A Sneak Peek at our Community’s Culinary Entrepreneurs

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A SNEAK PEEK AT OUR COMMUNITY’S CULINARY ENTREPRENEURS

By: Frieda Schweky

Years ago, the kosher food industry was nowhere near as comprehensive as it is today. Products like imitation seafood, kimchi, beef jerky, and sushi ingredients were not found in kosher supermarkets. As this industry continues to grow, so too have our community food businesses, growing in numbers as well as fresh ideas. Below are a few examples of fairly new community food businesses that are making their mark in the industry with their innovative ideas.

Fruits by Pesha

In May 2017, Rachel and Hezi Yazdi started their fresh fruit business called Fruits by Pesha. The two have been producing fruit platters for all occasions ever since. Their platters are packed with vibrant colors and designs, which quickly set them apart from the average store-bought fruit platters. Just a few months into the business they had the idea of adding a line of dehydrated fruits. This is when people really started getting excited about Fruits by Pesha. They offer a guilt-free, sweet and healthy snack that’s totally portable. Their dehydrated fruits have no sugar, no sulfur, and no preservatives. Pineapple, watermelon, mango, orange, apple, honeydew, cantaloupe, salted zucchini - you name it, they’ve dehydrated it. They also make limited quantities of dehydrated fruits dipped in chocolate. You can find them in Pomegranate supermarket in Brooklyn as well as various different places in Brooklyn and the Jersey Shore areas. Fruits by Pesha also offers a specialty dehydrated fruit tasting station for parties, upon request.

Painted with Flavor

Another brand-new food business is Painted with Flavor, a gourmet catering service started by two community chefs, both with impressive backgrounds. Jacqueline Cohen attended the International Culinary Center to learn her craft and has since worked in several reputable restaurants in Manhattan. Grace Mizrachi spent a year in Israel working as a chef in an upscale meat restaurant called Crave. When the two met they discovered that their passions were similar, and they both had chef experience outside the community. With so much in common they decided they had to join forces. Painted with Flavor specializes in authentic Italian foods. Their pasta is hand made, and ravioli is one of their specialties. They fry tortilla chips fresh to pair with their mint lime guacamole. They make all the dough for their creations from scratch. Jacqueline and Grace are pleased to announce that they are now catering events such as engagement parties and bridal showers, as well as more intimate gatherings like weekly card games, holiday meals, and even weeknight dinners. Some mouthwatering crowd pleasers are their sweet potato and mascarpone ravioli, artichoke mint ravioli, and sunflower truffle pesto. They are also pleased to offer Syrian dairy staples such as sambusaks, mini pizzas, and spanach tarts.

Chocolatey Licks

Desserts are always evolving, and customization is now a large part of the sweets industry. Following in her mother’s footsteps, Margo Cohen opened her business Chocolatey Licks in 2013. Many years ago, Margo’s mother baked and sold Syrian pastries. Just five years ago Margo decided to give it a go, with a modern twist. She began selling colorful chocolate lollipops, and, as the demand for her sweets grew, so did her menu options.

Chocolatey Licks currently sells chocolate covered Oreos and pretzels as well as Rice Krispy treats and cookies. Margo’s specialty is her customization. From holiday tables to birthday parties, engagement parties, and so on, if you have a theme, color scheme, or name that you’d like to include, Margo is happy to design her treats to any specifications. Custom treats that match your party can take your tablescape to a whole new level. More and more party throwers are looking for this kind of culinary customization.

CocoBox

This next food business solves a dilemma that most homemakers face every day. When you think to yourself, “I wonder what I’m making for dinner tonight,” you have to realize that a lot more goes into making the meal then just cooking. You have to first decide what you are making, then get out, park, shop, go to the next store, park again, and only then come home and cook. If you’re not a fan of this dragged out, time-consuming process then listen up. Coco Box is a kosher, portioned, health-conscious meal kit which gets delivered right to your door. There are several different dinner options to choose from and the menu changes monthly. Cookie Cohen, a nutrition and dietetics student at NYU, is the brains behind Coco Box. Women Exceed highlighted Cookie as an honorary member of the “Women to Watch in 2018” for her entrepreneurial skills. So, what's inside these aesthetically pleasing boxes? Each box has a meal which contains a protein, a carb, and a vegetable. Spices you’ll need, as well as marinades and dressings are all prepped and placed in the box so you do as little work as possible to get the most amazing weeknight meal together for your family. Customers love it because it is simple and they get to try out recipes they’ve never made before. The result is a more elevated weeknight dinner experience at home!

Sweet Nothings

The healthy food market is burgeoning, and kosher companies are following suit. Another huge sector of today’s health market includes products which provide alternatives for individuals who are either allergic to or intolerant of certain foods or ingredients. Joyce Harari started her healthy food business Sweet Nothings in 2015. After extensive research to find alternative ingredients, Joyce began creating desserts that she could enjoy, guilt-free. Her family loved the treats and encouraged her to begin selling them, so she did. Under the clever name Sweet Nothings, Joyce bakes and sells healthy treats. Customers hear of Sweet Nothings via word of mouth and Instagram. Some of Joyce’s best sellers are her raw vegan Twix Bars, raw vegan cookie dough pie, and almond butter cookies which are gluten-free and sugar free. All Joyce’s treats include a good amount of protein, so they are great for after a workout, or even as a meal replacement when you're in a hurry. After the birth of her first child, Joyce’s focus was aimed more toward allergy-friendly cooking and baking. Her new son was highly allergic. Because Joyce was nursing, she had to alter her own diet immensely. She was told by her doctor to avoid eating dairy, soy, eggs, and chicken. Of course, her doctor didn’t explain to Joyce just how to eat that way. Feeling lost, with no one to turn to for advice, Joyce knew she had to do the research and figure it out for herself. After Joyce changed her eating habits, her son started to get better, and the new diet restrictions became more of a lifestyle for Joyce. She’s now eager to help others in a similar position, and is pleased to announce that soon she will be teaching allergy-friendly cooking and baking classes.

Candy and Cattle

Candy and Cattle is a new food business started by community member Billy Schweky in 2015. Billy began making small batches of gourmet beef jerky in his home. His friends and family loved his original flavors, and he realized this could be something he could sell. At the time, kosher beef jerky was something completely new. Fast forward three years, and you’ll find Candy and Cattle beef jerky in hundreds of kosher and gourmet supermarkets around the country, as well as online on CandyandCattle.comand Koshervalet.com. The four flavors offered are cranberry pastrami, apricot corned beef, sesame teriyaki, and honey sriracha. Now, for the first time in print, Candy and Cattle is pleased to announce that in the coming months they will be releasing two additional flavors! The new, highly anticipated flavors are buffalo and tamarind. Buffalo is a tangy and spicy flavor, and tamarind is a sweet and tart flavor that is based on Billy’s famous lachmagine recipe. Jewish meat lovers are especially pleased with this new category of portable dehydrated meats. Candy and Cattle beef jerky is a great item to take on trips because it requires no refrigeration. Be sure to keep a lookout for these delicious high protein snacks on your next trip to the supermarket. Candy and Cattle also offers jerky sampling stations for all occasions, upon request.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we are living in an awesome time to keep kosher. Great new community food businesses like these are popping up every day. With all the new products on the market, we’re hardly limited when it comes to keeping, cooking, and eating kosher. So don’t be shy to give something new you see at the supermarket a try, even if you’ve never seen or heard of it before. It’s a great way to enjoy something different and support some awesome new food businesses!