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Alla Golinkin/Chef Dov Korkh

By BERNIE BELLAN
A couple of years ago I wrote about the terrific catering and take-out service offered by the Chabad Winnipeg. In that article I noted that, under the supervision of head cook Alla Golinkin, the Chabad had developed a reputation for providing an extremely diverse array of dishes - all meeting the highest standards of kashrut, yet at very affordable prices.

 

 

 

 

 

Here is part of what I wrote in that article: “Alla Golinkin, who came to Canada from Israel in 2010, has been working for Chabad since 2014. She told me that the very first meal she prepared there was the 2014 seder. After that very successful foray into large-scale catering – which was greeted with great enthusiasm by anyone who was at that seder, Alla began working full-time for Chabad, gradually expanding the range of foods that are now offered there.”
In the past five years Alla has been kept busy providing catering for a great many different functions, either in the Jewish Learning Centre itself – such as brises, bar mitzvahs, and the occasional wedding - or at outside locations, such as private parties in homes, shivas, office parties, and corporate events.


When I went to the Jewish Learning Centre recently to speak with Alla, she also wanted me to note that another service that Chabad is providing is hot meals for Gray Academy students. In addition, Chabad has catered a number of different Shabbatons for Gray Academy in the past couple of years.
Something else that has become increasingly popular at the Jewish Learning Centre is the baked goods sale that Chabad holds every Friday morning. With challahs, cinnamon buns, knishes, bourekas, and other baked goods, Chabad has been catering not only to the kosher-buying public, but a large number of other Winnipeggers who are pleased not only with the quality of the food offered, but also the very reasonable prices. One word of advice though: Get your orders in at least 48 hours in advance. If you want to take a chance that what you’d like to buy might be on display when you get there, you’d better arrive bright and early Friday morning because everything will be gone in a very short time.
In addition to the take-out menu that is intended for groups and offers large servings of such items as soups, salads, kugels, gefilte fish, cabbage rolls, meatballs, sauté of beef, roast beef, chicken, and stir-fry, you can also order a single meal just for yourself or someone else.


Since I first wrote about Alla Golinkin however, there have been some major changes relating to the availability of cooked kosher food in the Winnipeg area - with the net result being that there are fewer options available for kosher consumers.
As a result, Alla tells me, demand for the service provided by Chabad through what is known as “Grandma Allla by Chabad” has grown substantially - as has the product line available from Chabad.
When I stopped in to visit with Alla recently - along with the others on her staff, including a new chef from Israel by the name of Dov Korkh, I was amazed at the number of different dishes sitting in the kitchen freezers that Alla showed me were ready for take-out.
As word of the quality of the food prepared in the Chabad kitchen has spread, an increasing number of individuals have been ordering food for take-out from Chabad. For Alla though, preparing and serving food that meets the highest standard of kashrut at very affordable prices isn’t a business - it’s a mitzvah.
“We want to encourage people to eat kosher,” she says.  And, by serving delicious food at prices that most people are bound to find surprisingly reasonable - Chabad is succeeding in doing exactly that.

Sure, it takes extra effort to source all the foods that are necessary to meet the standard of kashrut that Chabad wants to maintain, but Alla has remained determined to keep prices low, no matter how demanding a challenge that might seem at times.
She took out a package from the freezer that was labeled “brisket” for instance. “Brisket?” I thought to myself…”That’s bound do cost an arm and a leg.”
But when Alla opened the package and told me it was only $13.50 (one serving), really, I was pleasantly surprised. (Just try ordering kosher brisket and you’ll know what I mean.)
"We're not just out to make lots of money, we are here to support other Chabad departments and events", Alla explained. “If we can meet our costs and have enough to pay the staff, that’s all we’re trying to do. Kosher food has to be affordable,” she added.
The fact that in the five short years since Alla began working for Chabad, the kitchen staff has grown from one (Alla) to now four employees is an indication how strong the demand for tasty, yet affordable kosher food really is in Winnipeg. We may not have a single kosher butcher shop and, as mentioned, the number of businesses offering kosher food has shrunk in the past eight months, but the fact that Alla’s kitchen is being kept so very busy is proof that the demand for kosher hasn’t slackened at all - it’s grown.
If you would like to see the ful Chabad menu, go to the Charadriidae website: www.chabadwinnipeg.org. If you want to see hundreds of pictures of the foods prepared there, go to the Facebook page, “Grandma Alla by Chabad”.

 

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New chef at Chabad has 20 years of experience working in kitchens in Israel

Like many other Israelis who have come here in recent years, Dov Korkh was greatly assisted in his and his wife’s move to Winnipeg by the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg.
I asked Dov whether he and his wife Anna, like so many others who have come here from Israel, came under the Provincial Nominee Program.


In an article written for this paper two years ago by immigration consultant Eka Mednikov, Eka explained how the Jewish Federation facilitates the immigration process for would be migrants from Israel to Winnipeg. Here, in part, is what Eka wrote:
“The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg has the option to support applicants interested in settling in Manitoba and become part of the Jewish community in Winnipeg. The minimum requirements are: Jewish life style, being between the ages of 21 and 45, a post-secondary education, two years of work experience and knowledge of English. Eligible applicants are asked to travel to Winnipeg for an exploratory visit during which time they will attend an interview with a Jewish Federation representative and a Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program Immigration Officer. Due to very high demand, to obtain permanent Canadian residency under this program might take between three to five years.
“Foreign workers coming to Manitoba on a work permit are eligible to apply for residency under the Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program after six months of continuous employment and a job offer from a Manitoba employer.”


Dov Korkh, who is from Jerusalem, told me that he had learned culinary and pastry art at Tadmor High School for hospitality in Hertzeliya Pituah. After working in different phases of kitchen work in a number of hotels and restaurants, also as a private chef, in Israel, Switzerland, and the U.S. for over 20 years, Dov and his wife moved to Winnipeg. It was here that he received his “Red Seal Endorsement” after passing Canadian exams.
Upon emigrating to Winnipeg two years ago, Dov first began working in the kitchen of the Viscount Gort, then as a chef at Celebrations Dinner Theatre in the Fort Garry CanadInn. It wasn’t long though before he found himself hired by the Chabad, as Alla Golinkin’s kitchen had found itself in need of a first-rate chef.
When I asked Dov how busy he’s been since he started working at Chabad, he said to me: “Are you kidding? I’m working six days a week because we’re so busy.”
Dov said his specialty was working in what he said is known as “Garde Manger and Entremetier” - preparing cold dishes such as salads, appetizers, and hors d’oeurvres, also soups. The day that I visited Chabad Dov was busy preparing some beautiful salmon skewers.
A glance at Grandma Alla by Chabad’s takeout menu reveals how many different cold dishes Dov is capable of producing, including a grew many different salads.
The fact that he’s been kept so busy is added testament to the growing demand for food from the Chabad kitchen.

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