September 16, 2020

Did UAE-Israel Peace Really Begin at Kosherfest 2019?

Dubai…When Elli Kriel made history at last November’s Kosherfest by having the first kosher booth from the United Arab Emirates, little did she know that less than nine months later the country she now calls home would make peace with Israel. Her husband and partner Ross put it this way: “Kosherfest was a wonderful moment for Elli and her brand. Her meetings with you (Menachem Lubinsky), Amb Shaham, Rabbi Genack, Joel Weinberger and others strongly validated Kosherfest as a platform. A key point to mention is the generosity of Star-K to Elli.” Ross goes on to predict a bright future for kosher in the UAE: “As I'm sure you can imagine; ELLI and I have some wonderful plans for kosher in the UAE which we hope to be able to share in time to come.”

The benefits of the new peace agreement are already surfacing for Ross and Elli. The Habtoor Hospitality hotels in the United Arab Emirates will partner with Ellis Kosher Kitchen to offer kosher food to Jewish guests, the Khaleej Times reported. Among the list of hotels offering kosher cuisine are the Hilton Dubai, V Hotel, Habtoor Palace Dubai, LXR Hotel and Resorts, Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection LLC, Metropolitan Hotel, and Habtoor Polo Resort, the site said.

Guests requesting kosher food will be able to choose from a selection of tailored menus.

All food will be packaged and sealed with an OU-certified stamp, allowing kosher guests to feel comfortable and assured of their food's status. Ellie’s specialty is moussaka, a typical Greek dish, and of her children’s favorites. “It is a very comforting and nourishing dish and I make the vegetarian version which consists of layers of potato, fried eggplant, rich tomato sauce, followed by béchamel sauce and cheese.”

At Kosherfest, Ellis Kosher Kitchen, founded by Ellie Kriel, showcased some of her creative dishes from the area and beyond. Elli is a South African woman living in Dubai with her family. After having received repeated requests for kosher food over the past 6 years while living in Dubai, Elli started Elli’s Kosher Kitchen to provide fresh, wholesome, homemade kosher meals to travelers. Elli’s Kosher Kitchen is Dubai’s first and only homegrown kosher food establishment in the United Arab Emirates. She is the mother of 3 children between the ages of 10 and 19 years. Ross is the driving force in establishing a Jewish community in Dubai. He is the first President of the JCE, which is also the first new Jewish community in the Middle East (outside of Israel) for centuries.