March 11, 2024

A New Spin on Kosher Food

Chef Assistant Leida Quiro and Chef Michael Millard of Chelsea Jewish Lifecare

This is not your mother’s kosher food. These days the menus at the assisted living and skilled nursing residences on Chelsea Jewish Lifecare’s Peabody and Chelsea campuses feature updated recipes using fresh, seasonal ingredients. But the classics are still very much in evidence: matzo ball soup, roast chicken and homemade rugelach make frequent appearances on the menu.

According to Michael Millard, Director of Food Service, Chelsea Jewish Lifecare has always stayed true to its Jewish roots. “We are committed to keeping the food Glatt kosher and upholding the Jewish traditions that are the very essence of the organization’s culture,” said Millard.

Millard has been at CJL for over 10 years, becoming well-versed in koshering while working at Catering by Andrew. “The art of cooking as an entertainment avenue has sharpened the creative juices for those of us who prepare food professionally,” explained Millard. “The kosher landscape has really expanded and brightened. It’s so much more than bagels, brisket, and knishes.” Added Millard, “People are often surprised that kosher food is so delicious!”

Today the appeal of kosher food extends to all nationalities. “Kosher food has developed into a modern cuisine,” explained Millard. “Strictly speaking, our food experience isn’t unlike non-kosher food. Hence, we replicate most dishes whether kosher in nature or not.” Michael has seen the popularity of Middle Eastern and Israeli foods increase significantly, resulting in new flavors and recipes. Hummus, kebabs and bean salads are now served regularly.”

Over the years, Chef Millard’s repertoire has grown considerably. He changes the menu constantly based on the residents’ feedback and requests. “Residents ask for a wide range of dishes and I try hard try to fulfill every request,” said Michael. He noted that he makes a wide variety of new items but always keeps “tried and true” favorites on the menu. “My most requested dishes are meat (no cheese) lasagna, sweet and sour meatballs and, not surprisingly, traditional matzo ball soup. In truth, I make a great chicken soup,” he said with a smile.