Kosher, Kosher style, glatt Kosher, not-so-Kosher. These are just some of the terms you’ll hear when you’re dealing with a Jewish event. It’s important you learn about the subtle and not so subtle differences in Jewish diet restrictions so you can be prepared for any Kosher request.
Generally, some families prefer kosher and some will opt for kosher style. That sounds basically the same but they are actually worlds apart.
Strictly Glatt Kosher means that the food, ingredients, utensils, and ovens used in making the food ALL adhere to the Kosher standards and are overseen by a mashgiach, a designated Kosher overseer. Technically, the term Glatt refers to a certain quality of animal (defect free), although these days Glatt Kosher tends to imply simply a higher form of Kosher. Glatt Kosher refers to meat; Cholov Yisroel refers to a higher form of dairy (see our Shavuot post for more on Cholov Yisroel).
All the ingredients in AND process of cooking chicken marsala must be kosher, the chicken must be bought from a recognized kosher establishment, and the oven has to be cleansed for cooking kosher products. It’s intensive, yes!
Kosher style is simply saying that you’ll cook a meal that resembles a Kosher meal (such as brisket, chicken soup, matza ball soup, or tzimmes) but doesn’t conform to all the guidelines listed above. A major major difference, so large in fact that when a consumer hears that a location is Kosher Style, they may never give your establishment a second chance should you decide to become fully kosher.
If your venue can accommodate kosher and not just kosher style, you’ll be able to cast a wider net and attract ALL of the groups of Jewish event planners, Orthodox especially. Ever since the Monsey meat scandal and the erroneous Long Island caterer drama, standards of Kosher meat has become an even higher priority for event planners.
Our suggestion is to always ensure Glatt Kosher standards. Respecting the dietary laws of Orthodox and Traditional family members and guests at their events, and having kosher style simply may not be enough, according to the stricter Orthodox kosher guidelines.