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by Nir Weinblut | September 01, 2011
Take Note

The rabbi must supervise everything from setup to teardown, including food preparation and kashering the kitchen. This process typically takes 12 to 14 hours.

The kosher symbol on anything -- wine, liquor, mixers, juices, etc. -- must be authorized by the mashgiach.

Most hotels ask kosher caterers to bring their own coffee and tea to be served with the meal.

For more advice, see "Kosher Caveats" at mcmag.com/webexclusives.

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The following checklist was created by Nir Weinblut, a restaurant consultant and president of La Gondola Restaurant and Catering in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Key ConsiderationsWill the event be "kosher-style" (where the food is kosher but preparation does not have to be supervised by a rabbi, a kosher kitchen is not required, and kosher dishes and tableware are not necessary) or "glatt kosher" (which requires stricter supervision and rules)?

Does the venue have a relationship with an established kosher caterer, or can planners work with a kosher caterer of their choice? If so, does the caterer have rabbinical supervision and a kosher certificate?

Does the venue have a kosher kitchen, which must be separate from the general-use kitchen?

Does the venue have a relationship with a rabbi, or can a client bring his or her own rabbi or mashgiach (a kosher supervisor or agent) to make the kitchen kosher?

Does the venue have kosher cookware? If not, can it be provided by an outside vendor?

Does the property provide its own kosher china, silverware and serving pieces, such as chafing dishes, platters, trays and pitchers? (Note: Glassware and linens do not need to be kosher.) If not, can kosher tableware be brought in?

Do extra charges apply for use of kosher cookware and tableware?

Will the site allow dishwashers to be kashered (prepared for use under the rabbi's supervision) so caterers can wash kosher china and silverware before leaving the venue?

Does the venue offer kosher wines? Most hotels stock kosher wine or work with kosher wine suppliers. (Note: Kosher wines are designated Mevushal on their labels.)

If the client wants to bring in kosher wine from another supplier, how much will the venue charge as a corkage fee? (This typically ranges from $8 to $20 per bottle.)

Will hard liquors and liqueurs will be served? Several kosher brands are available. Remember that all bar juices, mixers and condiments (and the knife that cuts them) must be kosher.

For religious holidays and Sabbath days, when the Orthodox population must curtail a substantial amount of modern daily activities such as using an elevator, switching on lights, etc., can the venue provide some staff members to perform these functions?

Questions for CaterersWill the caterer provide all of the necessary kosher cooking equipment?

Will the caterer provide the chef, supervisor and culinary team to cook and plate the food? (The venue's staff can serve and clear tables.)

Will the caterer provide kosher items such as nondairy creamer and margarine?

Additional Points
What are the supervisor fees? The mashgiach who kashers the kitchen typically charges $25 to $35 per hour. Depending on the kitchen size and venue layout, one or two other mashgiachs may be necessary, at another $18 to $25 per hour.

Will the rabbi be offered a complimentary room or special rate for the night before and/or the night of the event?