Surprise! Employees Of Catering Company Claim Their Services Were The Opposite Of Kosher

Employees of a Long Island catering company that claimed it offered Kosher food for over 200 weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs say the owner has been pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes for too long. The chef and general manager say that the whole process, from food preparation to storage and service, has all been the opposite of Kosher — tainted.

CBS 2 in New York City says the employees felt customers had had enough of being mistreated.

“Those same tables, those same pots and pans, those same platters and utensils that were used for Kosher foods were also used to prepare the non-Kosher events as well,” said the general manager Tom C.

He and the chef are suing the owner, saying the company was trying to cut costs for a year and a half by not having a separate kitchen for Kosher and non-Kosher foods, which is an important rule in Jewish laws governing keeping things Kosher. Tom says he feels sick inside over the situation.

“We would have our Kosher foods stored and next to it a bucket of shrimp,” he claims.

L.I. Caterers Accused Of Lying About Being Kosher [CBS 2 New York]

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  1. Cat says:

    “But, I only used Krusty brand kosher ham!”

  2. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    I’m not particularly religious, but this is all kinds of ‘Dude, not cool!’. Especially considering that cross-contamination with known allergens (shellfish being the example put forth) would have been that much more possible.

    • CubeRat says:

      I agree with you.

      If a business advertises Kosher food, they need to follow the rules governing Kosher. If you can’t maintain both a kosher and non-kosher kitchen, then either stop advertising kosher or prepare all food kosher and remove the non-kosher stuff from your menu.

    • Rachacha says:

      But in theory, the food prep area and utensils were properly cleaned and sanatized to prevent the spread of germs, bacteria and allergens. The problem (and I am not Jewish do please forgive and correct if I am wrong) is that Kosher foods were prepared in the same area with non Kosher food which “religiously” contaminates the Kosher food and it therefore can no longer be considered Kosher

    • Don't Bother says:

      +1

    • Dallas_shopper says:

      This.

    • JennQPublic says:

      This is not a religious issue, but a consumer issue. They did not get what they paid for, which was food prepared according to their particular preferences.

      If I pay you good money to serve me food specifically cooked in a kitchen where no one is also cooking dog, I expect to get what we agreed to, period.

      • Rebecca K-S says:

        This, exactly. If you don’t want to cater to customers who have dietary restrictions, that’s cool, don’t. But if you advertise that as a service you provide, you damn well better be providing it.

  3. Swins says:

    So these “employees” felt that after a year and a half of letting this happen NOW was the time to say something.
    it wouldn’t happen to be about the $18 MILLION lawsuit they have against the company, right?

    • DariusC says:

      There is incentive to speak up now. Before, 18 million dollars wasn’t put on the table to compensate them for their time of cooperating. I bet if someone launched a class action lawsuit against USPS for not paying insurance claims that everyone who ever got screwed would sign on even if it was from years ago. Same thing here, money is involved and people have a chance to recoup it. Why wouldn’t they?

      • hankrearden says:

        But would they have reported it had the company been doing well and had no pending actions against them?

    • CrazyMann says:

      Very Cute Swins,
      Looks like I am the only one that caught the “18” Million reference.
      (The Hebrew word for “life” is (chai), which has a numerical value of 18 and is considered a lucky number,) Not very lucky for the people that ate the food.

  4. StarKillerX says:

    So what grounds are the employees suing on? I could understand a customer suing, or employees reporting the company for fraud but suing them makes no sense to me.

    Also to what extent could those same employees be held liable for complicity in any crimes or fraud?

  5. dwtomek says:

    Silly religions are silly. That being said, if you are going to advertise your product as one thing, a customer should have the reasonable assumption that you will provide the product as advertised.

  6. Emperor Norton I says:

    I don’t believe them because to claim being kosher, there would have been someone from the local kosher certification authority on duty there.
    That person, usually a rabbi, is almost always there to make sure nothing is done incorrectly.
    This is just a common place labor/management problem that the employees are trying to escalate by freaking the those that keep kosher, so they threaten to put the caterer out of business unless he gives in to their demands.

    • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

      So wait, they’d have to report to a Health Inspector and a Kosher Inspector, then?

