Written By: Savannah Nichols

Within the events industry, one will encounter customers with all kinds of dietary restrictions including vegetarians, vegans, those with allergies, and those with religious restrictions. Accommodations have to be made for them and rules must be strictly followed in order to have a successful event.

One kind of dietary restriction that event planners will often run into is a customer who eats kosher food. Someone who eats kosher may be Jewish, but Jews only make up 20% of the market for kosher food. Others include Muslims, some vegans and vegetarians, and people who eat kosher for health reasons. The amount of kosher products in the U.S. has risen by about 10% each year since 2009, so with a booming kosher industry, it’s imperative that event planners are prepared to handle a client who requests kosher food at their event.

What qualifies as kosher? Only mammals with split hooves and “chew their cud” may be eaten, fish must have removable scales and fins, and birds generally have to be non-predatory. The meat also has to be ritually slaughtered and cleaned. All dairy products must come from kosher animals and cannot be served with meat. As for fruits and vegetables, two different kinds of crops cannot be grown in the same field and you cannot eat fruit from a tree planted within the past three years. Surprisingly, even wine has to be prepared kosher. This means that no gelatin, casein, or bull blood can be used in the wine making process and bottles cannot be filled more than once.

The preparation of kosher foods is so complex that the plates, utensils, glassware, and napkins that the meal is served with can have only been used for kosher food. If anything not kosher is served with them, they immediately become unclean. Plates sometimes are bought new for an event but if they’re being re-used, plates used for meats and dairies have to be stored separately from each other. Also, the day before Kashering (to render something kosher), all utensils have to be cleaned and then unused for 24 hours. We recommend checking with a Rabbi about the specific details of this process.

Recently, we attended the launch of Catering by Design’s new Kosher Catering division at the unique venue Moss Denver. We were served beef tongue and cheek, a traditional matzo ball soup, fish stick and tater tots, a no lettuce salad, and a chocolate dessert. The food at this event was excellent and many of the attendees commented if they hadn’t been told that the food was kosher, they never would have known. This shows that it is possible to have a successful event with kosher food as long as it is prepared well.

See the photos below of the beautiful tablescape that Catering by Design in Denver showcased for their Kosher Launch.