Co-founder, Jack’s Gourmet Kosher Sausage
How did a dentist become involved in a sausage, meat company?
I am a dentist who loves cooking and as a result I take kosher cooking classes at DeGustibus Cooking School in Macy*s (NY, NY). There is always something to learn from the great chefs that teach there...David Kolotkin of Prime Grill, Jose Meirelles and Mark Hennessey of Le Marais, Jeff Nathan of Abigaels, Seth Warshaw of Etc. Steakhouse (Teaneck NJ) and others...
And then, a class on pairings of meat and beer was being given in my Brooklyn neighborhood by Chef Jack Silberstein, a graduate of the CIA. Even though I am not a beer drinker, Jack made four incredible meat dishes and paired them with very interesting beers. I was more than impressed, so I took a second class with him on pairing cheeses and wines. After that class when Jack, my wife and I, finished the left over wines.... well you know what happens when you've had a good amount of wine...one thing lead to another and I challenged a professional chef to a "Jerk Chicken Throwdown"
The outcome is irrelevant, other than it forged a friendship that went beyond teacher and student. I asked Jack to teach me how to make pastrami, and after I purchased a smoker and aromatic woods, Jack and I started to make the best pastrami anyone had ever tasted, bar none. I then asked Jack to teach me how to make sausage and well, the rest is history. Friends and family were blown away by the quality and taste of kosher products that simply were not available to kosher consumers. Their encouragement, and our commitment to kosher quality, was the impetus to create "Jack's Gourmet". We launched our product line at Kosherfest 2010. It was there that Susie Fishbein went on the radio to say, "Jack's Gourmet was best in show" in her opinion.
Are your products all beef, or do you also use lamb, veal, chicken etc.?
Our present product line uses all beef with the exception of our Mexican Style Chorizo, which contains chicken also (as can be found on the label). We utilize beef which is free of antibiotics and hormones.
What is your most popular product(s)?
Remarkably, I have found all of our sausage sells equally well, although that would be in total! There are regional differences. In locations in the east, where there is a larger population of South Africans, our Boerewors sells better than regions where the product is not as well known. Texans love our Chorizos in their Tex-Mex cuisine, as midwesterners love our "Brats".
In truth, our products do well across the board and when I give tastings in stores/supermarkets I ask "which is your favorite" and most people respond, "I like them all"
At the "Kosher Food and Wine Experience 2011" we served our Bratwurst on slider buns with Tarragon mustard and Caraway sauerkraut. We also served Chorizo Tacos; by sautéing our chorizos and serving them on hot corn tortillas with guacamole and salsa Fresca. The guacamole was made with 2 avocados, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper. The salsa Fresca was made from 3 Roma tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped, 1 small red onion, 1/2 bunch cilantro, 1 jalapeno, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper — all pulsed in a food processor until chopped and combined. (A KosherEye note: Our tasters at the 2011 Kosher Food and Wine Experience enjoyed Jack’s presentation!)
Where can the consumer purchase your products?
We have national distribution, so it is so hard to keep tabs of how many stores are carrying our products. We do realize that many kosher consumers live in areas with few if no "Jewish markets". Our website, which is close to completion, will allow e-commerce for us to directly ship our products nationwide.
(Readers, KosherEye will let you know when Jack’s is open for online ordering)
March 9, 2011