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

        No. A Rabbi is usually more present than a health inspector, and will def pull surprise inspections.

        • Firethorn says:

          This reminded me of an old thought of mine:

          If I ever go back in time, seriously back in time, I’d probably try to pass myself off as Jewish.
          1. The food is more likely to be inspected for bad stuff
          2. While overkill/misguided in some ways, the rules DO lead to safer food, for the time. Modern refridgeration, cleaning, and germ theory have made for easier rules.
          3. Being circumsized, I should be more able to integrate into the group, giving me protection.

      • bee8boo8bop8 says:

        Not just that. Kosher law requires an observant Jew to do the cooking. Cooking is defined as turning on the burners or oven. Someone else can stand there and do the sauteing, but the religious Jew has to light the cooking fire. Yes this logic is circuitous. Heeish law is always like that. So you have to have a Sabbath keeping Jew on site whenever you’re preparing hot food. This is usually the hired kosher supervisor, who gets paid by the outside kosher certification agency rather than the restauranteur. This is supposed to keep the profit motive out of it.

    • AstroPig7 says:

      What stops the owner from lying about the certificate?

    • centurion says:

      It might be set up to be kosher when the Rabbi come to do an inspection, but after that it’s up to the caterer to make sure it stays that way.

  7. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    So if I use a pot to make pork stew, then wash it and disinfect it, and use the same pot to make Matso Ball soup, it’s not Kosher?

    Please, get a new religion.

    • strells says:

      If the pot is sanitized and certified by a rabbi after cleaning, it could be used for kosher food. But other than that, no.

      • El_Fez says:

        Man, that’s what I don’t get about religion. Back in the Old Days when poorly kept pork would kill you, I can understand why you wouldn’t want to cross-contaminate cooking utensils – that’s only logical, practical sense. But because someone wrote it down in a book 2000 years ago, it trumps a good scrubbing with hot water and soap?

        That’s just silly and irrational.

        • Conformist138 says:

          It’s what happens when “do this because it makes sense” turns into “do this because we’ve always done it” and skids right into “do it because it is holy and god will hate you if you don’t!”

          If someone *really* wanted to follow the Torah, they wouldn’t wear blended fabrics, they would be sure to poop in their yard and bury it with earth, and women would live out of town every month. No one would braid their hair and a significant number of doves and other animals would be killed and lit on fire regularly to appease god. Somewhere along the way, it seems god got some pamphlets from PETA and no longer demands so much literal blood.

          Not that any of this excuses the catering company. They advertised being kosher to specifically lure Jewish customers and didn’t follow through at all. Even if someone does believe in odd rituals I find silly, it’s not okay to trick, deceive, or take advantage of them.

          (also, all religions are silly. If you are religious, it doesn’t matter what you identify with- they all insist on their own silly stuff. I was raised christian and went to a school that was christian- but a different type of christian. At my church, dad played electric guitar for the worship band. At my school, musical instruments weren’t allowed in the sanctuary. I got enough of a religious education to determine how very empty it can be if you don’t pretend to feel the spirit or whatever and thus quit religion when I couldn’t keep up the act anymore.)

          • El_Fez says:

            Even if someone does believe in odd rituals I find silly, it’s not okay to trick, deceive, or take advantage of them.

            Oh, totally agree – I think it’s not right to exploit anyone’s beliefs regardless of how odd I may think those beliefs are. If the company claimed to use a Lightsaber to prepare a meal and I find that they were using a Bat’leth instead – well, I probably wouldnt take it up with the chef anyway since he has a big freakin’ Klingon blade in his hand and I don’t. But you get the idea. . . .

            • InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

              El_Fez, thank you very much for injecting some much-needed levity in this heated discussion. I think I hurt something trying not to laugh too loudly at work, but it was worth it. You, good sir, are awesome.

      • bee8boo8bop8 says:

        Sanitization is insufficient. There’s different ways to make a utensil not kosher kosher. Most involve heating the item at very high heats, often until it glows red. Many don’t bother and just Goodwill the old item. But it varies based on the item. It would be impossible to make kosher a wooden cutting board that was used to slice a roast ham, for instance.

