutions necessary for kosher baking, but generally it is not very much and substitutions: margarine, rice milk, whipped topping... these all work well," said Chef Kaemmerle.

Based in Flatbush, Brooklyn, above a cookware store owned by Lubavitcher Jews, CKCA initially offered only recreational cooking, cake decorating and garnishing classes. However, many people who attended the classes requested professional training, so they could learn classic techniques and apply them in professional kosher environments. Until CKCA was established, the only way a kosher-keeping student could study the culinary arts in the United States was to attend a non-kosher program and rely on classmates to taste the food. CKCA is also one of the only ways a non-Jewish student learns the art of kosher cooking, in order to compete for an increasing number of jobs in kosher restaurants and catering.

Several experienced master chefs are on CKCA's permanent faculty as chef instructors, including Chef Avram Wiseman, formerly Executive Sous Chef at the United Nations and Chef Instructor at the Art Institute of New York, Chef Mark Hellermann, a veteran New York pastry chef and Chef Instructor at the New York Restaurant School, and Chef David Ritter, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, restaurant owner and Chef Instructor at the Art Institute of New York.

Over the past two years, approximately 125 individuals from numerous states and abroad have completed CKCA professional courses. Those who have desired internships have been placed, and many have found work through CKCA as well. Several grads have opened their own food-related businesses, and many have found commercial success working as personal chefs and caterers.

In the Professional Culinary Arts program, curriculum includes kashrut, food safety and sanitation lectures as well as preparation for NYC Dept of Health and ServSafe certifications. Class size in both Pro Culinary and Pro Baking and Pastry is limited to allow maximum individual attention.

Classes in kashrut are taught by Rabbi Zushe Blech, a world renowned authority on the intersection between halacha (Jewish law) and kosher food. Blech is the author of the landmark book, "Kosher Food Production."

For more information, visit, or call Jesse Blonder, CKCA Director, at 718.758.1339. There is also a website for the Pro-Baking program, visible at, and a website for the Culinary Arts program, visible at

CKCA is located at 1407 Coney Island Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11230.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Baby Spinach Salad with Balsamic Strawberries and Avocado

Strawberries are finally back in season, and nothing says “spring” like this refreshing sweet salad. Be sure to assemble this salad immediately prior to serving, to prevent the spinach from wilting.

The recipe is shared from the "Spring Salads" recreational class taught this past Sunday, May 23rd, by Naomi Ross. To see the full schedule of upcoming recreational classes, visit

Baby Spinach Salad with Balsamic Strawberries and Avocado

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

2-3 tbsp. sugar

1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced

1 pkg. baby spinach, washed and spun dry

1 ripe avocado, pit removed and thinly sliced (1/8” thick)

1/3 cup olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1-2 tbsp. sesame seeds, for garnish

Place vinegar and sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk to blend. Add sliced strawberries and turn to coat. Set aside to marinate for 20-30 minutes, turning once or twice.

Drain strawberries and transfer to separate bowl, reserving balsamic juices. Slowly drizzle olive oil into balsamic mixture, whisking continuously until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide spinach amongst individual salad plates. Place 3-4 slices of avocado decoratively over spinach, alternating with balsamic strawberries. Repeat with each salad plate. Spoon dressing over each salad, and garnish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds. Serve and enjoy.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Summer Classes in Kosher Culinary Arts

Love to cook? Spend your summer in culinary school!

Don't lay around bored this summer vacation! Instead, hone your understanding and practice of fundamental culinary technique, and develop an understanding of flavor and taste and appreciation for quality ingredients. And do all this in a glatt kosher environment with top instructors committed to helping you become the best chef you can be!

Our professional training program in culinary arts will be offered on two different schedules this summer:

July 5 - August 26
Monday - Friday
9 am - 1 pm

July 5 - August 26
Monday - Thursday
2 pm - 7 pm

For more information, call Jesse Blonder at CKCA, at 718-758-1339. Visit CKCA on the web at

Friday, April 30, 2010

Chef Ritter's Evening Pro Program Posts Highest Class Scores in CKCA History

The winter semester of Chef David Ritter's evening Professional Program in Culinary Arts amassed high test scores and an impressive level of commitment to the gastronomic arts. The class met three evening a week for a total of 150 hours, and ran from January to April 2010.

"They really were a sharp bunch, perhaps the best group we've ever had in terms of work ethic, intelligence and career motivation," said Jesse Blonder, CKCA's director.

Out of the eight students in the class, six of them received scores above the 90th percentile, and while one student withdrew due to professional culinary commitments, the lowest recorded grade was actually a high B+, Blonder said.

