New York – Yeshiva University Holds Cholent Contest

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    YU President Joel has a taste at-YUs Cholent Cook offNew York – A strange aroma filled the Washington Heights air as hundreds of students, faculty and curious visitors filed into Yeshiva University’s Weissberg Commons on March 11 for the 2010 Cholent Cook-Off. Sixteen teams made up of 64 students from the men’s undergraduate schools, Yeshiva College and Sy Syms School of Business, went head-to-head in a culinary battle to proclaim a true Cholent Champion.

    Students prepared their dishes the night before using a variety of ingredients and techniques in an attempt to impress the panel of discriminating palates.

    The contest judges included Dr. Esther Joel, wife of YU President Richard M. Joel; chef, restaurateur, TV personality and author Jeff Nathan (Abigael’s); renowned kosher chef and best selling author of Kosher by Design, Susie Fishbein; catering director and executive chef of Fairway Market, Alan Riesenburger; and president and publisher of Great Kosher Restaurants Magazine, Elan Kornblum.

    “One of the nice things about this year’s contest is that we tied it in with our food drive for the Upper Manhattan Food Pantry,” said Jonathan Mantell, director of university housing and organizer of the cook-off. “So that way it’s not just about having fun, but it’s also about thinking of other people.”

    Shloimie Zeffren, president of the Yeshiva Student Union—one of the event’s sponsors, said that it was important for them “to be part of this because it brings all of the students together and shows the unity we have in our university. It also shows what great chefs we have among our students.”
    (L-R) Cholent Champs David Kupperman, Jonathan Lamet, Jason Wargon and Eric Kupferstein
    After a three-way dead heat was announced, President Joel was called in to break the tie. Despite some humorous attempts by the teams at winning over the President, Team Heerlijk, Flemish for “delicious,” was crowned cholent champion.

    Winning team members David Kupperman, Jonathan Lamet, Jason Wargon and Eric Kupferstein were all awarded iPods. Second and third prize went to teams Cholent Fulfillment and the Maccabeans.

    “This is like the biggest kiddush ever,” observed one student in attendance, while reaching for his second serving. “It’s a great opportunity for students to get together and have a fun time.”

    (L-R) Judges Alan Riesenburger, Elan Kornblum, Jeff Nathan, Susie Fishbein and Dr. Esther Joel

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    33 COMMENTS

    1. Why does YU give such prominence to a dish that is unhealthy for yidden given its high fat and cholesterol content. They should be setting an example and having competitions for kosher and healthier foods like the best “veggie cholent”.

      • why does every article on YU have people like you commenting trying to put them down. this was merely a fun competition to bring the student body together and it was a total success, try looking positively for a change

      • Cholent need not be high in fat or cholesterol, and the high fiber and vitamin/mineral content of beans and barley are very healthy. I regularly make veggie cholent and it has a truly yiddishe tam. The long simmering will do the work of flavoring. One can add only a little meat or meat bone in it to enhance flavoring; most of the fat should be cut off before cooking, .

      • Why do Yeshivish and Chasidish people serve Chulent at all their kiddushim and eat chulent on Thursday night, Friday lunch, Firday night, Shabbos Lunch, Shalosh Seudos, Melave Malke, and again on Sunday and Monday? Is this how we are supposed to be mechanech our children to live a healthy life? What ever happened to “U’Shmartem Es Nafshoseichem”?

    2. The whole chulent culture is so depressing. I’ve seen 25-year old macho men elbowing out 90-year old women for portions of cholent at kiddushes. I’ve also seen young mothers slop large chunks of cholent on paper plates, together with large cups of soda, to feed their 4-year olds. Where do you think most of the cholent and soda winds up? I’ll give you a hint: It’s not the ceiling.

      • What kind of places do you daven at where there are men & women together?
        Is it a Conservative or Reformulated place? Doesn’t sound too frum to me!

      • I agree with you that nobody should be elbowing anyone else at Kiddush. But I don’t see how a few spoonfuls of cholent and a cup of soda once a week is going to be that bad for a four-year-old, assuming that they are not overweight and have an otherwise varied and healthy diet.

