June 9, 2014

My 20-Year Old Gourmet Kosher Chef

Idele barely turned twenty and is married just 8 months, but her family already considers her a gourmet chef. She has a collection of more than a dozen kosher cookbooks (some of which she received as gifts for her engagement), follows the food pages of Binah, Ami and Mishpacha and is fond of entertaining not her only her family but her husband Shaya’s friends. Her mother can’t help but recall her own genesis as a cook, having barely learned to cook from her mother, but she concedes “it was nothing fancy; just the basics.”

In her repertoire were such foods as chicken soup, roasted chicken, kugel and cholent, she says. Not so for her daughter Idele who is busy decorating an almond covered and honey glazed chicken with a decorated plate of some zucchini and more; in short a presentation fit for a high-end restaurant. I should know- my daughters are also into this new world of housewives turned gourmet chefs, to enjoy and impress. For the new kosher super stores, the challenge is to cater to the new generation of chefs (it would be an insult to call them cooks) by stocking ingredients, offering ready to cook high end meat and fish products and more.

Just so we all understand, we are no longer speaking about the gefilte fish generation, although preparing the frozen loaves in a special way is also part of the new skill set that is having an enormous impact on the kosher food industry. Nowadays these chefs are preparing sushi, enhancing poultry and meats, utilizing new cutting edge sauces, creating captivating salads and then comes the world of desserts with its endless possibilities. Idele admits that ever so often she surprises her young husband with a dinner he would expect at a high-end restaurant. And lest grandma thinks that Idele spends her days as a gourmet chef, she would be surprised to learn that this 20-year old is in college and holding down a part-time job. She would also be shocked that her granddaughter shares some of her skills with others on Facebook and admittedly “gets many ideas from there as well.” Grandma would never share her recipes, even if it was for the apple or cheese cake.

Welcome to the new world of kosher foods.

Image courtesy of Gluten Free Goes Gourmet Kosher Cookbook