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.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

CKCA Presents the 6th Annual Kosherfest Iron Chef Competition

This year’s Kosherfest Iron Chef Competition promises to be more intense than ever!  Now in its 6th year, the stakes are high as Kosher chefs from some of the top restaurants compete for the coveted champion's trophy and grand prize of $1000!

We hope to see you at this unique event as part of the Kosherfest Expo, on Wednesday, October 30th, 12:10 - 1:40PM.  Creative juices are flowing and culinary experts, foodies and fans will be watching closely as our esteemed judges determine who will the the Champion Kosher Iron Chef for 2013!

The Challenge...

The chefs will be presented with a basket of secret ingredients. In honor of Kosherfest's 25th anniversary, this year's competition theme is Kosherfest, Then and Now. The basket will feature products representative of the early days of the show as well as more modern, contemporary products. The chefs will also be given top quality produce, meat, and other fresh ingredients. The chefs will have 30 minutes to create an entree from the contents of the basket and will be scored on taste, creativity and presentation.  

Our Host; Jamie Geller...
We are delighted to have Jamie Geller as our host for the competition this year! Jamie is of course the best selling cookbook author behind the Quick and Kosher series of books and the founder of Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller magazine and Her latest book, Joy of Kosher: Fast, Fresh, Family Recipes was recently published and is sure to be a best seller as well. 

Our Sponsor
; Jack's Gourmet...
The competition will be sponsored for the third year in a row by Jack's Gourmet, who will also be exhibiting at the show. Jack's produces some of the highest quality deli meats, prepared sausages, and sausage blends available in the kosher market today. Chef Jack Silberstein, co-founder of Jack's Gourmet will be serving as a judge for the competition as well. 

Our Esteemed Panel of Judges…

* Philippe Kaemmerle, Chef / Instructor, The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts
* Jack Silberstein, Owner, Jack’s Gourmet Sausages
* Roberta Scher, Co-founder and Managing Editor,

The Competitors...
David Teyf, Lox Cafe at The Jewish Museum, NYC:
David Teyf is the chef and owner of The Lox café on New York City’s prestigious museum mile on 5th Avenue. David comes from a family with nearly a century of epicurean experience. His grandfather, a well-known Matzoh baker, exposed David at an early age to the sights and scents of the professional food business. David has lived in Italy and received professional Japanese culinary training. His favorite ingredients are fresh fish, and local produce.  He describes 
 his cuisine as a unique marriage of familiar old world tastes and traditional favorites with modern twists and accents.

Casey Colaneri, Execuive Chef, Sushi Metsuyan, Teaneck, New Jersey and Monsey, New York:
Casey Colaneri, executive chef of the Sushi Metsuyan family of restaurants, received his culinary training from renowned Johnson & Wales University, from where he graduated magna cum laude in 2009.  Despite his young age, Casey has already worked as a chef in a diverse collection of restaurants in Ireland, Italy, Arizona, New Jersey and New York City. His cuisine is inspired by the flavors of Italy and Asia and considers kosher cooking to be his career's most exciting challenge thus far.

Jose Soto, Executive Chef, Basil Restaurant, Brooklyn, NY: Chef José Soto is the executive chef of the acclaimed Basil restaurant in Brooklyn, NY. Chef Soto has been cooking for more than 20 years in New York City's finest restaurants. He started his culinary career at the great Savoy restaurant in Soho, a training ground for several award winning chefs. From there he brought his talent to many other great restaurants including, Diner, Marlow and Sons, Oznot's Dish, Chestnut,  Le Barricou and Franny's. Basil is Chef Soto’s first foray in to kosher cooking, thinking of it as a home coming, since the restaurant Crown Heights location is where he grew up. 
Kosherfest will take place on October 29th and 30th at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ. For more information about the show, visit 

We hope to see you there! 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bucharest's Bagel Frenzy! CKCA Teaches Romanian Entepreneurs the Art of Making New York Bagels!

A Fair Amount of "Chew"!

Imagine a food truck on the corner of one of the busiest street in Bucharest, Romania, selling New York Bagels.  Really?  Holy Bagels!  From the hills of the Transylvania to southern Romania's hub in Bucharest there was not a  bagel to be found and so our story begins....