    • chiieddy says:

      I would have to be cleaned in a specific manner, which includes a blessing in a mikveh (Jewish bath house).

    • LJKelley says:

      You have to remember these are old traditions from when there was no way to properly confirm you had indeed disenfected the pot.

      The rules actually make alot of sense: pigs were easy spreader of parasites (new farming technices minimize this now, as well as better understanding of parasites and cooking/curing), shellfish still kill thousands in Asia each year for improper cooking (they are poisons that can be released if not cooked properly, generally cooked live). In addition the rules are about cleanliness from a historic not modern understanding and about being humane.

      Sure it can be difficult to follow, but I really appreciate the traditions that make sense. It brings a sence of togetherness with your community and more importantly the generations gone past. And they are not forcing it on anyone. It is totally up to a business if they want to offer Kosher or not.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Yes, the rules make sense in a world of unsantized food, no health laws, etc.

        In modern culture they serve no real purpose that isn’t already covered by laws. Even the fact they became religious doctrine seems odd to me – it’s a health concern not a religious one. Probably some rabbi somewhere chose to make it religious doctrine and it stuck.

        God wants you be be healthy becomes God wants you to eat properly prepared food so you are not harmed becomes God will punish you if you eat meat that isn’t prepared in a specific way.

        • Dallas_shopper says:

          Who cares if it makes sense to you? Quit looking down your nose with disdain at people and just realize that to people who KEEP KOSHER, being lied to about their food being kosher is A VERY BIG FUCKING DEAL, whether you think it’s a ‘religious’ or ‘consumer’ issue.

          Jesus fucking christ.

          • audacian says:

            Seriously. What hateful BS.

            (but lol at the JFC at the end.)

          • ExtraCelestial says:

            Loias I generally like your comments (and I am personally agnostic so none of this makes sense to me either) but I have to give a hearty +1 to this. Get off it. The point is that they paid for a service they did not receive.

        • The Porkchop Express says:

          i think it may be in the old testament too. Jesus changed all that, at least according to “Lamb”.

      • JennQPublic says:

        These old traditions are also from a time and place where food was hard to come by, and there was no USDA to ensure that pig was really pig. Considering that humans are reported to taste like pork, I don’t think it’s out of the realm of reason that God was concerned that the ham-hock one of his people bought could actually be a Ham-hock, if you know what I’m saying.

        Preventing accidental cannibalism is an excellent reason to avoid a specific food, IMO.

    • bluline says:

      Kosher is nothing compared to the rules some ultra-orthodx Jews live by. One example: Tearing toilet paper in advance because doing so on the Sabbath is considered “work,” which is forbidden on that day. Or, on the Sabbath, asking others to push the elevator button for them for the same reason. In residential buildings with mostly Jewish tenants, the elevators may be programmed to stop on every floor on the Sabbath so that no one has to push the buttons.

      • bee8boo8bop8 says:

        You can’t ask someone to push the button. That would be directly causing work to happen. But if, say, you walk into an elevator behind a gentile and they push the button and you get off on their floor, that’s ok.

        Also, this isn’t ultra Orthodoxy. This is mainstream Orthodox, and a basic standard of Sabbath observance. There is ultra Orthodoxy, but trust me, this isn’t it.

        • Dallas_shopper says:

          I grew up in an eruv for Chrissakes and I didn’t see this level of extremism.

          • bee8boo8bop8 says:

            How old are you? Orthodoxy in general has shifted rightward in the past thirty or so years. I know a lot if families now where the younger generation is stricter than the older. More women cover their hair now or eschew pants, more people are strict about only eating in kosher restaurants, and so on.

            • Dallas_shopper says:

              Oh, the women covered their hair and there are plenty of kosher places around to eat near the two eruvs in Dallas, but I never met an Orthodox Jew who wouldn’t rip paper off a roll of TP on the Sabbath. And I’ve known lots of ‘em!

              (I’m in my late 30s.)

              • ARP says:

                Well, given their choice, yes, they’ll do it. They won’t refuse to wipe (that would be gross). However, under their own rules, they should have prepared.

