How caterers adapted as demand for home-delivered kosher food skyrocketed
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How caterers adapted as demand for home-delivered kosher food skyrocketed

Louisa Walters catches up with four kosher food suppliers doing the home run in the heat of the pandemic

Louisa Walters is a features writer

Ben Tenenblat

Ben Tenenblat’s initial reaction was to ride out the lockdown.

Forty-eight hours later, a team meeting made him realise they had to adapt now or run the risk of losing a business that has built up a fantastic reputation.

Given that people’s Passover holidays were not going to happen, they decided to kosher the kitchens for Pesach for the first time and offer a takeaway service. 

Ben also offered KLP food to frontline NHS workers to take into hospital
to eat on their shift, totally free of charge.  

Steak Paella

It was rushed, but it worked well.

After the holiday, they built a website offering fresh produce, fish, meat, baked goods and cooked meals.

Ben Tenenblat (Credit: Blake Ezra)

They are continually adapting and changing the menus, but beef Wellington has become a firm favourite, selling 100 a week, so it’s a mainstay.

Lamb tagine, fish pie and salt beef hash are popular and there’s a range of arancini and spring rolls.  

Ben also purchased an American stainless-steel airstream and set up a company called CRAVE, which offers gourmet street food from the trailer and on Deliveroo.

“I knew I needed to keep the brand alive and keep my team working. When we come out of this, I will need them as strong as ever,” says Ben.

www.ben-tenenblat.com or 020 8205 0463

Arrancini balls with radicchio and walnuts

 

Feast

Last March, Feast had more than 100 bookings

Ed Shaerf

in the diary for the year ahead and was just a few weeks away from catering Pesach in Crete for 600 guests at a five-star resort.

When lockdown hit, founder Ed Shaerf was confident that it would be temporary and therefore didn’t think about adapting. Four weeks later, he changed his mind.

Feast decided to offer home delivery every Friday and Sunday and buy a food truck to hit the road. The company then expanded into simcha boxes delivered to hundreds of guests. 

Feast burger!

“We had to learn quickly. We kept the packaging basic to allow us to provide large amounts of high-quality food without wasting money on pretty boxes.

“One issue in the first few weeks was estimating the amount of time it takes to deliver. When you start getting phone calls an hour before Shabbat asking where the delivery is, you know you’re cutting it fine.”

Ed feels that home delivery has become a saturated market and now offers bespoke home delivery ranging from 10-course tasting menus to a special meal for a wedding proposal. 

This month, Feast launches Social Square, a dark kitchen delivering food all over north London.

Feast-Tuna Tostada – marinated raw tuna – avo – chipotle mayo – crispy leeks – lime

On the menu is choripan, a homemade chorizo in a sub roll with chimichurri and salsa fresca – a dish served outside every football stadium in Mexico and Argentina.

Ed’s favourite is the sous vide turkey, cranberry slaw, crispy chicken skin in a challah roll. There’s also Feast’s famous burger and bbq meatloaf sliders topped with paprika crispy onions and jalapeno mayo.

“The menu is so diverse that there is something for everyone, most of which has never been offered in a kosher form,” says Ed.

www.kosherfeast.com, 0161 834 8844

 

Jasmine catering

Jonathan Robinson

Jonathan Robinson at Jasmine Catering is not ashamed to admit that his first thought when we went into lockdown last March was ‘HELP!’

With weddings, barmitzvahs, celebrations and charity events cancelled at a moment’s notice, the kosher catering industry was facing, in the words of that song in  Les Mis, empty chairs and empty tables – for many months to come.

Jonathan’s sister-in-law in America gave him the  idea of delivering Seder in a Box and, having done Pesach  home delivery on a small scale for the past few years, he quickly realised there was an opportunity out there and that people still needed food.

Jasmine bagels

“The challenge was to work out how  to deliver food that looks appetising in a box and tastes good after travelling,” he says.

Within a week, Jonathan had a full delivery service set up. Jasmine’s offering of Shabbat meals, meals for special occasions and families celebrating bar and batmitzvot has been in big demand.

The Shabbat set menu, duck, asado  ribs and slow-cooked lamb fillets are the most popular items.  Salt beef boxes and shawarma boxes are also great options.

Earlier this month, they did a one-night Indian pop-up.  Portion sizes are good, the food comes nicely packaged,  it looks appetising and it all reheats very easily.

www.jasmine-catering.co.uk, 07476 217948

Jasmine catering

 

READ THE FOOD SUPPLEMENT HERE! 

Read the food supplement here!

 

Blue Goose

David Scott

David Scott at Blue Goose (unsupervised) really thought he’d have to hang up his apron last year. He took off a few weeks to think about the next step and then drew up plans to offer people something that would remain relevant for the next year with the ability to freshen things up when needed.

“If Blue Goose were to stop trading for too long, I would have been in danger of losing my reputation and would have had to start from scratch,” says David.

“Furloughing myself was not the solution – I needed to get back in the kitchen and get the company active. Demand has never been higher for home delivered food – I have never experienced such a consistent flow of enquiries.”

David says that ensuring the food can be eaten as fresh as possible and with all the right textures and flavours intact is key.

Blue Goose pavlova

“Delivering hot food was a big no-no, as the food suffers as soon as the container lid is shut. I offer freshly-cooked food that is quickly chilled and packaged properly, with heating instructions so the dish can be brought back to life and eaten at its best.”

The à la carte menu has an assortment of meats, fish, salads, sides and desserts. The three-course set menus are ideal for special occasions and for those who want more of a restaurant experience in their home.

Blue Goose-Rosemary and garlic pulled lamb shoulder in a sticky glaze with pomegranates, toasted almond and fresh herbs

The fine dining menu is by far the most popular and contains David’s signature Beef Wellington, served with fondant potatoes, grilled asparagus, glazed carrots and a red wine sauce.

Sweet and sticky apple tarte tatin is the ultimate dream dessert. Wild mushroom and truffle arancini with a truffle mayo are often requested.

www.bluegoose.london, 07717 748107

 

Wine recommendations from Kedem

Benjamin Gestetner at Kedem suggests enhancing your at-home dining experience with kosher wine. Château Signac, Domaine Ternynck Pinot Noir or Herzog Lineage Pinot Noir would go beautifully with Beef Wellington and other heavier meat dishes.

For the spicier stuff, such as asado ribs or choripan, try a Matar Stratus, Alexander Cabernet Franc or Tishbi Estate Single Vineyard Malbec. Goose Bay Sauvignon Blanc, J Villebois Pouilly Fumé or Herzog Special Reserve Russian River Chardonnay are the perfect accompaniment  to fish dishes, while with a salt beef nosh-up, you need Segal’s Fusion Red, Five Stones DvsG Red or Terra Di Seta Chianti.

Pouilly fume and Segal fusion
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