Raphi Cooper is known to many in the New Jersey area as the dynamic senior program director of Yachad in New York and New Jersey. What many do not know about him is that while Yachad takes up much of his time, he is also developing and expanding a food-related brainchild—Cooper’s Crumbs.
The journey of developing a tasty, exotic crumb coating for various foods began with Cooper four years ago. While attending yeshiva in Israel he didn’t like the schnitzel coatings he tried. At the same time he was realizing that he needed to develop more healthy eating choices. Always having an interest in cooking, Cooper began experimenting in his mother’s kitchen. His parents were not overjoyed with the concoctions being whipped up almost daily. He was forever mixing and grinding nuts together with various spices. It was difficult to find something online that met his expectations of being both healthy and tasty. After he developed a few that were satisfactory to him with regard to taste and quality he prepared some schnitzel in his mother’s kitchen and took himself to a local Trader Joe’s, offering pieces of his schnitzel to customers as they entered and exited the store. He was anxious to hear their feedback as his goal was to come up with “the” perfect-tasting coating that was both healthy and delicious.
Branding and packaging became his next challenge and he is now proud to say that his products, all under the hashgacha of Rabbi Yehuda Kelemer of the Young Israel of West Hempstead and are being sold at both Cedar Market and Grand and Essex, as well as 14 other locations in the New York/New Jersey retail market. Cooper is well aware of the concerns of many in using nut-based products and is working diligently to find a seed-based alternative to avoid the nut-allergy issue.
By Nina Glick