TEANECK, NJ (JTA) – – Jewish deli food has been experiencing a resurgence over the past several years.
Now it’ll have its reality television moment.
Kosher-keeping chef Shalom Yehudiel of The Humble Toast in Teaneck, New Jersey, will be a contestant on “Chopped,” a competition cooking show on the Food Network. The restaurant’s menu features traditional Jewish deli foods like potato knishes and a pastrami sandwich on rye alongside more modern additions like a truffle burger or a cheeseburger (with vegan cheese, of course).
“When they approached me, I called my rabbi to consult,” Yehudiel told NorthJersey.com. “I run a kosher restaurant, so I just don’t want to say yes if I can’t cook kosher.”
“Chopped” contestants prepare a three-course meal but must use a selection of specific ingredients in each course. The mystery ingredients can pose problems for kosher-keeping contestants who will not eat certain ingredients or combine meat and milk.
Yehudiel will be the latest contestant on the show to have a mashgiach, a kosher supervisor, certifying that his ingredients are kosher. Rachel Goldzal of Staten Island, New York, won the competition in 2018 at just 12 years old. Producers worked with Rachel to ensure all the ingredients would be kosher and provided her with all new kitchen utensils, according to the Orthodox news site Vos Iz Neias.
In 2014, then 12-year-old Eitan Bernath competed on the show, though he was unable to taste the food due to the nonkosher kitchen utensils.
The episode featuring Yehudiel will air at 9 p.m. Sept. 22.