              • RandomHookup says:

                There are eruvim (that’s a new word for me) in Dallas? I understand why there’s one in Boston (and it’s huge), but I wouldn’t have expected any there. I just did a quick check and found out I live in an eruv (not the big Boston one; slightly more suburban).

          • bluline says:

            Eruvs are hypocritical in my opinion. They are simply a way to dodge the rules. But to each his own.

        • Kate says:

          Wouldn’t taking the stairs be more work than pushing a button?
          Wouldn’t walking around be more work than pushing a button?

          • Tiercelet says:

            You’re approaching this as though it’s supposed to make sense, when it isn’t going to unless you already accept all of the basic assumptions, including the authority of the religious authorities.

            …in other words, if you have to ask, you won’t believe the answer.

          • bee8boo8bop8 says:

            You are thinking of work as effort. The Jewish tradition defines work differently. The bible says the Israelites ceased building the Tabernacle on the Sabbath. The rabbinic sages determined the 39 categories of labor that were used to make the Tabernacle and deduced that there were forbidden. Any work from those categories is nit allowed on the Sabbath. One of those categories is creating a fire. A small spark is created when an electrical circuit is completed, so doing so, as in flipping a light switch or pushing an elevator button, is forbidden.

            If you accept the authority of the Bible and the authority of the rabbinic tradition to interpret it, this is a logical explanation. If you don’t it sounds totally bonkers.

            • Promethean Sky says:

              Here’s a thought. Use a button involving a potentiometer rather than a momentary switch. No spark, no problem.

      • Dukebruno says:

        As a kid our family belonged to a reformed (Jewish) temple. In the bathrooms they didn’t have rolls of toilet paper they had a dispenser like the kind used to hold folded paper towels one at a time except the sheets of toilet paper were about 3 inches square. How the hell are you supposed to clean up after a big dump with these tiny squares of paper? Exasperating!

    • AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

      I think this is more about missrepresentation than religon.

      If a company says all their food is made in copper pots, with spring water from France…and that’s what you pay a premium for…you should get it.

    • InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

      Regardless of how you feel about the religious beliefs of keeping kosher, the fact remains that this company promised to provide a product, and charged a premium for that product, and then delivered a product that was not as advertised. The fact that this was not discovered until a later date does not change any of the above.
      I don’t think anybody is saying this is a consumer health issue. It’s a matter of not delivering the goods or services that the company promised and was paid for.

  8. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

    Not to blame the people, but didn’t they check the facilities? It’s kind of hard to hide the fact you don’t have two kitchens, unless you pull some Sgt. Bilko like hi-jinks using mirrors. If it is that important to you, you need to do some due diligence.

    • chiieddy says:

      I agree. They should also request the kosher certification documentation and make a call to the rabbi to find out when he last inspected the facilities.

    • ajaxd says:

      When you go to a restaurant do you demand to see their kitchen before you order? I like it when the kitchen is in clear view (like in most pizzerias and Chinese take-out places) but most often it’s not the case.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

        If I were abiding by a religious code, yes, I would, or at least ask to see certification.

  9. El_Fez says:

    While I don’t care what invisible man in the sky you pray to and/or what mythology you believe, if a business says one thing, they deliver on that thing – period. Very uncool of them.

  10. Jeff asks: "WTF could you possibly have been thinking? says:

    If I buy some Kosher salt and put it in my non-Kosher kitchen cupboard, do then have just plain salt?

    • bee8boo8bop8 says:

      Salt is a mineral and therefore inherently kosher. Kosher salt is actually used for making meat kosher. Jews can’t eat blood and back in the day, you’d have to put salt on the surface of the meat to draw out the blood. Standard table salt is too fine and will just dissolve into the meat. Coarser salt won’t draw out the blood. Kosher salt is the proper grain for this. These days, most meat is treated with salt to draw out the blood in the factory, so people don’t do this at home.

      Also, kosher food in a sealed package is just fine in a non kosher kitchen.

  11. benminer says:

    Kosher or any other religion based dietary restrictions are laughable and pointless. You’re paying for the food and the serving of food, not how it was made or what other foods might have been stored next to it. This is just my opinion.

