Written by Laura Guerrero-Almeida
Kosher Korner (KK) is located in the C4 Dining Center and is Orthodox Union certified. Binghamton University Dining Services (BUDS) acknowledges KK plays a vital role in our community by serving students who observe a Kosher diet. It also stands proudly as one of the few Kosher establishments in Broome County.
"It is the only Kosher restaurant that serves cooked food and is open in the region," said Rabbi Benjamin Kellman, KK's supervisor. "It is an integral part of the campus community because it makes it possible for Jewish students who observe a Kosher diet to attend this University."
BUDS expanded KK's menu to provide more variety and accommodate nutritional needs that extend beyond a Kosher lifestyle. The process began in Fall 2020, when Sam Pfaffenbach, CEC, C4 Executive Chef, connected with students to learn about their dining preferences.
"I asked the students that hand out the Shabbat Boxes what food options they want to see," Pfaffenbach said, "they told me that they would put out a survey if it was ok with me - of course, I agreed."
Many students completed the survey; they were enthusiastic about elevating the menu because KK allows them to comply with standard dietary, religious guidelines.
The Spring 2021 menu now features diverse, traditional and non-traditional dishes such as Vegetarian Chicken Parmesan, Chicken Pot Pies, Cheese Calzones, among other options. Every meal also has an extra main course and additional vegetables.
"The advancement is significant for our Kosher-observant students for whom this kitchen is their only option of cooked food in town," said Kellman.
Per Orthodox Union rules, the station has two kitchens; one for dairy or foods served with dairy and another for meat or food that accompanies it. Kellman's role is to ensure that meals coming in and out of the kitchen are proper for a Kosher observer.
"Kosher food is food prepared according to the rules of Kashrut found in the written and oral Torah," Kellman said. "Most of the laws have to do with animal products. Raw fruit and vegetables are always kosher - as long as one is sure that there are no bugs. We avoid non-kosher food in the kosher kitchen like a person with a severe peanut allergy avoids peanuts in their kitchen."
BUDS does not only work to meet students' basic nutritional needs; we also strive to delight our customers with flavorful meals. We always welcome student feedback - it allows us to improve our services.
"Many students have commented to me on their pleasure and appreciation," Kellman said. "They feel like their voices are being heard and that people are making decisions with them in mind."