    3. Speaking from experience, the problem with having professional chefs/food critics on the judges panel is that they don’t have the same taste buds as the average heimeshe chulent lover. For example, the average boro park guy prizes a thick, meaty, greasy chulent, while a professional is looking for hints of celery, curry, and saffron spice. The winner of this contest wouldn’t get to first base with the shomer shabbos, Deli 52 crowd.

    4. I’m amazed at the amount of negative people who comment here. YU holds a very nice entertaining contest and you knock it? Come on, lighten up. This was great. Besides all you naysayers, chulent is an age old minhag yisroel and it connotes that we do not hold like the heretics who said that only exact Torah laws are observed. So we do have a fire in our houses on Shabbat. Good shabbos all and enjoy your chulent chamin or whatever hot foods you eat during shabbos day.

    5. Why have you all desided that chulent is “not healthy” “high colestrol” are you from the olden timers that are thinking that meat is unhealthy. WAKE UP GUYS the more meat u put in the chulent, the healthier it is…. (Only the good cholestrol is going up)

    6. A recent article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutritition reviewed many studies, on the effects of saturated fat on strokes and heart attacks, and concluded that saturated fat is not the culprit.
      Chulent, with fiber in barley and beans, even with a piece of beef therein, may be healthy after all.
      Eat on Shabbos and enjoy without guilt.

    7. it is well known that Shabbos food in healthy on Shabbos ONLY as the Shabbos protects and harm can come of it, eating it on Sunday, Monday etc. there is no guarantee unless its leftover form a Tzadik that elevated the food to purity of Kedusha…

      • If this site had an article for every Chessed oppurtunity provided by YU/done by YU guys, than it wouldn’t be amusing because clearly, people here thrive on illiciting their negative comments. So thanks. I’m glad you enjoy this form of entertainment. Maybe for further entertainment value you can actually go to YU and see what they do there. (PS- if you send me your email, I can send you videos and pictures of YU boys at a nursing home on Purim, not drinking and being self serving to say the least, but visiting ill at a nursing home.) And anyway, did you read the part about the food drive!?!?!

    8. David Kuppermann is a young chef coming from Belgium. He has received his culinary education in the finest school of Europe. After failing his Biology education at YU, David decided to convert to the science of food. He is now a five stars Chef at the prestigious restaurant “Golan Heights” where he makes “hot dog pitas” and thursday night “cholent”.
      David is a fine example of self made man. coming from Europe with nothing the shirt on his back, he is now Head Of The Cholent Department at Golan Heights and feed thousands of MTA kids every year; helping them to increase their BMI.

      President Richard Joel

      PS: David you are welcome to come over to cook a delicious cholent anytime at my place.

    9. I love Cholent !! Who says it’s unhealthy ? My father ate Cholent during long time
      of his life in Old Europe, and still alive, he is currently 95, eating cholent and kishka !!

    10. I am sick and tired of all you whiny health nuts. There is no Shabbos without REAL Cholent! That means MEAT MEAT MEAT! It also means chicken soup served right from the stove, with lots of chicken and skin, globules of fat floating on top, and necks and pupiks. It means chopped liver made with shmaltz. It means egg salad made with REAL mayo. It means Pesach with shmaltz spread on the matza. You hear correctly, I said SCHMALTZ spread thickly on the matza! It means chocolate cream pie for dessert. It means soda, not water to drink. It means NO SALAD! Rabbits are not invited to my table. During the week, blintzes with REAL sour cream. Potatos with REAL butter and sour cream. I love it all, my wife loves it, and so do the kids. I enjoy life, and after havdalah, a nice couple of cigarettes with a shnapps is the end of a lovely Shabbos for me. I’m 50. Maybe I’ll die at 60, who knows? Maybe YOU will die tomorrow, with a mouthful of celery stalks. In the meantime, I’m learning daf yomi and counting on the Aibishter to get me thru. Now quit whining about cholesterol, fat, and sodium and enjoy the pleasure Hashem gave us.

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