December 14, 2010 | 8:28 pm
Posted by Chef Todd Aarons
I know its true I cook food that people who abide by the dietary laws of Judaism can eat, others though have been known to enjoy it as well. Kosher, I have tried to expunge it from my brain. On a daily basis, the thought does not even enter my mind. The what may be viewed as confines of my culinary world force me to persevere in my quest of blurring any lines of kosher and non-kosher, but the world wont let me. Everywhere I turn I am reminded that it cannot be all that! It’s, it’s koshhh!er. I honestly try to forget. I don’t mention a thing about kosher on my twitter account although tweeters have lumped me in to groups named “kosher foodies” and “kosher”. Ah man! the gig is up. I do not cook matzah balls or gefilte fish but the LA Times and other publications find me to write recipes around the Jewish holidays only. Every listing or article starts off with the same statement, “who thought kosher and fine dining could go together?” and if I hear another person tell me that the lobster on my menu is not kosher I will insert a larding needle into their ear. Lobster mushrooms refer to the color of the mushroom they are not shrooms made of the crustacean. On top of it all I am often asked to compete in only kosher cooking contests. Listen up people, what my kitchen and I produce is food worthy of any professional culinary contest and only offends me to subcategorize my food. I see the merits of letting people know we are closed Friday evening and Saturdays being the primi giorni in the restaurant biz but beyond that let them just think we are pious Seventh-day Adventists.
It definitely is a human thing, the need to label and compartmentalize everything we take in. I guess it makes us feel more in control of the world we live in. Makes it less scary like when we had a clear line between the evil Russians and the West, cowboy Ronny’s west that is. My wise sous chef reminded me recently that we as chefs see ourselves as artistes. When one goes to view an artist’s work, the viewer SUBMITS himself to the artist’s /chef’s vision. My vision does not lack any missing components. In cooking I do not feel I am missing any key ingredients in presenting my story on a plate. The inference or label of kosher usually sets culinarians on edge, that the meal will be limited in it’s capacity to wow them. I have a dream, its of a world where porkless menus and snout & trotter filled menus are meritoriously seen as only an extention of what the chef has skillfully prepared for you to enjoy.
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