An Interview with a Chef Kosher Creator, and a Cooking Contest!


Back in March, I got an email inviting me to take part in the cooking contest. I eventually submitted a recipe (for Chunky Borscht, which may look familiar to the Jew and the Carrot readers), and of course had to snoop around the site.

One of the first things I noticed was the stunning food photos. These enticing shots mark the portals to recipes for beef, poultry, fish, soups and stews, dairy dishes, breads, desserts and sweets, and more.

The next element to strike me was the sample recipe titles, tantalizing from the sidelines. The juxtapositions also gave me a giggle. On a recent visit, I found links to Moroccan Style Matzo Ball Soup, Barbecued Beef Ribs, and Pennsylvania Shoofly Pie. Now there’s a kosher meal to remember! (Just be sure to use a parve butter alternative for the pie!)

Of course, the mustachioed chef gazing amicably from the header also caught my eye. He looks like an Old Country version of The Muppet Show’s Swedish Chef.

All of the recipes behind those pretty pictures and quirky links, watched over by the merry chef, were submitted by readers, I later learned. Within two months of its January launch, the number had already topped 500.  Each of the recipes is eligible to win a cooking contest based on the number of votes from visitors. This means that Chef Kosher is a community site, by and for all who surf in. It also means that you could win!

So just where did this site come from, and what led to its inception? Who’s behind it, and what’s up with that little chef? This is what I started to wonder. To find out, I talked to Ophir Marko, one of the site’s founders.

I hope you enjoy this little Q & A, and that you’re inspired to check out the contest and submit your own gourmet, sustainable, and off-beat kosher recipes.

How did the idea for Chef Kosher come about?

Chef Kosher was born, I suppose, about 15 years ago, right about when the internet took off. I lived in the states at the time, and saw that a lot of Jews found it difficult to sustain a Jewish lifestyle. For most people, it was not clear what is and is not kosher, and it became easier to slowly assimilate and loose part of their identity. In some part of my mind, that always bothered me that people were loosing a unique part of themselves. So I up and decided to do something about it, albeit several years later!

Who’s involved and in what capacities?

The two main forces behind Chef Kosher are Ophir Marko and Yaniv Reginiano. While I am in charge of content and marketing, Yaniv brings with him technical skills and a driving force that just gets things done pronto! I don’t know how, but from the moment we decided to begin this venture, it took a little over two months to reach over 500 recipes. We are both students [Opir at the Technion and Yaniv at Tel Aviv University], and work on the site during pretty much all of our free time.

Other than that, we have several contributors, and we’re always open to anyone wanting to write a guest post on our upcoming blog.

What sets Chef Kosher apart from other kosher or Jewish cooking sites?

There are a number of things that set us apart: Design—we put some effort into making a user-friendly interface, that would look appealing; Simplicity—you get to the recipes within two clicks. Ever tried finding something in Recipe Zaar? It’s a great website, but it is also too cluttered with information; Variety—we aim to bring both gourmet and everyday kosher recipes. Gourmet food can be made kosher, and you don’t have to be a French chef to make it (try this); Dedication—we are dedicated to promoting a Jewish lifestyle.

Which kinds of recipes do you get the most of?

I would definitely say our “Desserts” category is the richest. And, in all honesty, I think it’s because of my own sweet tooth!

Which kinds of recipes do you want to see more of?

There are various ethnic recipes we would love for people to send. The best recipes weren’t invented in the kitchens of prestigious chefs—they were invented decades ago and passed down from mother to daughter. Or in my case, mother to son! So those are definitely recipes we would like to see more of.

What’s the quirkiest recipe you’ve gotten so far? (I’d say my vote goes to the “cup of cake”)

By far, the quirkiest recipe we had submitted was for Stuffed Nasturtium Blossoms. [This recipe hasn't been posted, though, because flowers are not considered kosher by many].

How did you settle on that little chef guy as the site’s logo/mascot?

Isn’t he the cutest? He was inspired by a decorative figurine in my kitchen. It seemed like the most natural choice.

Where do you see the site a year from now?

Our site is built to serve a community, and I would like to see a strong one form. Where people can go to share their recipes, comment on others’, ask questions of our staff and bloggers, and really be as much of a one-stop-shop as possible. You don’t have to surf to two different sites for gefilte and pizza! We would also like to see our small loyal following grow!

Is there anything else you need, aside from recipes?

As part of our effort to promote the Jewish lifestyle, we would like to invite bloggers, authors and anyone else interested to contact us so we can help promote them through our community.

So there you have it, folks. Be sure to get in touch if you’d like to submit a recipe or become part of the emerging Chef Kosher community.

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One Response to “An Interview with a Chef Kosher Creator, and a Cooking Contest!”

  1. #gennick[Kda牉zgue Says:

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