Most food trucks offer limited space–and that’s without a full-time mashgiach (kosher supervisor) on board. But Michele Grant, founder and operator of The Kosher Palate, LA’s only kosher food truck, is willing to sacrifice a few extra cubic feet to provide kosher food to LA’s otherwise diverse food truck scene.
Grant envisions her business as a bridge between kosher-observant Jews and lovers of fresh, locally-sourced food, demystifying both worlds. The business began as a stall at various LA farmer’s markets serving vegetarian and vegan dishes of Middle Eastern and Jewish classics.
“It was always so curious to me that I never saw a lot of the frum community at the farmers markets,” Grant told the Jewish Journal last June. “At the farmers markets, you go to buy your fruits and vegetables. It’s social, and you get a nosh along the way. There was never anything for [observant people] to nosh on. We solve that problem.”
Grant left her job as an assistant director in Hollywood after recovering from a serious workplace injury. She had some food industry experience as an investor in the city’s popular Grilled Cheese Truck, but no real culinary training before she started working as a private chef.
Grant, a secular Jew who attended an Orthodox day school growing up, also tells of attending a Purim meal at an Orthodox home. She brought fresh produce to make a salad, and realized the women there had never thought of using such ingredients.
That experience, she said, sparked the idea for the business.
Now, she serves up shakshouka, a traditional Middle Eastern breakfast tomato stew, but with a quail egg and Romanian cornmeal porridge. Her matzoh brie kugel is topped with a sweet eggplant sauce that happy customers often think is “made from figs or quince.”
The Kosher Palate’s truck is now fleishik, serving kosher meat dishes, like a pepper steak sandwich served on malawach (fried Yemeni bread), and a hamburger topped with tater tots and quail egg.
The truck is certified kosher by the Rabbinical Council of California, and posts its location on Facebook.