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The Next New Thing: A Kosher Kitchen Craze?

I had no sooner written up this recap of a discussion on the Meetings Community (MeCo) listserv about how planners deal with special dietary requests than a colleague sent me a press release on the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park’s new kosher kitchen. All kosher food will be prepared in-house in the Chicago Rabbinical Council-certified kitchen, and the menu snippets in the press release sound yummy. OK, so that’s interesting, and a huge boon for meeting planners who have a lot of kosher meal requests and are meeting at that hotel, but it’s not exactly a trend.

Or is it? Today I got word that Orlando’s Rosen Plaza Hotel is opening a kosher catering business this fall—based out of two new in-house certified kosher kitchens. The kitchens will serve individuals and groups at the hotel, as well as provide catering for all seven Rosen Hotels and Resorts, and other groups and events in Central Florida. To make sure everything’s truly kosher, the hotel partnered with Rabbi Yosef Konikov, RCF-Orthodox Rabbinate of Central Florida, Inc., and “also will employ a full-time mashgiach, a supervisor and single key holder of the kitchens, who will provide mashgiach temidi, or constant supervision, of all activities there.”

Related: Food Allergies and Preferences: How Far Do You Have to Go?

From the press release:

The kosher kitchens at Rosen Plaza will meet the strict requirements of certified orthodox kitchens in terms of equipment and types of foods served, as well as food sourcing, storage, handling, preparation, and more, according to kashrut, Jewish dietary law. One will feature glatt kosher, the highest level of kosher meat, and another Cholov Yisroel kosher, a designation for kosher milk and dairy. The kitchens will be newly constructed within Rosen Plaza and will feature only brand new materials including appliances, equipment, and utensils.

I have heard from planners over the years that, while it’s not necessarily difficult to obtain good kosher meals for attendees who request them, it can be a bit of a hassle and expense because they usually have to find an outside provider and have it brought into the hotel. In Chicago and Orlando, at any rate, it sounds like it may have just gotten a little easier.

It tzimmes like the time is right for this to be a growing market knish—sorry, I just couldn’t resist!

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