A team of Romanian entrepreneurs looking to add bagels as a novelty menu item to round out their breakfast and lunch choices chose CKCA to teach everything bagels and bialys to boot.  Entrepreneurs, Alexandru Petrescu and Ioan Rusu intensely researched our country’s finest bagel bakeries and culinary schools and with CKCA as their training ground we are making bagel history in Romania.  It was especially exciting for CKCA to be a contributor to Romanian Culinary history with much of our Kosher community's roots stemming from Eastern Europe.  

Upon arrival to the United States, our Romanian friends visited and sampled bagels at many of New York's famous eateries and markets to determine the qualities they favored the most. They decided that a crust of medium thickness and good amount of “chew”, along with whole grain options would be most appealing for the launch of their signature bagels. 

Bialy Blast!
Lynn Kutner, our resident expert on all things bread, ran an intense session, tackling bagel and bialy making from start to finish. Sweating through  four hours of rolling, baking and tasting, Alexandru and Loan were thrilled with their new skills and left for home with a flavorful variety of samples to take home and the plan to launch Bucharest’s bagel frenzy.

We at CKCA wish Alexandru and Loan  the best of luck with their bagel adventure and we will surely keep you posted on their progress. 

Bagel Bootcamp at CKCA

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Top 4 Reasons to Take the Pro-Culinary Arts Program!

Pro-Culinary Arts Program Starts Soon -- for your Career or for Passionate Foodies!

1. Convenient Part-Time Evening Hours
Our evening program is only 3 nights per week and starts late enough for those who work or go to school to attend. 

2. New Expanded Curriculum
With 12 new classes our program is more comprehensive than ever. The program will now include the following:

- A new unit on Charcuterie which includes sausage making, smoking, curing, pickling and more
- Expanded unit on banquet preparation and presentation
- Expanded unit on appetizers and
hors d'oeuvres 
 - A new unit on commercial cooking for Shabbat and Yom Tov
- A new unit on Asian Cuisine

3. We are a direct pipeline in to the food business
As a student you will automatically tap in to our extensive network of restaurants, caterers, schools, camps, and others who rely on CKCA for their employment needs

4. Only Kosher Program in US
And of course, we are the only full-time kosher cooking school in the country!

For more information:
Click here for more information

Space Is Limited! 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Enter Your Best Pesach Dessert in CKCA's New Recipe Contest!

CKCA is on the hunt for our community's greatest Pesach desserts recipes! From nutty to chocolately, from fruity to icy, we know there's a lot of delicious things in store for us this Pesach. If you make something delectable on Pesach, we want to know about it. Email your recipe to by March 14, and we will select 10 finalists, ask them to submit a picture of their completed dessert, and put it to our Facebook fans for a vote. There will be two winners: One non-Gebrochts dessert and one Gebrochts. Both winners will receive bragging rights, a $75 gift certificate toward classes at CKCA, and the recipes will be featured on our website and published in our Pesach recipe newsletter.

For continual updates on CKCA's Pesach Desserts Recipe contest, make sure to "like" us on Facebook, and sign up to receive our recipe newsletters by visiting and enter your email address in the top right-hand corner. 

And if you want to learn to create amazing Pesach desserts this year, then sign up for CKCA's Pesach desserts class on March 10! Click here for more info

***CKCA reserves the right to edit recipes for spelling and grammar, and will do our best to ensure that all recipe ingredients adhere to strict kosher for Passover standards before publishing. One recipe may be submitted per person.***

Monday, February 18, 2013

Top Three Reasons To Take CKCA Pro Class in the Spring!

Our professional training program in culinary arts is 152 hours of hands-on training in professional level culinary skills & techniques. 

Our professional training program in baking & pastry arts is 152 hours of hands-on training in the fundamental skills & techniques of the bakeshop. 

Spring Semester Dates
April 8 to June 6th, 2013
Culinary Arts: Monday through Friday, 9am to 1pm
Baking & Pastry Arts: Monday through Thursday, 2pm to 6pm

We offer these courses four times a year, but the best time the take them is in the Spring. And here's why!

Smaller Class Size

3. Smaller class size = more personal attention. Summer and Fall our the most popular times of the year and therefore the busiest semesters. The spring is quieter and therefore class sizes are smaller. You get more personal attention from the same amazing chef instructors. 

