March 23, 2015

But What About the Mashgiach?

Rabbi Shmuel, someone I know from my neighborhood, is a mashgiach (kosher supervisor) at a local restaurant. Imagine his surprise when I went into the kitchen to compliment the chef on a truly creative dish. I first complimented the owner who suggested that I might want to shower the accolades on the chef directly. After praising and thanking the chef, I chatted with the mashgiach who in our conversation said the following: “It is really nice that you came into the kitchen to thank the chef and that happens quite frequently with other food mavens who do the same.” So, I wondered what the punch line might be.  Here goes: “You would think that people that care about kashrus standards would come in here to talk to me and maybe, just maybe, say a thank you, but no, it’s a straight dash to the chef.” He did admit that on occasion a waiter will ask him to go into the eating area to discuss kashrus with a customer.

So is there a message here? There just might be. Checking out the kashrus? Maybe more people should and not think of kashrus as an automatic, but most people simply trust the symbol that offers the certification. Saying thank you to the mashgiach? Now there’s an idea that may have some merit, since mashgichim work long hours in less than ideal conditions (i.e. hot kitchen) and certainly would like to know that they are appreciated. Now there’s a thankless job!