"This class was incredibly serious, working hard all the time," said the course instructor, Chef David Ritter, who has taught the Professional evening program four times since he joined CKCA in 2009. "Some students had side jobs and would push themselves to learn the material and get to class, even while Passover preparation had them working excessive hours."

"The student/class 'personality' seemed to mesh better than other classes I've had, and they all communicated with each other outside of class. Additionally, I received many e-mails throughout the semester with requests for recipes and help with catering events. These students were very serious, and were a pleasure to teach. At least half of them already work or are planning to work in the food industry in some capacity.

The students' exams for the semester included five quizzes relating to the material learned in each segment, and Servsafe, the food-service sanitation certificate program which awards a diploma from the National Restaurant Association, was taught throughout the semester as an ongoing lesson, with additional segments of classes dedicated to specific food safety chapters.

"My culinary final exam consisted of a 50-question test and a cooking practical, which were general overviews of the whole semester," said Ritter. The practical exam tests knife skills and a demonstration of the basic cooking technique of how to make an omelette. "My students did very well on these," said Ritter.

Additionally, "The Servsafe exam is a 90-question nationwide exam which the students felt they did very well on. I expect six to seven of the seven students who sat for it to pass this exam," Ritter said.

Four of the students are being placed in culinary apprenticeships through the CKCA Apprenticeship program.

Ritter mentioned that he continues to be contacted by former students through e-mail and cell phone, as they continue to have questions and request advice long after the class ends. As is the case with many chef instructors and student chefs, this relationship is often very important and influential for the student. "It is my pleasure to continue these relationships," said Ritter.

The excellence demonstrated by the class this semester is one of the reasons why CKCA is initiating a merit based scholarship competition this summer, called "The Next Kosher Chef." Visit for the details, which will be released within the next month.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Chanita Bar-Chaim Cooks Night and Day

Chanita Bar-Chaim, a soon-to-be graduate of the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts evening program in Culinary Arts, is already hard at work in "the biz," spending her days from 7am until 5pm at Basil, a "Pizza and Wine Bar" restaurant in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Born in Israel, Chanita grew up in Elizabeth, NJ, and went to high school in Providence, Rhode Island. While in Providence, Chanita worked throughout high school for a caterer who was educated in Culinary Arts at the famed Johnson & Wales University, and Chanita spent time doing prep work in the kitchen during her first year with the chef. After that, she helped set up presentations for veggie and fruit tables and did some waitressing, but the caterer soon noticed that Chanita had a eye for plating, and so was given more responsibility for plating and aesthetic presentation.

But cooking in Providence isn't the first time Chanita has been in a kitchen. "I can't remember a time when I didn't cook," she said.

Certainly she helped cook at home since age 12 with her Chabad-associated family, which includes three sisters and a brother, and she even volunteered to cook in her seminary during her year in Israel, making Shabbos dinners, banquets and even a big Thanksgiving for all the American girls in the seminary.

Since returning from Israel, Chanita has worked in retail bakeries locally and in a wholesale/retail bakery in Florida, and has been doing party platters and even larger catering jobs like her brother's Bar Mitzvah party.

At Basil, Chanita is very busy. "Right now, I am running the downstairs prep kitchen, and doing the salad and dessert station, and assisting all the other stations that need sauces or prep items. For the fish station, I fillet the fish and do all the prep for the tartare. I am also a mashgacha, so I check all the veggies," she said.

Looking forward, Chanita hopes to eventually open her own catering business.

Friday, April 9, 2010

CKCA Pro Courses Add Culinary Drills to Curriculum

In one of the first major changes to the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts Professional Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry Arts course curriculum, CKCA chef instructors will institute a series of Culinary Arts Training Drills built into the weekly schedule. Drills will be implemented in the Spring semester, beginning April 19th, 2010.

Culinary Arts Training Drills are 10 to 15 minute knife skill and instruction-following exercises designed to strengthen the student's skills, discipline and speed.

Drills will be held one to two days a week at the very beginning of class. The student must be on time in order to participate in the drills. Late students will not benefit from the education opportunity.

"Our aim is that these drills will help the students retain what they learn about using a knife and improve their knife skills overall so that they perform better when sent out on their apprenticeship," said Jesse Blonder, CKCA's director. These curriculum alterations, as well as other changes CKCA is making, are part of a move to provide a more professional and advanced class atmosphere, as per the interest of the many kosher-keeping students seeking a challenging and career-enhancing culinary school experience.

