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Passover Event in Miami with Chef Bill

8 Apr

We are currently celebrating the Jewish holiday of Passover. Last year, Chef Bill took me on a “behind the scenes” tour of a huge operation: A Passover “getaway” that feeds nearly 1,500-1,700 (!) people at the Fountainbleau Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. It is run by Lasko Kosher Getaways and Bill has been cooking for the Miami Passover week for a number of years.

What an incredible place to spend Passover!


He brought us into the underbelly of the hotel to see how it all came together a few days before the guests arrived.

It takes over 16 people to organize the food alone, with the help of others in the kitchens. They arrive at 4am and work their tushies off until 9pm.

They park refrigeration and freezer trucks for the full week, using the extra storage throughout.





They lay out the food for every day of the event on many lists, with highlights and assignments to keep everyone on track and organized.



They also take photos of all the dishes to make sure they are replicated flawlessly.







The kitchens are separated to keep meat and dairy separate (very important to keep things Kosher).





And there are rooms and rooms filled with supplies, including this one almost entirely devoted to condiments:


And a number of different Haggadahs (which are read during the service).



We then went around to the other side of the facility to see the meat area.




It was a treasure trove of meat everywhere!



And countless broths ready to go.



And some delicious smelling roasted meats.



With all the prep ready and waiting to be made into delicious food.


And hotel trays filled with food to be served in the buffet, where there are over 8 tables of food alone.




Since it is very important that non-Kosher food not mix with Kosher food, they boil overnight all of the dishes, silverware, serving utensils, and anything that can touch food.



But that is not without some issues. They put this special cart with ceramic wheels into an oven, cranked it up, and left it to Kosher-ize (yes… I made that up).  The wheels wound up melting completely FLAT.

Melted wheels


And with so much going on, there were a few casualties.

Cart casualty

They have special storage for all of the items they use during the weekend. There were rooms upon rooms of just plates.



There are giant ballrooms that get set up for many different things. This one was going to be for meal service.



Ballroom being set up

And this ballroom was set up more as a lounge with very comfortable furniture. (They also do theme nights for entertainment, like a disco night, and a tea room with a casino that goes until 3am).


I was shocked at the scale of this venture.  I have never seen so many plates in one room! There was so much going into the prep alone, and I can only imagine what it was like when the guests arrive and things started moving.