Friday, March 23, 2007

George, Paul, and Ringo found at Le Marais... their salad.

As alleged by this guy (which I found through Hirhurim):



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,
The email that we have all been receiving about the unkosher activities occurring at Le Marais is pretty descriptive and disturbing in its allegations.

In addressing my own concerns I have contacted the OU and Le Marais to find out what is really going on.

Here is the story:

The evening mashgiach and the chef had a big falling out. When the owner would not fire the chef, the mashgiach resigned and started a smear campaign against the restaurant. The OU is still giving certification to the restaurant and has investigated the issues and found NO HALACHIC VIOLATIONS.

1) Shellfish- The rabbi alleges that the chef ordered shellfish and used it in the restaurant. In reality a new food delivery company for a restaurant next door made a mistake and dropped off the wrong package on a day Le Marais was closed to patrons, but open for construction. The box containing the shell fish was never even brought into the restaurant but left at the door. The delivery company admitted the error and has the invoice to prove it.
2) Unkosher Margarine- The chef of Le Marais ran out of margarine and went to a supermarket up to get some more. Upon his return the mashgiach saw that the chef had purchased OU-Dairy margarine. The dairy margarine was brought right back and NEVER came near ant food. The chef realized the mistake and since then has been even more careful, and relies on the mashgiach’s advice for everything purchased in an emergency situation.
3) Strawberries- The claims that strawberries that had not been properly checked were used. This is just not true as the morning mashgiach, Rabbi Avrohom Keller, had cleaned and checked all the strawberries.
4) Turning on the flame- the daytime mashgiach, Rabbi Avrohom Keller, has never ever seen this in his experiences with the chef.
5) Beetles in the lettuce- The rabbi claims that the chef intentionally placed bugs in the salad. It is the mashgiach’s responsibility to check the lettuce for bugs before it is served; yet, the chef he directs his anger wasn’t even at the restaurant the night he claims it happened.

Again the OU has investigated and found these to either be slander or misunderstandings. The OU is still giving their certification.

I hope that you will trust the OU here as we do on so many of our products and trust the integrity of the owners of le Marais, who have been slandered for no reason other than the anger of a disgruntled mashgiach. What the allegations amount to is a bizarre reversal of the old Jewish “blood Libel” canard, as the chef and the owner of Le Marais are not Jewish, and are being accused of intentionally feeding Jews treif to satisfy some perversion.
After speaking with the owner of Le Marais and meeting Rabbi Avrohom Keller, a good man and trustworthy mashgiach, I hold them in much esteem for being so thorough in their investigation to get to the bottom of this. The daytime mashgiach stated very clearly that the evening mashgiach was warned repeatedly by the OU to stop making up his own rules about kashrut and stop the rumors and gossip he was creating, and to stick to the kashrut guidelines of the OU.

Rabbi Yakkov Luban and Rabbi Dov Schreier at the OU, prepared a defense of Le Marais and disgust over the slander. I have enclosed it with this email.

If anything changes I will be sure to let you know.

March 24, 2007 8:15 PM  
Blogger Just a Cihlul Hashem said...

Not knowing the facts, and just reading this post, it would seem that anyone who blindly boycotts the establishment on the account of an unproven word is, whether admitting it or not, feeding in to exactly what the accuser wants. Not the truth, necessarily, but the destruction of a business and the reputation of the owner. I would think we need to be smarter and above it and not hurt someone so wantonly.

What is bizarre about this is that if all it takes is someone’s accusation of wrongdoing to make good people stay away in order to "not take a chance" than anyone at any time can seek revenge for a bad meal, poor waiter service, personal gripe, bad hair day, rejected shidduch date, etc, and hurt an innocent business in the process.

Not sure that is what G-d has demanded of us Jews at Sinai. Not sure our sages through the ages would want us to take a man's parnossa with such casual shrugs

March 24, 2007 8:16 PM  
Blogger frumhouse said...

Sounds like a dispute between the mashgiach and head chef. The owners sided with the chef, so the mashgiach resigned in a huff and set out to tarnish the reputation of the restaurant.

To me this story illustrates the need to find mentally/emotionally stable mashgichim - unfortunately, anyone with a male member and a kippah plopped on their heads are accepted as mashigichim in many kashrut organizations.

The pay is low, the basic work is pretty easy (unless the restaurant owners demand more for their money than just washing lettuce and then sitting on their tush all day), and the amount of knowledge needed for the job is little more than any frum housewife needs to run her kitchen.

With exceptions, this type of career does not attract the highest quality folks. So, I am hestitant to believe this individual person's version of events - especially since he criticizes Le Marais' kashrut standards, yet thinks nothing of spreading loshon horah/motzei shaimra about the restaurant owners and the OU kashrut administration. Apparently, kashrut violations are a more serious halacha to transgress.

March 25, 2007 7:08 PM  

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