"Drills will help to show that our students are serious about the quality of the education they are receiving, and in turn, we are serious about producing students with highly marketable skills," said Blonder.

The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts, based in Flatbush, Brooklyn, offers 150-hour professional training programs in a kosher environment. To date, CKCA has graduated more than 125 students from all over the world.

Past students have come from 20 states as well as England, Mexico, Israel and France. This coming semester, CKCA is pleased to be welcoming three students from Panama and one student from Australia.

Classes start April 19th. For more information or to request an application, visit CKCA on the web at or call 718-758-1339.

Monday, March 22, 2010

CKCA's Top Tips for Passover Desserts

We recently published our latest piece on, called How to Become a Passover Superstar: Top Passover Dessert Ingredients and How to Use Them.

The article is here. Please enjoy!

We also have a recipe featured on for a delicious Pesach dessert called a Nutty Dacquoise, which is basically a sweetened meringue mixed with chopped nuts and baked until crisp, then frosted with ganache. You can get that recipe here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Join Us and Bring Out Your Inner Chef! New Semester Begins After Pesach!

The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts (CKCA) is proud to offer an new semester of professional level training programs in culinary arts. A full-time program is beginning immediately after Passover, on April 19, and the evening program begins April 25th.

The Culinary Arts certificate program at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts is the only kosher program of its kind in the US.

Classes are open to men and women ages 16 and above and appropriate for anyone who is passionate about food and looking to expand his or her culinary knowledge and skill set in an intensive, professional environment. For more about the school's environment, see this recent video made by CUNY.


We will be offering two sessions this April through June, before our summer semester:

Evening, part-time (150 hours)
Sun, Tues, Wed, Thurs
6:30 pm - 10:30 pm
April 24 - July 8

Day, full-time (150 hours, intensive)
Mon - Thurs
9 am - 1 pm
April 19th - June 24th

For more information and to request an application, contact Jesse Blonder at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts at 718-758-1339, or visit!

*** The amazing photo of Chef David Ritter was taken by Chaim Szmidt of Kosher Scene.

Monday, March 8, 2010

CKCA Video: CUNY Visits Center for Kosher Culinary Arts

Enjoy this awesome video of the CKCA professional program, taken in Spring 2009. Feel free to share it with friends who might be interested in the program!

The next semester starts right after Pesach. Contact Jesse at 718-758-1339 for more information or to request an application.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

CKCA Photo Contest Winner's Recipe: Elke Probkevitz's Chocolate Hamantaschen With Dark Chocolate Ganache

Congrats to Elke Probkevitz, who won this past week's hamantaschen photo contest. Her winning photo is above. Doesn't that look incredible?

Elke wins a spot in Naomi Ross's Pesach Sweets class, which will be given on March 14, 2010, from 10am-2pm. There is still a spot or two left, if you want to learn how to make flourless chocolate cake, delectable tarts and other yummy treats; and did we mention that it's all going to be non-gebrochts and kosher for Passover??

We are happy to report that Elke has shared her recipe for her delicious chocolate hamantaschen with dark chocolate ganache filling. Unfortunately, it's not kosher for Passover, but we hope you will enjoy it anyway (and hey, we should all remember to trot this one out next Purim!!).

Chocolate Hamentashen with Dark Chocolate Ganache


3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 ounces butter substitute, softened
1 egg
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3-4 Tablespoons heavy cream or soy creamer

8 1/2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
8 ounces heavy cream or soy creamer
(optional) 1 ounce dark rum
Dash salt

Cream butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix until incorporated. Combine flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Add to butter mixture in two stages, alternating with the heavy cream. More or less cream might be needed depending on the consistency of the dough. Turn dough out onto plastic wrap, and form a flattened disc. Chill for at least one hour.

To prepare filling: Over a double boiler (or Pyrex bowl over small pot of simmering water), heat cream and chopped chocolate. When chocolate is mostly melted, lightly whisk until ganache-filling is smooth and shiny. Whisk in salt (and rum, if using). Chill for several hours.

To form hamantaschen: Roll chilled chocolate dough to slightly more than 1/8 inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter or glass rim dipped in flour, cut circles of about 3 inches in diameter.

Remove ganache from fridge, and using either a small ice-cream scoop or by hand, form about 1 inch round balls and place in center of circles. Carefully fold in the edges to form a triangular shape, and pinch the corners to seal. Ensure there are no gaps or tears in the dough, to prevent filling from oozing out during baking.

