Former Shalhevet student wins “Next Great Kosher Chef” contest in N.Y.

THE 'MAMACITA LILI' SANDWICH:  Jasmine Einalhori named her prizewinning entry after her mom, Registrar and Facilities Director Lili Einalhori. Seen here in a snapshot for her video contest entry on YouTube, the sandwich is made of fried egg, fried pastrami and guacamole. Video by Molly Keene, BP Emeritus

Molly Keene, BP Emeritus

THE 'MAMACITA LILI' SANDWICH: Jasmine Einalhori named her prizewinning entry after her mom, Registrar and Facilities Director Lili Einalhori. Seen here in a snapshot for her video contest entry on YouTube, the sandwich is made of fried egg, fried pastrami and guacamole. Video by Molly Keene, BP Emeritus

Colleen Bazak, Staff Writer

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Former Shalhevet student Jasmine Einalhori, daughter of Registrar and Facilities Director Lili Einalhori and sister of freshman Josh, was named the “Next Great Kosher Chef” at an all-day competition sponsored by the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts in New York Dec. 12, and featured in a story about it in The New York Times.

The title gives Jazzie, a member of the class of 2006, a $5,000 scholarship to a 10-week intensive kosher cooking course at Brooklyn’s Center for Kosher Culinary Arts.

“Jasmine won because she scored the highest overall in all the challenges,” said Jesse Blonder, owner and director of the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts, in an interview with The Boiling Point.

“What I would say beyond that is that we were impressed by her because she had a really great attitude. She has lots of ‘hustle,’ meaning she was always moving quickly, and understood that time was important.”

Jazzie spent the days after her Sunday win receiving congratulatory phone calls and interview requests from the Jewish Press, Kosher.com and other news media. Then on Dec. 20, she graduated from NYU with a degree in hotel management.

“When I won, it didn’t really hit me until I woke up Monday morning,” Jazzie told The Boiling Point. “I didn’t really realize what it really was to be in the New York Times until I got that reaction from everyone. People who had seen the article kept calling, and everyone was so excited.”

Titled “At Kosher Chefs’ Cook-Off, Forget Foie Gras” — a reference to foie grois, a goose liver spread made by top chefs – the Times article’s online version includes a color slideshow (www.tinyurl.com/BPJasmine).

Freshman Josh Einalhori said he’s looking forward to eating his sister’s creations whenever she’s in town.

“My sister’s a great chef,” Josh said. “She’s better than my  mom and she learned it all from my dad. We’re all proud of her and we’re going to set our expectations much higher now that she’s a new cooking chef.”

The contest itself was not unlike chef competitions on reality TV shows, with a series of tasks to complete including several cooking challenges, an interview and in this case also a written exam that included questions on kashrut.

But first she had to become a finalist, which she did by submitting a video of herself in the kitchen.  The assignment was to cook an egg in as interesting a way as possible.

To make the video, she enlisted her friend and fellow NYU senior Molly Keene, Shalhevet class of 2006.  The video has received about 600 views on two YouTube sites.  http://www.tinyurl.com/BPJasminevideo. “My job was to capture the essence of Jazzie and show why she should be chosen,” said Molly, who is the daughter of music teacher Mrs. Joelle Keene. “It wasn’t difficult because Jazzie really is a great kosher chef.”

Molly and Jazzie reshot the video several times and at different angles.  Then, Molly edited it and uploaded it onto YouTube for the competition. Out of around 180 video submissions, theirs was chosen one of three finalists.

Once she was a finalist, Jazzie went to Brooklyn to complete the competition. She had an interview and and a written test with questions ranging from choosing the kosher animals from a list to information about trans fat.

Later, there were mini-competitions where Jazzie had to display her sense of smell for ingredients and her ability to efficiently prepare food in a short amount of time.  In one, she had to prepare as many sunny side-up eggs in 10 minutes as possible. Each egg had to be arranged on a plate with parsley, and it couldn’t be cracked in order for it to count. Jazzie made seven, but one cracked.

The final competition was to create a meal in one hour using specific ingredients. Jazzie made chicken in red wine with balsamic vinaigrette.

Among her excited supporters was her mom.

“My reaction to finding out Jazzie won was, ‘oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh,’” said Lili. “I was speechless and ecstatic.”

Jazzie will begin her program at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts Jan. 3. In the long term, she hopes to return to her home town.

“I want to have a whole group of restaurants in Los Angeles,” Jazzie said. “I think LA is missing really cool, hip, kosher restaurants.”

Senior Nathaniel Kukurudtz, The Boiling Point’s restaurant critic, completely agrees.

“There is definitely a lacking of high quality and high class kosher restaurants,” said Nathaniel. “Restaurants that are original and give a great ambiance can definitely be successful in Los Angeles.”

The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts filmed the competition and plans on turning it into a video. But Jazzie and Molly have already started a video blog of their own: CookwithJazz.blogspot.com.

“The blog is to show the young generation how to make good, easy food,” Jazzie said. “It’s for people in college who want to learn to cook, or for those going to college soon and would like to learn.”

Web Editor Michael Silver contributed to this story.

This article was corrected 1/01/2011. An earlier version provided an incorrect quote from Josh Einalhori about his sister.

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