On Kosher Menu Planning, for Patti Klos

Tufts University works with the Jewish community to create kosher concept.

At Tufts University, in Medford, Mass., dining services is currently working to create a kosher deli concept as part of a c-store, which is set to open next fall. Patti Klos, director of dining, spoke to FSD about the kosher menu planning process.

Q. How did the kosher concept come about?

We’ve been hearing from students for quite some time that they can’t keep kosher on our meal plan. The only opportunity they have is a Friday night Shabbat dinner that we put on. If you keep kosher during the week, most students would just be vegetarian and that is very limiting. Ultimately, our goal is to have kosher meat options available on a daily basis at each of our dining halls, but I think we are still several years away from that point. So for now we thought, if we had an existing venue that could provide a place where we could do some kosher offerings, what would it be? We brainstormed and we came up with made-to-order deli offerings out of some under-utilized space in one of our c-store locations. 

Q. How did the menu planning process work?

We consulted the kashrut [Jewish dietary laws] to explore what we thought we could do for a menu strategy and whether it would satisfy them in terms of it meeting their needs as being appropriately kosher. For example, if you want to have a kitchen that is kosher then one of the critical decisions you have to make is what kind of appliances are you going to cook on? Because if you have an open flame, the mashgiach [a Jewish person who supervises the kashrut in a kosher establishment] have to light that flame every time it goes out, which means you need constant supervision. That just wasn’t going to be manageable for us. So we agreed that in a deli environment, we could purchase kosher meats that were already cooked. We are allowed to heat the precooked items if we wanted to serve them toasted, but we won’t be cooking it to order. They also gave us a few ideas of vendors in the Boston area, which led us to a great kosher pickle.

Q. Where does the menu stand now?

We haven’t finalized the menu yet, but we will serve sandwich meats like corned beef, roast beef, turkey and pastrami on a variety of breads. We might do some type of a smoked salmon. We will serve hummus, tahini, sour pickles, pasta salad, cole slaw and potato salad. We’d like to offer soup, but it’s not easy to source around here if it’s going to be kosher. Everything will be made to order, but it will be wrapped so the students can take it with them. We’ll also allow them to carry these items into the dining hall, which isn’t usually allowed. 

Q. What was the biggest challenge with the concept’s menu planning?

As much as we appreciate recommendations of ingredients that the [mashgiach] has reported to be more traditional or good quality, we try to contain or be mindful of how many different suppliers we are using. That way we can manage costs and make delivery minimums. The sourcing of the ingredients will be our [biggest] challenge.

Q. What advice would you give to other operators who might want to do something similar?

Involve the community to the greatest extent possible. Currently with the Shabbat program the mashgiach is actually a student and quite knowledgeable. It doesn’t have to be a rabbi on campus. There are members of the community who are keeping kosher that could give you information. Just be open-minded. The other piece of it is that Muslim students who want to have halal meat can usually eat kosher meat. So we are reaching out to that community as well to see how we can serve that population too. 

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
coffee senior living

From Keurig Green Mountain.

Healthcare foodservice represents the perfect environment for serving coffee. For the time-crunched staff, family and friends visiting patients, and seniors craving a treat, snack, or pick-me-up, coffee is considered a valuable amenity.

What’s more, purchasing beverages away from home is a popular habit. According to Technomic’s 2016 Beverage report, consumers average 3.6 drink purchases per week from foodservice outlets. And coffee is one of the most popular beverage options— Technomic’s 2016 Snacking Occasion report found 61% of consumers say...

Industry News & Opinion

South Valley Preparatory School in Albuquerque, N.M., has launched a range of healthy eating initiatives to combat obesity, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

The initiatives are in response to a State of Obesity report that stated that nearly a quarter of 10- to 17-year-olds in New Mexico were overweight or obese in 2016. The school banned junk food on campus during school hours for both students and staff, and offers healthy seasonal meals in its cafeteria. Students also take weekly trips to local farms to get an inside look at where their food comes from.

While the school...

Industry News & Opinion

Food delivery company Good Uncle is expanding to 15 college campuses this fall, The Daily Orange reports.

The company plans to grow along the East Coast and is looking at opening at schools such as George Washington University, Pennsylvania State University, Villanova University and American University. Good Uncle hopes to open at 50 to 100 campuses by 2019.

Starting as a delivery-only kitchen in 2016, Good Uncle partners with local restaurants to recreate their popular dishes and then deliver them to college students. The company offers free delivery, no delivery minimum...

Ideas and Innovation
wahoo tacos

School lunch is heating up. As expectations rise in the noncommercial sector, the old-fashioned cafeteria has become a hot topic. Political pressure on schools has seesawed over the past eight years, and nutritional regulations on items like sodium and whole grains have been overhauled (and back again). Meanwhile, students, parents, teachers, administrators and policymakers are demanding more healthfulness and better taste from school meals, often for the same cost.

Yet the industry’s best are dedicated to getting better, even while looking to the future with caution. “There’s not...

FSD Resources