By Deb Silverthorn
Dallas’ Jewish community is now being served deliciousness — specifically, kosher deliciousness — from the kitchen at the Fairmont Dallas hotel. Kosher meals are available for events involving
as few as 50 guests, or as many as 1,000 diners.
The Fairmont is creating meat, fish, and pareve menus to tempt any foodie’s tastebuds. A kosher wine list is also available.
“There is no reason to be limited in what we can serve our guests — everything we do is high-level and exquisite, a luxury menu,” said Sher, a Sabra who, after serving in the Israel Defense Forces, became an executive chef. Sher moved with the Fairmont hotels to Dallas three years ago, wanting to elevate the dining experience for all, including the kosher community.
“Previously, we couldn’t commit to an event more than six months in advance because of the requirements,” he said. “But now, with this tremendous change, we can walk in, turn on the lights, and be cooking. The camaraderie in our kitchen, and our relationship with Dallas Kosher, is fantastic.”
The Fairmont’s kosher kitchen, in its first week open, fed more than 250 guests of the American Jewish Congress and another 530 for the Texoma Regional office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), when it held its 2018 Larry Schoenbrun Jurisprudence Award Luncheon, Nov. 15, and was able to avail itself of the kosher menu.
“We’ve had events at the Fairmont for 28 years and this was seamless,” said ADL Texoma Director of Development Kerri Aikin Rosenberg.
The Fairmont is also the site of this year’s Schoenbrun luncheon and its Henry Cohn Humanitarian Award Dinner. “It was delicious, and everything about it was made very easy for us, the client,” Rosenberg said. “We look forward to many events in the future.”
Chad Mendelman, Fairmont’s director of catering and conference services, indicated that the kosher kitchen is the hotel’s next step in providing the best dining presentation. “Our best is now elevated and there’s little we can’t do,” said Mendelman, who arrived in Dallas last fall, bringing 10 years of his service with Fairmont hotels in Australia, Canada and San Francisco to the company. “We think out-of-the-box about how to modify recipes to meet kosher laws, but nothing we do is compromised at all, allowing us to serve intimate parties and mass meetings and celebrations.”
The Fairmont — which for more than two decades has turned a kitchen kosher every now and then, kashering appliances and utensils for events as they come — can now serve a more elaborate menu to greater-sized guestlists, and without the extensive planning that was needed previously. Having added new plates and silverware, two convection ovens, a flattop stove, a grill, fryer, sinks and dishwashers, work tables, a meat-slicer and more, there is little the hotel’s culinary experts can’t create.
“To lose the labor-intensive hours, really days, to turn a kitchen is priceless. Before, we had to clear a kitchen, kasher everything, prep for whatever the menu; now, so much of that is cut out and it makes a difference all around,” said Dallas Kosher’s Director of Supervision Rabbi David Shawel. His DK team helped coordinate and supervise the kashering of everything related to the Fairmont.
During Passover and Hanukkah, the hotel hopes to expand the menu, exploring options of meals to go and other new opportunities to serve the community.
“Dallas Kosher has had a wonderful relationship with the Fairmont and we appreciate the significant investment that was made to create this beautiful kitchen,” said Meira Naor, executive director of Dallas Kosher. “The new equipment, the staff which is knowledgeable, educated, dedicated to kashrut, and which has experienced little turnover in our years together, is something we’re so happy to be a part of.”
Seemingly, the Fairmont, and Dallas Kosher, and the many cooks in the kitchen, are the right combination of ingredients for our community.