Bake hamantaschen on greased cookie sheets at 350 F for about 15 minutes, until crust is baked through. Ganache will liquify during baking, but will set as the hamantaschen cool.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

CKCA Scouts Teaneck Restaurants for Externship Opportunities

CKCA left our comfortable, warm school in Brooklyn today to brave the rain and visit Teaneck, a city in New Jersey fifteen minutes from Manhattan, that has become a gastronomic paradise for the kosher consumer. Teaneck has been home for many years to a wide variety of kosher restaurants, but recently it has become noteworthy for culinary excellence in niche cuisines such as New American Cuisine, Tex-Mex barbeque, and French Patisserie, as well as baked goods.

We visited Teaneck because we plan to soon begin sending graduating CKCA students to Teaneck for externships, the second phase of their culinary education. Once they complete CKCA's 150-hour professional course, students have the option to then embark on a professional track of restaurant work for a six-week, 250-hour program in a professional food service environment. With the help of the CKCA director and input from the participating chefs and owners, CKCA places students at institutions that are a good fit with the students' skill sets. All of the restaurants we visited are certified kosher under the Rabbinical Council of Bergen County (RCBC).

For example, etc steakhouse, a chef-driven restaurant owned and operated by Institute for Culinary Education graduate Seth Warshaw, a former chef of Livingston, NJ-based Fumio, offers a high quality eclectic menu of New American Cuisine, including steaks as well exciting specialty dishes such as gnocchi, risotto and sweetbreads. When we came in today, he was making a sage and walnut pesto, and we had a wonderful discussion with him regarding his classic influences and his experiences, and the opportunities he could provide to a student interested in working with him to help create gourmet cuisine.

Mocha Bleu, a dairy and pareve French patisserie, is considering taking on a baking & pastry extern, who would have the privilege of working under the France-trained pastry chef Raphael and owner Naftali Abenaim. Raphael makes all sorts of beautiful and delectable pareve bavarians, tarts and macaroons, but perhaps his most celebrated specialty is brioche and croissants. It is difficult to know if there is a better kosher pareve brioche available in the country. We certainly think this is the best we have ever had outside of Paris.

We also spent some time with Joe Kessler-Godin (above) of Smokey Joe's Barbeque. Smokey Joe's is the only authentic, wood-fired, slow-cooked, pit smoked, glatt kosher bbq restaurant in the world. It also serves a pleasing array of Tex-Mex specialties, and he has recently begun a successful series of live music Saturday evenings that bring in the crowds. Our lunch at Smokey Joe's featured the smoked-for-12-hours signature brisket and what Joe promised us would be "the best chicken we have ever had." Now, we've eaten lots of chicken, so we were kind of reticent to believe what he said, but we kind of just have to agree with Joe. If you go there, be sure to get the "succulent, slow roasted half chicken with Smokey Joe's secret bbq rub." It is not to be missed. You will thank us (and Joe!)

We also had the pleasure of meeting with Clark Loffman, owner of Fish of the C's, a dairy fish restaurant which is inspired by California-native Clark's love of fresh fish, a simple yet consistantly delicious menu, and great chowders. In addition to serving English-pub-grub style fish and chips, salads and fish served grilled, blackened, fried or baked, Fish of the C's uses their own fish stock to make a New England style fish chowder and a Manhattan style fish chowder. We tried the Manhattan chowder, which was made with chunks of delicious salmon, and it was truly excellent. We can't wait to go back for the New England Fish Chowder, as we heard it's even better, and that's just hard to believe.

We also visted with Saul Kirschenbaum of the Pasta Factory. We enjoyed doing a drive-by of a place that we've visited to eat and celebrate smachot many times (Liz had her first sheva brachot at the Pasta Factory!), appreciating their reliably delicious continental fleishig cuisine. It was also interesting to note that the Pasta Factory is the only kosher restaurant in Teaneck with a liquor license, as New Jersey laws regarding serving liquor require that restaurants buy an existing license for a very high fee. All in all, Saul was very positive, and we are honored that the Pasta Factory is willing to work with us to help train an extern.

Our last stop of the day was to visit with Richie Heisler, owner and chief baker at the famed bakery Butterflake. We caught Butterflake as it was in the middle of baking 10,000 of the hamantaschen they will make in the week preceeding Purim. We had a wonderful tour, and Richie, coming from a long line of bakers, gave us the benefit of his extensive knowledge of the business side of baking. Not only was it incredibly fun to see piles and piles of pareve buttercream mixing in SmartCar-sized mixing bowls (above), we had a wonderful time checking out Butterflake's impressive industrial ovens (below).