    • JennQPublic says:

      If you agree to provide an irrational service for a price, then you are obligated to provide the service you agreed to, not what your personal beliefs consider ‘good enough’.

      Don’t like it? Don’t offer kosher meal service.

    • Rachacha says:

      I came to this conclusion long ago. I was raised Catholic and had some relatives that were Priests and Nuns. Our family obeyed all of the fasting and no meat rules during lent until opening day for the local minor league baseball team occurred on a Friday… Meaning no meat. The local Bishop gave all fans attending the ball game a dispensation and allowed them to partake in the consumption of beef hot dogs. My mother saw this on the news as she was suffering through a frozen fish filet and from that day forward we no longer fasted.

    • JennQPublic says:

      Yes, there can not possibly be any value to cultures and traditions that have lasted thousands of years. Performing the same pointless rituals that your ancestors have couldn’t possibly give anyone a sense of belonging to something larger than themselves, or of having a spiritual connection to their extended family. And even if they did, those things are stupid and pointless. Our time is much better spent ridiculing other peoples’ family traditions on the Internet.

    • Lucky225 says:

      Great Opinion there benminer, so when someone asks for something well-done, it’s okay to cook it medium rare because who give’s a flying f*CK amirite? I’m sorry but when you ask for food cooked a certain way, that’s how it should be cooked, religious or not.

      • benminer says:

        If your religion said you could only eat well-done meat and that was the sole reason you were ordering it that way (as opposed to a legitimate food safety concern), I would ridicule that as well.

    • InsertPithyNicknameHere says:

      Actually, by paying a premium for kosher food, the customers *are* paying for the method of preparation. That’s inherent in the “kosher” part of the service being sold. So, if I pay for a service, and a company promises to deliver that service that I paid for, then it’s an issue if the company doesn’t follow through.

  12. BlueHighlighterNextToACoozie says:

    Dude that’s not kosher

  13. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    “Hey, is this food kosher?”

    “Yeah man, it’s cool.”

    “No, I mean, is it KOSHER?”

    “Yeah bro, it’s all cool.”

  14. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    I thought the opposite of kosher was treyf.

  15. Liam Kinkaid says:

    I understand there are no shades of gray when it comes to Kosher, but “opposite of Kosher” sounds like it was food made from the leftover pig’s blood after Carrie’s prom.

    /They’re all gonna laugh at you!

  16. Chipzilla says:

    To quote Chris Rock: “You think anyone in Rwanda’s got a lactose intolerance?”

    Kosher my ass.

    First world problems and the a*holes who complain about them… Who cares?

    • Rebecca K-S says:

      Apparently Chris Rock doesn’t understand the issue of lactose intolerance very well.

      • Chipzilla says:

        Maybe I didn’t make what I was trying to say clear enough…

        If you’re one of the people on this planet lucky (or blessed if you’re that way inclined) enough to have something to eat three times a day, you’re pretty special.

        People would kill to be in your position, never mind worry about something as insignificant as the religious aspect of how food was stored. Like I said, first world problems…

        • Rebecca K-S says:

          I understand that. It’s just a stupid “dietary restriction” to latch onto, given the prevalence of lactose intolerance in Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa (read: high).

    • bee8boo8bop8 says:

      Jews have kept kosher for millennia while living in conditions modern people would call third world. Muslims in the third world practice halal. Dietary restrictions are not the sole province of the rich.

  17. shthar says:

    Someone needs to smack the ish out of em!

  18. Mit Long says:

    Probably because he profiting from intentionally misleading others into violating their religious beliefs for 18 months before blowing the whistle and shedding crocodile tears.

  19. 8bithero says:

    Amazingly enough, no consumers of the quasi-Kosher foods combusted and went straight to Hell.

  20. maxamus2 says:

    So what is the penalty that Jews have if you don’t eat Kosher???

    • bee8boo8bop8 says:

      It’s a sin against god, but not against men. Unlike, say, murder, which is a sin against both.

