Chateau goes kosher
Pesach on the Mountain returns
By Chris Woodall
The Chateau Whistler undertook a major — but temporary — renovation of its banquet kitchen to conform to Jewish dietary laws last year, and the success paid off in a return visit for Pesach in the Mountains.
Starting this weekend, more than 300 guests from around the world are expected to spend the 10-day Jewish Passover holiday at the Chateau, observing the holiday's rituals and attending study sessions featuring a list of distinguished scholars.
The hotel is beefing up its staff, adding 50 part-timers to a total complement of 100 just for the occasion.
Among the lecturers is Rabbi Dr. Jonathon Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom; Seymour Reich, a lawyer and long-time activist and leader in world Jewish affairs; and Rabbi Laible Wolf, founder and director of the Human Development Institute.
The visit won't be all work and no play as entertainers are being brought in from Israel.
Judging from the spread laid out last year, the guests will eat very well, too.
This year the Chateau is getting direct aid in setting up and operating its kosher kitchens from New York caterer Mark Hametz and his chef, Avrum Weisman.
Kosher for Passover food will be flown in from Montreal, Los Angeles and New York.
Creating a kosher kitchen fundamentally means separating food groups to prevent cross-contamination.
Dairy foods are kept apart from meats. A third group — pareve, or neutral — include fruits, vegetables and chocolate.
There's no fooling around when it comes to creating a kosher kitchen in a hotel. Last year the Chateau built walls to divide its banquet kitchen into the different areas. Each section was then thoroughly purified by propane-powered flame.
Even dishes and cutlery are kept separate and used for only one kind of food.
And to ensure no mistakes are made, the kitchen will have "guards" to watch that no one slips up and desecrates a purified area.