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‘Chosen Cholent’ Becomes a Permanent Fixture in West Orange

There’s something cooking in West Orange, and it’s got everyone buzzing with excitement. The Chosen Cholent, a cholent and barbeque food truck that has found a home in the back parking lot of Congregation AABJ&D, is now open for eat-in, take-out and Shabbat meals, in addition to catering.

Rabbi Adam Gindea, the Chosen Cholent’s proprietor and a teacher by profession, has always loved cooking. As a college student, Gindea won a cholent contest, and has been making delicious cholent ever since. In 2015, he entered and won the Masbia Cholent Contest in Boro Park, and that win propelled him to where he is today.

“That contest was held on a Wednesday and Thursday,” Gindea remembered. “We prepared the cholent on Wednesday and when I saw the serious caterers I was competing against, I told my wife I wasn’t going back the next day. She convinced me to return for the judging. To my great surprise, I won, and was immediately contacted by Rabbi Zwickler (spiritual leader of Cong. AABJ&D). He said, ‘You have to start making cholent at the shul,’” Gindea added.

Gindea began making cholent for the synagogue, and people who had previously tasted his barbequed food suggested that he make that as well. An idea began to form in Gindea’s mind. He started with smokers in the shul parking lot, and he cooked and sold food for Shabbat as a men’s club fundraiser. After the third week, he knew he needed more equipment so he purchased a small truck. That was in February, 2016, and as he got more orders and was hired for more events he knew he needed to expand further.

The truck Gindea works from now was custom made for him, with two smokers, a grill, a fridge, a three-section sink, an oven, a warmer and a fryer — everything he could possibly need. He opens the truck for business on Wednesday evenings from 4:30 to 9:00, serving fresh cholent, barbequed brisket and other items. There are tables set up in the synagogue, allowing people to enjoy a leisurely meal, and he also does take-out. In addition, people can preorder a few items online, which are ready for pick up on Wednesday evenings.

“I chose Wednesdays because that way people can come for dinner and also get food for Shabbos,” Gindea said.

His sales continue to serve as a fundraiser, with 10 percent of all proceeds going to the men’s club.

“It was our hope that this weekly event would bring people to the shul and help them get even more involved. We wanted to make the shul a place of bonding,” he added.

Obviously, the Chosen Cholent specializes in cholent, but Gindea offers much more. Firstly, there are vegetarian options for almost all of his menu items, providing healthier fare for consumers to enjoy. He offers pulled brisket, smoked chicken, “cholent puppies,” hot dogs and cholent fries, with drinks, cookies and smaller portions for children also available. Patrons can order chicken, cholent or pulled brisket for Shabbat, and anything ordered by noon on Tuesday can be picked up at the time they arrive for dinner the next day.

What is his secret? “It’s all in the cooking,” Gindea said. “It’s not about the recipe, it’s about the way the food is cooked. It’s all about temperature control and patience.” With the meat needing 18 hours to cook before it is served, Gindea certainly has an abundance of the latter.

There’s something cooking in West Orange, and it’s just delicious.

To reach Gindea or place an order, visit www.thechosencholent.com or call 929-FLAISH-1. The Chosen Cholent is under the supervision of the Vaad Harabonim of Metro West. Please note that the Chosen Cholent will be closed on Wednesday, November 23, the day before Thanksgiving.

By Jill Kirsch

 

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