      Furthermore, intent is an issue. In theory, eating kosher is good for your soul. So you damage your soul by not eating kosher, even if accidentally. For those who do no eat kosher intentionally, there are two categories. The rabbinic tradition considers modern Jews who grew up in non religious to not know any better. Just like a Jewish child who is kidnapped as an infant and raised by Gentiles wouldn’t know he was supposed to keep kosher, most modern Jews are assumed to be in the clear because they do not understand the importance of doing it or the religious benefits of doing so. Like the kidnapped child, they are blameless. For Jews who ought to know better, it’s definitely a sin against god. All sins against god are wiped clean on Yom Kippur.

  21. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Tainted. Just like your love.

  22. catgirl4276 says:

    I’m not Jewish, never was and don’t intend to be, but I do have a sister with an annoying food allergy and my best friend has a life-threatening one. It has been my experience that of all prepared-food establishments, only kosher, Indian and Chinese ones take the necessary precautions. To them, it’s a religious issue, so when they say there is no X in a given dish, they MEAN there is NO X in that dish, their hand to God/Buddha/Krishna/whoever, and they are so used to being religiously careful that a pack of girls who come in and say “May we have these dishes without ingredient Y, we are allergic,” is no big deal at all. In fact, we’ve all been to several kosher places where the variance in levels and specific quirks of the Law mean they place EVERY ingredient on the menu, so it’s even safer there because you never have to ask. They’re also incredibly understanding of the mustard and shellfish problem and couldn’t be nicer about it, whereas we’ve gone to less persnickety places and gotten sick because “Oh…I thought you just didn’t LIKE shellfish!” That would NEVER fly in a kosher joint.

    Seriously, for people with allergies, ‘kosher’ is a glowing electric sign that translates to ‘We will not attempt to kill you with food and will, in fact, treat you like normal customers when every other place but your own kitchen thinks you are a mutant freak.’ (To be fair, I’m aware that we kind of, y’know, are, but it’s not something we can help.) To claim to be kosher when one is not is like saying you have 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound when you’ve actually got two speakers and a subwoofer, or saying you have gourmet kettle corn made on-site when it’s actually just day-old regular heated up under lights. Not everyone may notice the difference, but those who do are going to be very, VERY pissed.

    And those are just movie-theater metaphors. Caterers work much more important events than that!

    Supposing some of the shellfish spattered into something else. Suddenly you have a poor, helplessly allergic maid of honor who’d thought would be safe because her beloved older sister sprang for the kosher caterer to make sure she would be okay, and not only is she dressed in hideous pastel taffeta, but her face is swollen to double its’ natural size, her throat is tightening and the groom, out of nowhere, whips some Benadryl out of his suit pocket. I mean, sure, the bride knows for damn sure that she picked the right guy in that moment, but her poor sister! She’s never likely to live it down, even IF ‘what the bride said to the caterer’ becomes a far flashier family anecdote.

    …Not that I know anything about this sort of thing…

    • bobloblaw says:

      *exect VEGETARIAN* in chinese restaurants. they dont know the meaning of the word. I’ve tried for 15 years.. .they just dont get it. (obviously, not ALL, just most.)

  23. Juhgail says:

    I want to go on the record for Morell Caterers. I used them for my wedding and they were perfect. Their facity was amazing and the service was excellent. They would NEVER conpramise their integrity, even in lean times, by having non kosher food.

    This story was picked up and does NOT reflect the WHOLE story. They are being sued by a business partner for whateer reason. ALL of a sudden, this ex-partner goes out and accuses them of something. Sounds VERY fishy to me.

    This company is EXEMPLARY, and again, would NEVER risk their reputation on something as terrible and hurtful to their business and reputation as this.

  24. Juhgail says:

    I want to go on the record for Morell Caterers. I used them for my wedding and they were perfect. Their facity was amazing and the service was excellent. They would NEVER conpramise their integrity, even in lean times, by having non kosher food.

    This story was picked up and does NOT reflect the WHOLE story. They are being sued by a business partner for whateer reason. ALL of a sudden, this ex-partner goes out and accuses them of something. Sounds VERY fishy to me.

    This company is EXEMPLARY, and again, would NEVER risk their reputation on something as terrible and hurtful to their business and reputation as this.