Known to many as the Kosher Guy or Kosher Police, Menachem Vorst spends his life surrounded by all aspects of the food business. His work at the Charlotte Jewish Day School as the food service manager, kosher supervisor, and cafeteria chef led to him becoming Charlottes only kosher gourmet soup salesman and kosher caterer for occasions such as bar/bat mitzvahs, parties, and meetings. A native of Amsterdam, Vorst was a restaurant manager in Holland before moving to Charlotte in 2004 and becoming a jack-of-all-kosher-trades.
Creative Loafing: Why keep kosher?
Menachem Vorst: The Torah gives guidelines for what makes food kosher. A simple breakdown is that kosher animals need to have split hooves and chew their cud and need to be slaughtered in a certain way. Insects arent kosher. Fish need to have scales and fins to be kosher. The Torah gives us the guidelines on what is kosher and what is not, and we cannot consume anything that has non-kosher ingredients. As a kosher person, you cannot go into a regular restaurant and buy a soup because even if all the ingredients are kosher, its still made in a kitchen that has produced non-kosher items. Jewish law has thousands of pages on it.
How did you earn the title of Kosher Police?
Its a school job where I make sure that whatever the kids bring to school (if they dont buy school lunch) needs to have a kosher symbol. If it doesnt have a kosher symbol, I replace it with a different snack. Sometimes we have smart kids that will bring in something without a kosher symbol because my snacks are better.
Why did you decide to sell gourmet kosher soup in Charlotte?
I thought it would be an interest for the people in Charlotte to get good kosher soups so we decided to make a variety of gourmet soups that we sell frozen so you can have it any time you want. All soups are vegetarian, come in three sizes, and they are made by a very experienced chef, Gene. Papa Genos Gourmet Kosher Soup is available in French onion, tomato basil, zucchini squash, roasted potato and garlic, corn chowder, and hearty vegetable. 8 ounces costs $2, 16 ounces costs $3.90, and a quart costs $7.50.
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photo: Menachem Vorst enjoying kosher food at Gleibermans Deli & Grille.