The Jew And The Carrot

Gourmet Kosher, at a Farmers' Market Near You

By Renee Ghert-Zand

  • Print
  • Share Share
Courtesy of the Kosher Palate

Farmers market booths and food trucks don’t usually come to mind when one thinks of glatt kosher food. But that’s exactly how Michele Grant of The Kosher Palate is bringing organic, locally and sustainably sourced delights to Los Angeles’ kosher community.

Her food truck, Hannah Leah (named for her two grandmothers), sells vegetarian and vegan twists on traditional Jewish food for market goers to snack on or take home.

“I’m focused on broadening the palate of kosher eaters by introducing them to world cuisine and new culinary trends and techniques,” Grant explained. “But I am also trying to remove the stigma other people associate with glatt kosher food, to get people to stop crinkling their noses at the mention of it.”

Her “Ish-knish” is made with whole grain dough with squash or sweet potatoes mixed in. The filling contains roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions and a tapioca-based cheese substitute. She makes a matzo brie kugel topped with a sweet Sephardic eggplant sauce drizzled with a tofutti cream on top. “People taste the eggplant sauce and think it’s made from figs or quince,” Grant said.

Co-founder The Grilled Cheese Truck,, Grant knows what it will take to keep her new truck running, but she wasn’t always a food-world wiz.

Grant, 46, started her career working on movies. When she was working as assistant director on “The Wedding Singer,” she sustained a serious head injury in a fall. “I literally and figuratively relearned balance and saw the world in a different way,” Grant said. “You get one body per lifetime and it’s all about how you nourish it.”

Although she had no formal training in cooking, ditched her movie world job for a spot in the kitchen. She combined her interest in food and wellbeing with recipes and techniques learned in her mother and grandmothers’ kitchens to create her unique culinary style.

Her version of the popular Israeli shakshuka is an ode to her Romanian grandmother. She serves the tomato-based stew in a bowl of baked mamaliga (a Romanian yellow maize porridge akin to polenta) and tops it with a coddled quail’s egg instead of a poached hen’s egg. And her “meshuga breakfast biscuit,” combines layers tofutti sour cream, homemade zhug (Yeminite hot sauce, which she makes without oil) and a fried quail egg on top of fried donut dough.

While Grant, attended Jewish day school growing up, she’s not Orthodox or a strict observer of kashrut in her personal life. It was an invitation to a Purim seudah (festive meal) at the home of an Orthodox family six years ago that set Grant on her path toward The Kosher Palate. “I brought salad ingredients from my garden and the farmers market, including onion and garlic flowers, and made the salad at their home using their kosher utensils,” she recalled. “None of the women with me in the kitchen had ever heard of eating a flower. I watched them eat this kind of food for the first time and it sparked the idea for my business.”

Grant is ultimately aiming to open a The Kosher Palate shop stocked with kosher specialty items and her fresh prepared food. She likened her vision of the store to a glatt kosher Dean & DeLuca and suggested that at that point she might branch out to milk dishes and meat dishes, as well.

“At the heart of kashrut is the idea that you are what you eat, that you know where your food is coming from,” she said. “Food has sacredness in it. It’s that spark of life when it’s fresh from the field and has maximum nutrients. To me, that’s what it’s really all about.”

The Kosher Palate, which operates under the supervision of the Rabbinical Council of California, can be found Sundays at the Mar Vista Farmer’s Market and Thursdays at the La Cienega Farmer’s Market and Sunset Strip Farmer’s Market.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Farmers Market, Michele Grant, The Kosher palate

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.