Make it Kosher

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Attention to detail is the basic requirement in creating a kosher kitchen, says remodeler Steven Tarnow, CR, of Preferred Building Co. in West Bloomfield, Mich. Design, selection of materials and ongoing communication with the homeowners are the keys t...

March 01, 2003

 

Orthodox Jewish dietary restrictions impose limitations on the preparation and serving of food, such as the strict separation of meat and dairy products. In addition to making the kitchen more spacious, this renovation was designed to make food preparation more convenient. The kosher kitchen includes two separate preparation areas, two dishwashers, two stainless steel sinks, two cooktops, a double oven and two configurations of cabinets to house separate sets of cooking utensils, pots and pans, dishes and flatware. Steven Tarnow met the requirements by designing two L-shaped kitchens with a common island in the middle for neutral (or pareve) foods, such as bread products. Only a few of the kitchen components were restricted. The countertops, for example, could not be made of porous materials. Tarnow recommends Formica, Corian or, as selected here, polished granite. Only one refrigerator was required, although a second one is in the utility room to meet the large family's needs. Existing kitchen cabinetry was relocated into the utility room. The old kitchen was "gutted to the studs," Tarnow says.

Attention to detail is the basic requirement in creating a kosher kitchen, says remodeler Steven Tarnow, CR, of Preferred Building Co. in West Bloomfield, Mich. Design, selection of materials and ongoing communication with the homeowners are the keys to success.

You neednÆt be Jewish to build a kosher kitchen, he points out. Tarnow, who is Jewish, heads a small remodeling company that does 12 to 15 additions and six to eight kitchens a year. In business for 17 years, he designs and builds one to two kosher kitchens annually.

This $80,000 kitchen addition and renovation was part of a $300,000 whole-house remodel of a four-bedroom Colonial built in the late 1960s in suburban Detroit. The original kitchen consisted of a 10x20-foot space for both the kitchen and eating area. The remodeled kitchen combines existing kitchen space and an addition on the rear of the house. The kitchen itself is now 300 square feet with an additional 10x14-foot eating area and a 16x20-foot formal dining room. The new addition added 640 square feet on three levels.

Whenever there was a question about materials, "the owners checked with their rabbi to make sure he would not disagree with what they were doing," Tarnow says. "I will not use anything until I know it is acceptable to the owner or rabbi. Check beforehand."

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