Kosher planning for your next corporate or social event
If you’re gearing up for a Jewish wedding, bar or bat mitzvah, a party or your next corporate event and your guests want to observe kosher requirements, it’s important to plan down to the smallest details and find a caterer with experience and creativity to ensure your event goes off without a hitch. We've put together a few top tips for planning your next Jewish kosher event so you make the best decisions.
What is kosher?
Before finding a venue, choosing a theme, drafting up a guest list and choosing a caterer for your event, make sure you understand the world of kosher. Kosher (also kashrut) is a set of dietary laws adhered to by most Jewish participants. Allowable food has been termed kosher in English, from the Hebrew word meaning “fit” (for consumption).
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For foods to be considered kosher, and therefore allowable at a Jewish event, they must comply with certain rules. Listed below are the rules of kosher according to halakha (Jewish law), keeping in mind many Jews today do not participate in such traditional views of kosher eating.
Meat: for meat to be considered “clean” it must be cattle or game that have a cloven hoof and which chews the cud, as per traditional Jewish beliefs. Judaism also observes certain cleaning practices which must be undertaken for meat to be truly kosher. Only birds that are traditionally considered kosher, such as the goose, duck, chicken, and turkey, may be eaten.
Dairy: all dairy products must come from kosher animals.
Eggs: eggs are permitted so long as they come from kosher birds. As they must not contain blood, some strict followers will inspect each egg before use.
Fish: only fish with scales and fins are kosher.
Fruits and vegetables: all fruits and vegetables are considered kosher.
Wine and other beverages: wine must be treated in compliance with halakha during the processing steps. Kosher wines will always be labelled. If you can't find any kosher wines at your local winery, you might want to consider importing. Keeping with kosher is especially important if you are going to be serving alcohol at your event. Other beverages must of course be in keeping with halakha. Drinks manufactured from grapes may only be drunk if they have undergone the same kosher process as wine.
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Have a food plan
When working with so many food restrictions, it's important to have a clear plan of attack for your event. Firstly, find out what your guests want to eat! Some kosher foods can be bland due to the limited amount of allowable foods, however, don't forget there are many kinds of kosher foods; kosher sushi, kosher Indian food, kosher Italian food. Of course, these dishes may not be completely authentic because they lack some ingredients, but there are always substitutes. Your caterer can help you come up with a menu that will please everyone.
Choosing a caterer
Choosing a caterer to work with you on your Jewish event is one of the most important decisions you’ll need to make during the planning process. Not all catering companies will have experience in catering for kosher events, so do your research and ask around for recommendations. A good idea is to create a list of recommended caterers, meet with them and ask them some questions:
- Has the caterer provided for a kosher event before? Do they know the specific requirements and preparation techniques?
- Can the caterer accommodate for the Jewish diet? A creative caterer should be able to develop an interesting and delicious menu without including certain meats and drinks.
- Can the caterer provide a list of ingredients for each meal? Guests will appreciate if this is clearly printed on each menu.
Answers to these questions can help you gauge the skill and flexibility of your potential caterer, giving you some peace of mind regarding food for your event.
Above all, when planning a Jewish event - whether it's a birthday, wedding, religious event or even a family celebration - understand Jewish customs so that your guests will feel at home. Hire a creative and professional team to ensure pulling off the event will be a piece of cake!
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At Laissez, helping our customers with appropriate menu selections that cater to the many dietary needs of guests is a key part of the planning process, and something we have years of experience with. If you'd like help planning your next event please contact us to discuss your needs further.