A few months ago, I came across CraftedKosher.com, a beautiful, user-friendly online shop wholly dedicated to kosher specialty food from around the globe. On the “About” page, I found the story of the founder, Dovid Paige, and a special tribute to his late mother, who inspired his passion for all things food. As someone with a line of kosher specialty products—Voilà! Hallah Egg Bread Mixes—I was curious and reached out to Paige to learn about his motivation for launching Crafted Kosher.
Crafted Kosher is the kind of kosher enterprise one would expect to be the brainchild of hipster Jewish Brooklynites. However, the third of seven children, Dovid Page, is a devout Jew, the son of ba’alei teshuva (secular Jews who “returned” to Judaism and became Orthodox). Orphaned of her mother at age 12, Paige’s mother became a terrific self-taught cook who, as Page describes, prepared simple and delicious fare and “always enjoyed sharing her food.” With a background in art, she composed beautiful, professional looking fruit platters for community celebrations.
A favorite dish, Paige recalls, was a pot of simmering Hawaiian chicken in a sauce made from just a few very simple ingredients: ketchup, brown sugar and chunks of canned pineapple. He found that he enjoyed using his mother’s recipes as the base for creating his own more complex concoctions.
Paige passed through several stations before CraftedKosher.com came to be. He, too, started cooking at a young age. First, he mastered the art of his mother’s cholent and, at 14, sold it to his friends for $1.25 a bowl. Later, a friend taught him how to become a third-party seller on Amazon, and about two years ago, with the encouragement of a very persuasive friend, he started selling Aufschnitt beef jerky online.
What initially seemed like a nutty idea turned out to be a successful experiment. So he thought he should diversify and create a collection of trendy kosher food from around the world, making it accessible to the kosher consumer. Thus CraftedKosher.com was born. He quickly moved from packing boxes on his dining room table to running a business with employees and his own warehouse, based in Owings Mill, Maryland.
Of course, the road to launching Crafted Kosher was not without its bumps. Developing a system to track well over 1,000 unique products is no small feat. Today, Paige enjoys “walking up and down the aisles of a trendy food store and looking to find some hidden treasure.” More often than not, the mark of kosher certification eludes him. Nevertheless, the e-store now offers kosher gourmet fare, from beef and salmon jerky to an array of flavored balsamic vinegars and coconut caramels. I am proud to offer my own bread mixes on Crafted Kosher’s website, too.
The spirit of sharing he learned from his mother seems to have stuck with Paige. Like her, he derives immense joy from sharing his culinary finds with the community of kosher foodies. He still loves cooking. Only instead of ketchup and canned pineapple, his chicken is treated with the likes of honey and truffle pâté.
Top photo: Sensational Sweets pizzas, which are available on CraftedKosher.com (photo courtesy of Crafted Kosher).
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