Kosher In The UAE: Dubai’s 1st Kosher Food Establishment Is Certified By The OU

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Elli’s Kosher Kitchen, the United Arab Emirates’ only kosher food establishment, received an OU hechsher prior to the visit of the Israel-US delegation to the United Arab Emirates this week.

As YWN reported, Rav Yissachar Dov Krakowski, the head of OU Israel, was flown in by the UAE to oversee the preparation of kosher food for the US-Israeli delegation. Elli Kriel of Elli’s Kosher Kitchen partnered with OU Israel in preparing the food.

Kriel’s business was certified by OU to serve the food to the delegation this week and she will receive a permanent OU certification in October when she moves her business to its own premises.

Kriel, who moved with her family from South Africa to Dubai in 2013 for her husband’s business, provided kosher food to the Jewish community and travelers on an informal basis over the years. She assisted Orthodox Jews by hosting them in her home, including Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, the Chief Rabbi of the Jewish Community of the Emirates, Rabbi Michael Shudrich, the Chief Rabbi of Poland, and Rabbanim of the Johannesburg Beth Din, and catered food for business people attending conferences in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Following the announcement of UAE’s national project of “The Year of Tolerance” in 2019, there was an increase in demand for kosher food and she officially launched Elli’s Kosher Kitchen, a food delivery and catering service in February 2019. She has been assisted in her work by a mashgiach from the Johannesberg Beis Din and Rabbi Sarna endorsed the kashrus of her food but she couldn’t receive an official hechsher because she worked from home.

She has also been supported by the Star-K and in fact, the Star-K sponsored Kriel’s exhibition at Kosher Fest in New Jersey in November 2019, providing her with a platform to introduce her services to the US kosher market.

Prior to the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Kriel mainly provided catering services for travelers and tourists. After the borders closed and travel came to a screeching halt, Kriel’s customers became expats and Emiratis in Dubai.

Kriel likes to experiment and develop kosher recipes that incorporate UAE cuisine, something she refers to as Kosherati.

Kriel told YWN that her latest venture is a partnership with UAE company Habtoor Hospitality to provide OU kosher certified food at UAE hotels, including Hilton Dubai, V Hotel, Habtoor Palace Dubai, LXR Hotel and Resorts, Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection LLC, Metropolitan Hotel and Habtoor Polo Resort.

Kriel said she is also planning on opening a restaurant by the end of the year in Abu Dhabi as well as a coffee shop in Dubai at some point in the future.

Kriel’s husband, Attorney Ross Kriel, is the president of the Jewish Community of the Emirates (JCE) and the leader of the Jewish community in Dubai.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)