OU Branches Out With New Kosher Cooking Initiative: Simply Kosher!

27 Jun 2007


Long the global leader in kosher certification, the Orthodox Union is now not only cooking up some tasteful programming on its website, www.ou.org, but is planning to launch a kosher cooking channel of its own. Negotiations are currently in progress with major networks to make OU’s innovative kosher programming available to television audiences in North America and around the world.

Later this summer, the OU will debut its cooking program, Simply Kosher, which will feature noted chefs. The first in the series of shows will be sponsored by Gold’s: Gold Pure Food Products Co., Inc. A long-time OU certified company, Gold’s is famous for manufacturing horseradish, and is well known for its humorous commercials around Passover. It also makes other condiments and products; its affiliate production lines are Nathan’s Products, Uncle Dave’s products and Chef Allen’s products.

According to Barry Mase, OU Media Sales Director, “We expect that this new exciting broadcast initiative will really take off with our partner food companies. For the first time we will now be able to offer to our OU certified food companies a whole new level of exposure and brand marketing to reach the Kosher consumer – the first of its kind.”

“This is very exciting and we know that this is going to take off in a big way with our audience,” he said.

The cooking program will feature kosher experts on a rotating basis. The first eight episodes will be hosted by Jamie Geller, a former HBO producer and a freelance producer for the Food Network, whose new book may be found on bookshelves across the country this fall, Quick & Kosher: Recipes from the Bride Who Knew Nothing. The idea for the cookbook developed shortly after she traded in her career for homemaking. On her website, Mrs. Geller writes that as a newlywed she soon realized that she didn’t know her “way to the kitchen” much less the “difference between a spatula and a saucepan,” which is when she set out to learn anything and everything about cooking, the kosher way.

Beginning in August, she will host the first in the series of kosher cooking videos, featuring Quick and Easy recipes. Products to be used on the show will be OU certified. Ricky Magder, the show’s creator and producer, is currently working with other chefs to provide innovative and exciting programming to the Jewish audience.

“It’s an opportunity to bring world class chefs together with great products in a way that speaks directly to the kosher consumer,” Mr. Magder said.

The show will be a part of a larger kosher cooking channel on the OU website, which will also include noted personalities in the world of food such as Ashley Farnell, Norene Gilletz and Harvey Pearlman. They are already known on the OU website for their contribution to Shabbat Shalom, OU’s weekly newsletter.

Chef Ashley Farnell trained in Leeds, England and traveled extensively through Europe before working in the famous Toronto hotel, The King Edward. Mr. Farnell served as a personal chef to the Royal Family; the former Prime Minister of Great Britain, Margaret Thatcher; the former Prime Minister of Canada, Jean Chretien; Bill Clinton; Mayor of Jerusalem; Sir Elton John; Eric Clapton, Phil Collins; Tina Turner; The Rolling Stones; and European soccer teams as well as professional hockey teams.

On the OU website, the self-described “culinary magician” shares with kosher consumers his food journeys from around the world. On a monthly basis he offers tantalizing recipes ranging from Yorkshire pudding to Kwarezimal – Almond Cakes, a Mediterranean delicacy.

Joining him is a well-known cookbook writer from Canada, Norene Gilletz, who founded Gourmania, Inc., which provides nutrient analysis and food labels for the food industry. As she declares, her “life simply revolves around recipes!” She will share her food memories, stories and delicious recipes in The Flavor of Memory weekly column.

Her book publications include The Low Iodine Diet Cookbook; Healthy Helpings!; The Food Processor Bible; Second Helpings, Please!; MicroWays; and Pleasures of Your Food Processor. They’re treasured in homes around the world including Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, Israel, South Africa, England, Mexico.

Also, in the team is OU’s very own Kitchener “Rebbe,” Harvey Pearlman, a dynamic personality whose career has spanned teaching classmates how to make marinara sauce as part of his science project; to singing in a popular choir; to working for the legendary Zabar’s on Broadway in Manhattan; to opening his own restaurants in Brooklyn — the Garden of Eat In and Gourmet. His roles shift daily from being a chef, restaurateur, gourmet food and equipment expert, to now answering kitchen questions on the OU website.

To partner with the OU and for more information contact Mr. Mase, at 212-613-8176 or maseb@ou.org.