Unedited: Jewish Standard Celebrations: Glatt Is Hot

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Everyone Agrees: Glatt is Hot!
What does that mean?

By Jeanette Friedman

Glatt kosher is a term lots of people use incorrectly to describe what they believe is a higher category of kosher standards to everything—from beef to cheese. Yet the expression “glatt” which is Yiddish for the word smooth, applies to red meat only, the kind carnivores relish, and it doesn’t apply to poultry or fish—let alone dairy products and pareve foods (neutrals). The correct term that applies to a higher standard of general kashrut is mehadrin, which means to adorn, or kick something up a few notches. It’s a category important in ultra-Orthodox households.

So what makes meat glatt? It means that the cow, steer, deer, or other animal is ritually slaughtered and that its lungs are checked and certified as adhesion free. If defects on the lungs are found, the meat is considered treif (torn, mortally injured, non-kosher) and inedible. If the animal suffered a rip, puncture, or broken bone or if the animal appeared to be suffering from a terminal illness the animal would most likely be declared treif. Different veins and arteries, certain fats, all have to be removed for the meat to be kosher, so it can get really complicated if you get into it too deeply. If you have questions about glatt kosher, koshering meat or other kashrut issues, please consult your local rabbi.

Once the meat is declared kosher, it needs to be salted and soaked before it is cooked. You can cook it as rare as you like, except for liver. Liver must first be broiled on an open flame, not boiled, baked or sautéed with onions.

Since the term glatt is loosely used, many caterers refer to all their products as glatt kosher, so you’ll see ads for glatt kosher caterers, restaurants and shops and glatt kosher labels on different products. As Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, the Star-K Rabbinic administrator wrote on the Kosher Kurrents blog, “Integrity and reliability, not … labels or signs, should be the true guidelines for the kosher consumer. …It’s always advisable to purchase meat … endorsed by a respectable rabbinic authority or respected kashrus organization….”

So why is glatt hotter than ever? Some say it’s a matter of demographics. There are simply more observant people who care about kashrut now than there were years ago. But Jeff Becker of Foremost Caterers, a top-of-the-line caterer who does stylish events that make even the most famous party planners look like amateurs, explained it very well. “We do high-end fundraising banquets in the most exclusive venues, for everyone from the ADL to the ZOA. Our hosts need to accommodate people from every walk of life. Since we don’t compromise on quality, and our glatt kosher catering is the best there is, we advise people that they should go glatt. Why not? It makes it easy for everyone to be included.”

CHOOSING A CATERER FOR THAT SPECIAL, GLATT KOSHER CELEBRATION

Now that we know what’s glatt and what’s not, you’ll soon realize that your options for an elegant, exotic or over-the-top celebration are not limited by much, especially if your glatt kosher caterer knows how to prepare interesting, trendy dishes that rival anything you see on Iron Chef or other Food Network and Bravo shows—especially if your budget allows you to indulge.

DIETARY RESTRICTIONS

Guests often have special needs—they may be vegetarians, or require sugar-free, salt-free and reduced fat diets. If they have allergies, you may want to go out of your way to accommodate them and your caterer should be helpful. One way to find out guest preferences is to have them provide information on their response cards. In addition to letting you know they are coming, you can ask, on the response card, if there are any special dietary needs that have to be met, and to please let you know immediately what they are.

SPECIAL VENUES
In the right spring and summer settings you can forget, for one afternoon or evening, the hectic schedules of car pools and balancing acts, the bustle of business or the life static that causes so much stress. You can transport yourself to another space and time, to relax and enjoy the company of loved ones in some of the most extraordinarily beautiful venues in the world—where you never thought you’d ever get sophisticated, delicious, international glatt kosher food service. In places like Wave Hill, the New York Botanical Garden, the Castle at Tarrytown and other sites, stunning grounds and lush surroundings await your guests. Together you can celebrate a graduation, the birth of a child, a special silver or golden anniversary, a coming out party or special sweet sixteen. Any excuse for a casually formal, black tie dinner or even masked ball will do.

The secret is in finding the right caterer. Think about what you want. Make some notes, and keep an eye on your budget. More than 65 percent of it will go for food, the heart and soul of your event. Then there are the extras, including beverages, wait staff and gratuities. Do you a want a tent or a venue that easily lets you and your guests move from a gorgeous indoor setting to a patio overlooking a magnificent landscape? Or do you want outrageous lighting, incredible florals and the most exquisitely designed, displayed and delicious glatt kosher food on the planet? Do your research, troll the net, Google, Bing, do what you can to find the place of your dreams. When you do find that special place, call the venue and find out which glatt kosher caterers are on their list and whether or not its available when you want it.

