Johannesburg, SA…by Alan Gale…The sudden closure of Gary Friedman Caterers, one of Johannesburg’s largest and much-beloved kosher caterers, has left the community in shock and shone a spotlight on a troubled industry dramatically affected by the pandemic, reports the Jewish Report.
Just after noon on Tuesday, July 6th, Gary Friedman and his wife, Tamara, dropped the bombshell in a letter to all their clients and suppliers explaining that their company was no longer able to weather the storm of COVID-19. Several caterers and kosher suppliers expressed genuine sadness, perhaps seeing themselves reflected in the mirror of his company’s demise. “I was devastated when I heard the news,” said trained chef and caterer Hayley Hack. “Gary is such a good, kind man.”
Long-time caterer Estelle Sacharowitz of Love is in the Kitchen said she was “heartbroken” when she heard about Friedman. “He has an incredible legacy. This is a sad loss for the industry,” she said. Ian Isenberg, of Spice Premium Biltong & Butchery said, “Gary is the ultimate mensch in the industry. He gave me a chance as a newcomer, and even when the chips were down for him, he still helped to cater a wedding for a couple who couldn’t afford it. He did a lot for the community and his staff. This is a huge loss.” Rabbi Dovi Goldstein, the managing director of kashrut at the Beth Din, said the closure of Gary Friedman Caterers had come as a “huge blow to all of us”.