Kosherfest Carries On


Hurricane Sandy may have crippled New York and New Jersey, knocking out power, displacing thousands from their homes, complicating the elections and, after some mayoral flip-flopping, leading to the cancellation of the New York Marathon.

But it is not getting in the way of Kosherfest, the annual trade show of the kosher food industry scheduled for Nov.13-14.

On Nov. 1, an e-mail was sent out to all registered Kosherfest attendees assuring them the event, the 24th of its kind, would go on as planned. The Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, N.J., is “fully operational, with power, and did not experience any damage from the storm,” the e-mail said, adding that “we are confident that the roads and bridges will be open, and that airports will be fully functioning prior to your trip.”

A representative for Kosherfest told The Jewish Week that “we don’t know of any [vendors] that have had to change show plans as of now. We’ve had no cancellations, even with exhibitors coming here from Israel, Argentina and the Philippines.”

More than 320 exhibitors are expected to be at the conference, which will feature hundreds of new products, including Kosherfest New Product Award winners, such as Gelato Petrini’s chocolate peanut butter gelato made from soymilk, Jack’s Gourmet’s “Facon,” “Spicy Italian Style Salami” and Foodman’s “Matzolah,” a kosher-for-Passover granola.

In addition, as of press time, about 50 people were signed up to attend a separate kosher bloggers’ conference and “social media dinner” in Manhattan the day before Kosherfest.

The bloggers’ conference offers a day of presentations and panels. Cookbook author Jamie Geller will give the keynote address, and there will also be a food photography demonstration, panel discussion on making money from blogs, a cooking demo by cookbook author and former restaurateur Levana Kirschenbaum and tips on search-engine optimization.

Organized by bloggers Melinda Strauss and Shelley Serber, the pre-conference aims to “create a community around kosher bloggers and brands,” Strauss said.

Paula Shoyer, author of “The Kosher Baker” and a cooking instructor in Maryland, has been coming to Kosherfest for about six years. “People have been kind of meeting informally at Kosherfest and then last year we had the social media dinner which was just great,” she said. “I think we’ve all started to see that … working together can help everyone.”

Shoyer’s plans to drive up on Monday and stay through Wednesday haven’t changed because of the storm, though she is concerned about refilling with gas in the New Jersey area.

Ronnie Fein, the author of “Hip Kosher” and a Stamford, Conn. resident, says she has gone to Kosherfest for the past several years and jumped at the chance to attend the bloggers conference.

“We’re all sort of in touch with each other in the kosher blogging and writing community and somebody mentioned it,” she said.

Kosher bloggers will also attend the second annual pre-Kosherfest social media dinner, organized by the SweetUP Team of Esti Berkowitz and Abbey Wolin and Founders, Roberta Scher and Lois Held. The event was billed as an “exclusive night for bloggers, social media personalities and journalists to network and connect with brands, businesses and cookbook authors.”

The menu for the dinner includes a smoked brisket eggroll, chicken dijon with herbed sourdough stuffing and warm apple cobbler with bourbon caramel sauce