Each caterer has strengths and weaknesses. Check them out. Get references. Set up meetings and ask if you can attend an event similar to yours. Find out if the caterer is full service or if you need to be responsible for things like musicians and photographers. Quality matters. Is the food prepared on site and made from fresh ingredients? Is the caterer flexible? Can he do different menus and different types of table service? Ask to visit an event in progress. Taste everything.

Find out about guaranteed minimums, specific hours for the event and any extra costs. Ask for menu proposals in different price ranges so you can decide how best to allocate funds. Visit the venue you have chosen with your caterer to determine how tables will be laid out to maximize presentation. Stay in touch during the planning process, and make sure you feel good about the people you are working with.

When you do go to an event from a prospective purveyor, pay attention to what’s going on around you. Does the caterer operate like a well-oiled machine or does chaos rule in the kitchen? How do service people interact with guests? The most effective ratio for service is ten guests per server. How do the dishes look? Are they chipped or scuffed? Is the glassware sparkling clean? Does the flatware have some heft, or is it flimsy? If the caterer’s linens and accessories look worn, make sure they stock up with fresh supplies before your event. (A small but important detail is dinner napkins. Forget polyester. Napkins need to be absorbent enough to wipe your lips or quickly mop up wine or water that’s been accidentally spilled. Cotton or linen works best.)

THINGS TO FIND OUT FROM YOUR CATERER TO BE
CONTRACT DETAILS

You’ve agreed on the details and put them into a contract. Most are standard forms and may not cover everything. Insist on changes to make sure you get what you asked for. Protect yourself, especially if you or the caterer must cancel the event due to unforeseen circumstances.

The contract should include the legal name of the venue, the date, the time and the amount of time your event is expected to last. It should also include the menu, the method of presentation and service, and details concerning beverage service—from bartenders and the bar menus (name the top shelf brands you want to serve) to the sommeliers and the cost of each bottle of alcohol, including corkage fees, overtime and gratuities.

The contract should specify cost per capita, how many guests are expected, and everything included in that cost. Deposit amounts and payment schedules must also be included, and financial consequences of cancellation by either party need to be clearly spelled out. If you have a lawyer friend, ask him or her to give your contract a quick look see to make sure it’s “glatt kosher.”

Congratulations, you’ve officially hired the caterer when you sign the contract and hand over the deposit. Don’t forget to follow-up and make sure everything is as you like it.

Cream of the Crop Caterers

FOREMOST GLATT KOSHER CATERERS
65 Anderson Ave
Moonachie, NJ
(201) 664-2465
Jeff Becker
http://www.foremostcaterers.com/
Glatt. Supervision from Star K of Baltimore.

Since 1985, Foremost has grown to become the premier glatt kosher catering company on the East Coast. Clients with discerning standards appreciate the company’s culinary excellence, which is always beautifully presented. Foremost can handle anything—from serving 10,000 people attending the AIPAC conference at the Convention Center in DC with three square meals a day, plus a food court, to preparing a lovely party for you at home or at the local synagogue. They also create slammin’ barbeques for hosts in the Hamptons. They’ll help you celebrate anniversaries and vow renewals, engagement parties, showers, brissim, and even set up picnics and picnic baskets.

Foremost is best known for its top-tier venues in New York City, like the Pierre, Plaza, Ritz Carlton and Waldorf Astoria Hotels; for their ability to cater parties in all of The Big Apple’s museums, on the supper ships that circle the Isle of Manhattan, and numerous castles, gardens and special event spaces scattered across the tri-state area. They’ve been called in to make things kosher for New York’s top caterers, like Restaurant Associates, Abigail Kirsch and Great Performances. True foodies will appreciate Foremost’s collaboration with stellar chefs like Bobby Flay, Daniel Boulud, Alfred Portale and Christian Delouvrier.

Foremost also operates Café Weissmann at the Jewish Museum and the Heritage Café at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. The Cafés make it possible for guests to cater private parties within these museums. Among other Foremost venues: The Woodcliff Lake Hilton, the Jersey City Hyatt Regency, Rockleigh Country Club, Skylands Manor in Ringwood, Westmount Country Club in West Paterson, The Castle at Tarrytown, Lyndhurst Castle,the Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff, NY and Wave Hill in the Bronx.

