Turning over our homes and personal kitchens for Pesach can be an arduous task. Effectively achieving this in a foodservice (restaurants, catering, hotels) setting can be all the more so.
Please join us as we assess and prepare a foodservice location for Pesach:
- Take a complete inventory of kitchens and equipment.
- Determine suitability for kashering each vessel.
- Establish the kosher protocol. Procedures must be recorded in writing and approved by the venue.
- Designate meat and dairy kitchens. Determine if a pareve kitchen is required. Each designated kitchen will need completely separate facilities (refrigerators, ovens, etc.), including dishwashing and pot-washing areas.
- Facility must include sufficient space for vegetable inspection and preparation, including adequate lighting.
- If there is only one dishwasher, only one set of dishes (meat or dairy) will be allowed.
- Determine access from kitchen facilities to dining facilities. Identify distinct food transport apparatus (i.e. carts, trays).
- Set a schedule for kashering. Each facility should be kashered together. Facility should not be left in a partially kashered state. Any unkashered equipment must be completely segregated from the facility.
- Pilot lights must be functional to help ensure against bishul akum (food cooked by a non-Jew). Oven door sensors must be bypassed so the oven will remain on when door is opened.
- Determine if there is steam return to the boiler or not.
- All utensils must be clearly marked before being used (after tevilah).
- Employee eating facilities must be completely separate from kashered facilities.
- Simulate the operation from start to finish, including ingredient receiving, food prep, cooking, serving, clean up, and utensil washing. Anticipate how parallel processing (meat, dairy, pareve) can impact each other.
KASHERING SUPPLIES LIST:
- Propane torches large and small
- Insulated welding gloves
- Charcoal, not self-igniting
- 3 different colors of masking tape
- Aluminum foil
- Cellophane wrap
- Oven cleaner
- Steel wool
“KOSHER” ENVIRONMENT — Not Just Kosher Food
- Does the hotel swimming pool allow for separate and private men’s and women’s swimming?
- Can an eruv be established around the perimeter of the hotel property?
- Do hotel rooms have manual locks or only electronic locks?
- Does the hotel have the ability to offer a Shabbos elevator?
ADMINSTERING THE PROGRAM
• Clear scheduling and position assignments to the squad of mashgichim so they may function as a team without leaving gaps in supervision.
• Assure that there is training and clearly written instructions (multilingual) for kitchen staff and servers, with kashrus protocols. Protocols must address segregation of foods and utensils to their designated kitchens, use of product only following mashgiach approval, and restrictions against bishul akum. Workers must also understand the basic restrictions that relate to Shabbat and yom tov and hachana (preparation from one day to the next).
• All food deliveries must be checked by the mashgiach before entering the building. Mashgiach should have his own set of stickers (e.g. Hello Kitty stickers available in dollar stores) to put on approved products. All unwashed and unchecked vegetables must be isolated from those that have been approved for use. Approved ingredients should be clearly marked by mashgichim and only used thereafter.
• Menus must be checked to ensure that there is sufficient time between meals (i.e. meat – dairy, hard cheese – meat).
• All Shabbat food (except cholent) must be fully cooked before the onset of Shabbat. Grinders, slicers, mixers, et cetera not permitted for use on Shabbat must be secured so kitchen staff cannot make use of them accidentally or out of habit.
• Ensure that when water is added to urns on yom tov, it is done in compliance with holiday restrictions and does not trigger the ignition of heating elements. Make sure that there is sufficient hot water for Shabbos. Inlet valve must be closed before Shabbos.
SOLICITING DIVINE HELP
As with any hashgacha, especially one fraught with so many challenges and upon which hundreds of thousands of Jews depend, we must recite a prayer for s’yata dishmaya (Heavenly assistance) for a joyous and kosher Pesach.