Monday, November 29, 2010

Coming Up Kosher

Photo by Micah Beree 507 Studio

Shaya Klechevsky
Classic Culinary Arts 2007

Our students come from diverse backgrounds, and half the fun as a student is the cultural diversity of fellow classmates, and all you can learn from them. Often students are excited to share their food traditions with others by bringing dishes and desserts they have made at home to class or by arranging a club outing to a favorite restaurant, highlight a particular cuisine. Along with this, many students fit what they learn here (yes, all those fancy French techniques) into a personalized course that incorporates their individual background.

This has been the course for Shaya Klechevsky, whose path proves you can attend culinary school while observing kosher law and that what might seem as a limitation to some was actually what became a passionate driving force for his career. Shaya came into school, after working as an administrator at a private Jewish high school, with no more training than the love he had for food and cooking. Attending an evening culinary program, Shaya remembers how hard he worked and particularly, chef Candy grilling the students with questions as they prepped and cooked—that you had to be on your toes at all times. He felt he walked away with valuable "confidence to go out and embark on his profession" and the "classic techniques to build off of." And through the process of working through each station and getting kitchen experience at L'Ecole, Shaya was able to refine what he wanted to do with his education.

roasted salmon fillet with mustard cream sauce

He knew he wanted to be a part of and contribute to what is available and going on in the kosher food industry. Not interested in restaurant work, Shaya decided to look into catering and being a personal chef. He found clients that were not interested in using a large caterer for smaller events, such as anniversary dinners or private fetes on large yachts, and from there he grew his business, servicing his clients with healthy, gourmet kosher food. At Your Palate was born.

champignon en croute

After the economy snagged on the rocks of the bursting housing bubble and subsequent Wall Street tremors and crumbles, Shaya found the party scene lackluster, necessitating a shift in business. But, as often comes with seemingly bad fortune, good things arose, leading Shaya into the world of teaching. Now his company has grown, and Shaya has a team of three chefs plus two interns. They still cater small parties and events, but now they also prepare cooking lessons for individuals and small groups—all with the personal touch. He "loves interacting with his clients and connecting people to food so they can really appreciate it."

Shaya is doing what he likes best, and in a way that is integral to who he is as a person. And the bonus? He is able to share all this with others.

truffled tuna tartar with caviar

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