MAIN EVENT CATERERS
38 West Forest Avenue
Englewood, NJ
201-894-8710 Fax: 201-894-8720
3708 Riverdale Ave.,
Riverdale, NY
718-601-6246 Fax: 718-601-0008
Joey and Martin Bodner, Eddie Iszo
Glatt. RCBC and Vaad Harabonim of Riverdale
http://www.mecaterers.com
Office@MECaterers.com

Main Event fulfills glatt kosher and any other celebration needs with a sense of excitement, creativity, and flawless elegance. Name the milestone, describe the mood you want to create, wax poetic about your vision, then relax and let Main Event do the work. They have a reputation of being client and crowd pleasers. They do brissim and brunches, kiddush, organizational dinners and intimate dinner parties. Main Event prides themselves on the warm, personal relationships they establish (and maintain!) with clients and the elegant and delicious results we produce. You will get honest advice, creative menus and competitive pricing. “We say what we mean and we deliver what we promise.”

They’ve been known to transform office blocks, beautiful gardens, rooftops and urban warehouses into perfect party spaces. They will create special events in established galleries, museums, private clubs and will seek out and book any interesting space a client might be interested in. They’ve introduced formal elements into relaxed environments, interpreted exotic or historical fare for today’s palette. They have a vendor network that allows you to explore your options for personalized printed materials, photographers, florists, musicians and light and sound experts. From intimate dinners for 20 to lavish galas for 2500, the Main Event team focuses on ensuring the success of your party, no matter the season.

NORTHERN VALLEY AFFAIRS
Temple Emmanuel
180 Piermont Rd.
Closter, NJ
Les or Marty
201-750-0333
Glatt Under Rabbi E. Teitz in Elizabeth
Facility holds up to 450 people.

At Northern Valley affairs, Les and Marty only do one event a day, so you don’t have to worry about getting rushed out of your own simcha. Twilight events start in mid-afternoon and can run for up to six hours. There’s an outdoor courtyard for ceremonies, and cocktail parties. Barbeque stations are available for grilling skirt steak, Portobello mushrooms and carmelized onions to perfection. Off premises catering is available. Some of Northen Valley’smore interesting menu items include horseradish crusted steak, crispy sea bass with pomegranate sauce, black & white sesame crusted chicken, beef or chicken yakatori, Portobello and roasted red pepper danish and other delicacies. There are also soup tasters— sips of soup—including a choice of cold melon soups in season. The caviar bar offers red and black caviar served on warm bilinis and toast points with chopped egg, onion, capers, lemon and a selection of fruit infused vodkas. In addition to all these sophisticated dishes, there’s a kid friendly menu, that includes five versions of French fries, so everyone’s hunger is sated in very tasteful ways.

THE PALISADIUM
Carlton Caterers
700 Palisadium Drive
Cliffside Park, NJ 07010
(201) 886-9207
201-224-2211
info@palisadiumusa.com
http://palisadiumusa.com
Glatt. OK supervision

The Palisadium, located on the cliffs overlooking the Hudson River and the New York City skyline, is the perfect location for a fancy kosher event. Whatever the scale, the culinary staff takes great care to make each event a success. Only the highest quality and freshest products are used in the on-premises kosher kitchen. The goal is create an experience that will surpass your expectations. The staff focuses on assuring that each detail of your event is handled in a respectful and traditional manner. They are also experts for business meetings and conferences, and offer state-of-the art audio-visual systems for presentations. Bar/Bats, weddings, brissim, baby-namings, anniversaries, dinner party celebrations, ladies who lunch…any event is possible at The Palisadium.

FIVE STAR CATERERS
195 West Engelwood Ave.
Teaneck
201-833-0889
Daniel or Sarah
http://www.fivestarcaterers.com/

When you have a big event to plan, whether it’s a simcha, or corporate event, an anniversary or other party, Five Star Caterers finds the best chefs and cooks to prepare fresh, high quality and carefully selected ingredients in your home, synagogue, office or banquet facility or other venues. In addition to a glatt meat menu, they also offer selection of dairy menus, event packages to fit any budget, and take pride in providing reliable, professional catering services at reasonable prices. They are buffet experts and provide linen cloths, individually set place settings and carafes of orange jiuce at each table, complete coffee stations with all the accoutrements. If you haven’t yet decided where to make your celebration and would like assistance selecting a location, Five Star is affiliated with many venues in the tri-state area. Among them are the Marriot Glenpointe in Teaneck, the Clinton Inn in Tenafly, Mayfair Farms in West Orange, The Sheratons in Mahwah and the Meadowlands, Florentine Gardens in River Vale, the Greentree Country Club in New Rochelle, NY, area Hilton Hotels and even Space Odyssey in Englewood, great for kids’ parties.

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