Jewish students at University of Nottingham to get kosher meals for the first time

Home-cooked meals will be prepared by university chefs in Chabad’s newly licensed kosher kitchen


For the first time, Jewish students at the University of Nottingham will be able to get kosher meals in halls of residence and shops on campus.

After years of planning and campaigning, Nottingham Chabad welcomed the news that the university would be providing Jewish students with the option of a hot kosher meal.

Rabbi Mendy Lent said: “We have been wanting to do this for years.”

The meals will be cooked by university chefs in Chabad’s newly licensed kosher kitchen, less than a mile away from campus.

“The university has been amazing at making this happen for us, and their chefs are really delighted to be doing this,” Rabbi Lent said.

University chefs will be using the kosher kitchen to batch cook recipes designed by Rabbi Lent’s wife, Brocha.

He said: “Everyone loves my wife’s cooking, and I am so happy that students are going to be able to get that home comfort food that they have enjoyed with us for so long.”

Speaking to the JC about the development, Brocha said: “I am a Jewish mama and I care about making sure people enjoy good food and that they are fed the home comfort meals they are used to.”

Brocha has designed a menu which includes favourites such as sweet and sour meatballs, roast chicken, spaghetti bolognese, roast peppers and pastries.

She continued: “One of the first things I wanted to check was portion sizes. Meals will include a main, a carb, vegetables and a desert. The university has been great, and we are excited to bring these meals to students starting in September.”

The kitchen, which was built after a £50,000 fundraising campaign, got its kosher licence in December, as well as a five-star hygiene rating. There were plans to open it sooner, but these were delayed due to Covid.

Rabbi Lent said: “This will really help so many Jewish students feel that they can enjoy the university experience without having to compromise on their values.”

His wife added: “The response since we have announced this has been huge. We have had students who attended 15 years ago coming back to us to say how they wish it had been possible then.

“People are genuinely so excited, and it is make us really happy to be able to make it happen.”

Chabad, together with the University catering team, also plans to offer fresh sandwiches and other provisions on campus, as well as a kosher food truck in the coming months.

The couple thanked the university, which, they said, had “bent over backwards to make this happen”.

"We really couldn’t have asked for more," Rabbi Lent said. "They understand that cooking kosher meals costs a bit more but they are willing to absorb that cost to ensure Jewish students get a kosher meal.”

Former Nottingham Jewish Society president Harry Levy, a management student, said the new offering would “revolutionise the way we experience Jewish life on campus”.

Speaking to the JC, he said: “It means you can come and live a Jewish life on campus and there is no need to go to a big city like Manchester.'

He said that he had been "part of the Covid cohort of students that really struggled [in lockdown] with food offerings".

“Living in catered halls, I basically had to live off frozen vegetables and potato wedges for a year. This new kosher provision means Jewish students are going to get access to the same offering as everyone else.”

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