If you’re in Kansas City on October 17, postpone your plans for barbecue and purchase a ticket for FED, the first kosher pop-up restaurant event created by the Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City (JFED KC) in partnership with Dinner Lab. Live jazz by local musician Mark Southerland gets the cocktail hour started in a non-traditional restaurant space: an iconic modernist office building in midtown. A five-course meal offers plenty of time to visit with old friends, make new ones and learn more about the Federation and its support of people in need in Kansas City and beyond.
JFED KC’s mission is to sustain and enhance Jewish life at home and around the world, and the organization focuses its work in five areas of service:
- Safety Net Services to assist people in acute need locally and around the globe, either with everyday needs like food and shelter or in times of crisis.
- Youth and Family Services to help children and families stay active and engaged in Jewish life.
- Senior Adult Services to ensure that seniors are able to maintain the highest possible quality of life, including remaining in their homes longer.
- Israel and Overseas to provide for the most basic needs of Jews overseas and to rekindle and revitalize Jewish life around the world.
- Jewish Identity and Education to help Jews connect to, and learn more about, their Judaism through a variety of educational opportunities in Kansas City and around the world.
Guests will have the opportunity to make an investment in these five areas of service with contributions of $100 or more to the Federation’s 2015 campaign.
For dinner, Alex Schifman, formerly executive chef at 801 Fish in Leawood and a contestant on the Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen, has created a playful five-course meal aligned with the five areas of service:
- The first course of “Faux Gras,” a chicken liver terrine served with persimmon coulis, tosses a “safety net” to hungry guests and carries them through to the next course.
- A light, fresh young family of fall mixed greens will be served with duck confit, pomegranate and pomegranate vinaigrette.
- Traditional house-made gravlax with potato latkes reminds Alex of his grandma.
- Figs give an Israeli influence to braised beef short ribs, served over Israeli couscous with tangerines and red bell pepper.
- A challah bread pudding/kugel with egg noodles, raisins, crushed pineapple, eggs and almond milk finishes the feast and speaks to our Jewish Identity.
This is Alex’s first time cooking a fully kosher meal, and he is looking forward to learning new techniques. For example, the chicken liver must be kashered by cooking it directly over an open flame. Alex says this extra step should add an additional layer of flavor before the liver is sautéed with onions and brandy in duck fat. And for the dessert, Alex is excited about a dairy-free crème anglaise preparation.
FED was created by a handful of Kansas City Federation staffers who got together to conceptualize a can’t-miss event targeting 30-to-50-year-olds. After months of debate, they came to a consensus that food would bring a diverse group of potential leaders and philanthropists together. They enlisted partner Dinner Lab to produce the event, and now they feel they have a template that can be borrowed and built upon by other Federations. The chef, venue, theme, menu and audience can all be tailored to create an event that is fresh and local to a given market. We hope that this fantastic community event of food, friends, music and tzedakah will indeed be the first of many such successful programs.