Perfect Cooking Weather

2. The kitchen is a hot place, especially in the summer. Learning to cook during a temperate time of year is more comfortable! It's a great time to be in NYC as well; not too hot or humid. 

Spring Produce

1. The freshest vegetables and herbs come to market at this time of year. Only Spring semester students get the chance to work with such top-notch, local products. 

Follow this link for admissions information for the Spring Semester, which begins April 8th, and apply now! Don't miss this amazing opportunity! It only comes once a year!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Makin' Facon on Date Night

Facon; beauty shot courtesy of Jack's Gourmet.

Ahh, Bacon.... 

 Many a kosher foodie, ba'al Teshuvah, and the like have longed for its smokey, salty goodness and mourned its absence from the kosher table, sighing every time a recipe insisted on its inclusion. Pine no more friends, a worthy substitute has finally arrived. 

Please welcome FACON by Jack's Gourmet. Previous bacon wannabees have by all accounts fallen short in taste, texture, and appearance. Turkey bacon; too lean, no texture. Beef fry; nothing more than fatty corned beef or pastrami. Vegetarian bacon; give me a break. If all others have failed, why has Jack's succeeded? 

 Jack's Genius 

 First, there's the meat. Facon is beef. But not just any beef. This is beef cut from the part of the steer that is the anatomical equivalent of pork belly which is the part of the pig that bacon is made from. This beefy cut is streaked with fatty goodness, just like bacon, which renders when cooked allowing the meat to cook up nice and crisp. Second, Facon is prepared just like the real thing. It is dry cured with salt and sugar and flavored with smoke. Jack's blend has captured the salty, smoky balance that bacon is relished for. The bottom line is, Facon looks, tastes, and cooks like the real thing (or so we've been told by several reliable authorities). So much so that kosher restaurant chefs have been gobbling it up in wholesale, slab form for all types of inspired, chef worthy applications. (Jack's was completely sold out of the slab when we placed our order.) 

 Facon Meets Date Night 

We decided to have fun with Facon in our own way; by experimenting on unsuspecting Date Night participants! For the uninitiated, Date Night Couples Competition is our Chopped style culinary competition class for couples. One of our most popular classes, Date Night challenges couples to create an inspired entree from a basket of secret ingredients. On this special night the basket included; chicken breast, green lentils, oranges, swiss chard, and of course, Facon. We were highly impressed with the creative applications the students came up for the Facon; cooked crisp and crumbled on top of a salad, braised with greens, incorporated into a stuffing for the chicken... Ironically, several of the couples present this evening happened to be non-kosher keeping. All of them said the same thing; Facon tastes likes the real thing!

Here's a few highlights:
Lentils braised with facon

 Squash & Swiss Chard salad with crumbled Facon

Chicken stuffed with mustard & Facon stuffing

Facon, by Jack's Gourmet is now available in kosher retail outlets across the country. For more information about Facon or any of Jack's Gourmet's other products, visit their website.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

CKCA Debuts Cupcake Wars Competition at Stern College

The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts this week was pleased to help Manhattan's Stern College for Women stage a Cupcake Wars competition as part of an orientation program for the incoming class of students. 

50 young women participated, competing in teams of four. Chef Avram Wiseman, CKCA's Dean of Students and Head Culinary Arts Instructor, acted as Master of Ceremonies, while Chef Philippe Kaemmerle, CKCA's lead Pastry Instructor, gave a brief demonstration on how to use a piping bag and provided a tutorial in basic cupcake decorating technique. (Chef Kaemmerle regularly gives classes on Sundays such as Sophisticated Cupcakes, Cake Pops, and Cake in a Jar, and information about those classes can be found by clicking on the links.)

The teams then had 30 minutes to decorate their own cupcakes as a team according to a theme. Our judges then scored them based on presentation and creativity. The winners (pictured above, with CKCA Chef Instructors) each received $25 off classes at CKCA. 

The event gained rave reviews from both students and organizers, and CKCA plans to repeat the Cupcake Wars Competition in other locations, for both schools and charity-event purposes. If you are interested in bringing Cupcake Wars to your campus or synagogue, contact CKCA at 718-758-1339. 

Below, enjoy some pictures of the winning cupcakes and the competition in action.