An extern at Butterflake would have to work hard, but we are sure it would be a career-making experience to work under an industry leader such as Richie Heisler. We hope he will come to CKCA someday to give a lecture on the business side of bakeries. We would be learning from the best.

All in all, CKCA's visit to Teaneck resulted in lots of contacts made and universally good discussions regarding potential externships for our students. We are looking forward to talking with our students about their interests regarding these and other available externships after Pesach! Until then, we wish everyone a Freylichen Purim!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Benzion Futerfas Hangs Out His Culinary Shingle

Benzion Futerfas, a Crown Heights-based Fall '09 graduate of the CKCA Pro Program in Culinary Arts and a student of Chef David Ritter, has opened his own catering business, specializing in beautiful kosher platters for special occasions. "Creative Platters by Bentzi," delivers kosher platters for an array of events, such as bar or bat mitzvahs, brisim, sheva brachot, shalom zachors, lechaims, etc.

Creative Platters by Bentzi can be reached at 508-554-4569, or by email at The business is located in Crown Heights, but delivery is possible (with enough notice) throughout the tri-state area.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Polina Kallush Lands First Chef Post at Max and David's

Polina Kallush (center, holding the Chef's knife), a recent December '09 graduate of the Culinary Arts professional program and a student of Chef David Ritter, has landed her first culinary job at the upscale kosher eatery Max and David's, located in Elkins Park, Penn. Max and David's serves American food and international cuisine: steaks, burgers and specialty dishes. Polina, who lives in nearby Philadelphia, had long hoped to work there. Max and David's, which has a Zagat rating and was named a Zagat "Noteworthy Newcomer" in 2008, is widely considered to be the most gourmet kosher restaurant in the metropolitan area, boasting a stunning open kitchen (the chefs cook on display, in front of the diners), and an eclectic, exciting menu.

"I knew that as part of the CKCA pro program, I was going to need to find a place to work as an apprentice, and because it was such a long drive to Brooklyn from Philly three times a week, I asked Jesse [CKCA director] to ask Max and David's if they would be interested in taking on an apprentice," Polina said. "Instead, several days later, Jesse called me into the office and reported that before he had had a chance to call them, Max and David's had called him. They were looking for a chef."

CKCA runs a Chef's Network program for kosher restaurants, institutions and catering companies, which seeks to match up CKCA graduates with companies needing talented chefs. CKCA also posts public job listings for kosher chefs on its website at

Polina interviewed for the job at Max and David's and she said there was an immediate feeling of comfort that she had the requisite skills for the job and that Max and David's would be a wonderful place for her to learn, grow and excel as a chef. She started in January as a Max and David's mashgacha and chef, working under executive chef Tommy and another prominent chef, Matt Segal, who was a competitor on the fourth season of the television show Hell's Kitchen. Working with talented chefs is an opportunity that Polina said is a very valuable part of her continuing education.

Polina spends a significant portion of her day checking vegetables and surveying ingredients as part of her mashgacha duties. Max and David's is certified under Community Kashrus of Greater Philadelphia, which is associated with the Star-K. Rabbi Dov Brisman, one of the rabbis from the certifying organization who works regularly with Max and David's, also has an interesting connection to CKCA. Thirty years ago, he was the chavrusa (study partner) of Rabbi Zushe Blech, CKCA kashrus instructor, who played a big part in Polina's mashgacha education at CKCA. "Rabbi Blech is a wonderful teacher," she said.

As for Polina's cooking, she is currently working the Gard Manger station, preparing salads and some desserts, and she has also begun cooking for the staff. The staff and owners liked her dishes so much that one of them is going on the menu. Polina joked that the chef who worked the grill informed her that he likes her food so much that he plans to move into the spare room at her house. But Polina's husband and three sons (ages 21, 17 and 9) may have a problem with that!

Also, as of last week Polina has begun to prepare the restaurant's regularly offered chicken soup appetizer.

Polina said her most difficult challenges so far have been "figuring out which plates go with which salads," and the like, but she now feels that she is in the zone and doing well. She felt that the CKCA pro program well prepared her to work in a professional kitchen, and that she got more out of the program than she expected.

"I have profound gratitude to CKCA, because it gave me what I needed as a start. Everything else will come with training at the restaurant, because each place needs to train people to their own needs and specifications."

Max and Davids, owned by Robin and Steven Katz, the Delaware Valley's only destination kosher restaurant, ( is located at 8120 Old York Road, 150 Yorktown Plaza, Elkins Park, PA 19027 Phone: 215.885.2400. Max and David's also does catering for special events.