It was a first; it was a gamble but it paid off!


Manchester Food and Drinks festival is now in its 14th year, but this is the first year that the Jewish Museum has had any part in it.


It was our Curator who first came up with the idea of presenting samples of Jewish food to a mainly non-Jewish audience.  With this in mind she set about researching our festival foods, our Shabbat foods and our daily staple foods.  Which countries did these foods originate from and how did they fit into our laws of kashrut?


It was decided that the format of the presentation should be an informal evening of chat, questions and answers and food sampling with about 30 guests seated at tables of 6 to 8 people.  We enlisted the services of two local caterers, one specializing in Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish food and one specializing in Sephardi (Middle Eastern) Jewish food.


A date was set and menus sorted. Our very knowledgeable Learning Officer had agreed to be the presenter for the night. With him at the helm, we were confident that all questions would be met with satisfying answers.   We then proceeded to publicize the event.


So it was all planned…………….. Now we could relax.


Not surprisingly however, there was a last minute panic. With only one week to go we had taken bookings for only two people and our Learning Officer was called away to attend the bris of his new grandson. 


 With hardly any guests and no presenter would the event have to be called off?


We all put our heads together and the CEO suggested we send out a mass Email to all visitors who had supplied their Email addresses. Then one of our volunteers stepped in to take the Learning Officer’s place as presenter.


Next morning the phone started ringing and ringing and ringing.  Soon we had filled every place at the tables and there was even a waiting list.  Success!!


On the night a cross section of people from acrossManchesterenjoyed 10 sample courses.  Everyone declared themselves to be very well fed by the end.  As one guest said: “There was much more food than I expected. Thank you!”  Another guest even said: “Fabulous evening – it exceeded all expectations”. 


Finally the Sephardi chef (Tracey Kingsley) came out from the make-shift kitchen in our general office for a lively chat with the guests about the significance of Jewish food for her family.


We had started at 7.00pm and nobody left until well after 10.30pm.  We are all delighted with the success of our new venture and, maybe we can do it all again next year!


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