Thursday, March 30, 2023

It was all because of a dare, explained North Miami Beach’s ST Elefant of What’s Cooking? “A friend of mine called me and said you’re either going to law school or you’re going to start catering. I have a job for you and you have 15 minutes to decide.” So ST took her up on the dare and thus began the magical story of south Florida’s yummiest heimishe caterer.

Twenty years later, What’s Cooking? has built up a stellar reputation together with a supremely loyal following that has people all over Florida and around the globe placing orders for her gourmet food with the homemade taste that everyone loves.

ST says her clients flock to her because the food she makes reminds them of the food their mothers and grandmothers used to make. One client described her cooking as “great elevated comfort food.” In fact, family and friends have provided most of her recipes, which she then takes and puts her own special spin on. “I like that a lot because I know that it has been passed down and it’s something that families have loved.”

“My mother was a great cook. She was an insane cook…and I got the cooking gene.” In fact, when she was growing up, while her siblings did chores around the house, ST always asked to help out her mother in the kitchen. “Whenever I’d come home from school I’d go right to the kitchen and I would start lifting up the pot lids to see what my mother was cooking. I always had this magnetic pull towards the kitchen. Because I watched my mother so much I think that’s where all my love of cooking came from. I always tell people I got everything from my mother. I give her all the credit for all my cooking.”

For Pesach, ST pulls out all the stops with meticulous attention to detail and a selection of food that is so scrumptious, you’ll forget all about chametz. “My clients want my homemade aya lokshen (which is my aunt’s recipe). They want my homemade gefilte fish, which is my mom’s recipe, and people go crazy over it (I grew up on this gefilte fish!). They want that blintz souffle I make. They want those chicken dishes and that potato kugel…that’s what they want and I give them what they want!” she emphatically states. It also helps that her prices are super-reasonable.

Of course, ST will always jump to accommodate special requests as well, which probably explains why she has such a huge and loyal client base. “You’re not only getting the food. But you’re also getting me, because my cooking is done with love. It’s a labor of love. I love it and I love doing it.”

What’s even better is that the What’s Cooking? menu is all non-Gebrokts (aka gluten-free) and nut-free, and her pareve food is made exclusively on pareve equipment, which means you can eat it with milchigs or fleishigs.

If you’re wondering what a perfect seder meal looks like, you’re in luck! What’s Cooking? has got it down to the last bite. For the first course, ST recommends gefilte fish for the adults and meatballs for the kids. It wouldn’t be a seder without fresh, homemade chicken soup with homemade egg noodles. For the mains, ST’s brisket—which is not roasted—might just do you in, but not before you also have a helping of her mouth-watering chicken in wine sauce. As for the side dishes, which her clients are grateful to her for making because they are, arguably, the hardest to prepare, ST suggests the quinoa, cabbage and onion, some sweet potato kugel and perhaps a pineapple-cranberry muffin to kick things up a notch. Just don’t reach for the afikoman before you have a slice of the flourless torte with a scoop of pareve ice cream. But if you really want to go all out and make it a Pesach to remember, you cap it off with a generous piece of ST’s strawberry shortcake.

Of course, that’s just one meal, and What’s Cooking? has got you covered for eight days’ worth of meals. For breakfast, you’re really going to want to hunker down with ST’s chocolate chip cheese muffins. “If you enjoy a cup of coffee or tea in the morning on Pesach, you cannot have your Pesach without one of these muffins.” For lunch, you will want to bite into ST’s hugely popular eggplant parmigiana. Just for the record, this isn’t just any eggplant parmigiana, because at What’s Cooking? everything is made fresh, and that goes double for her eggplant parm, a hugely popular dish that uses fresh eggplants that are then peeled, cut, battered and fried because, as ST said, “This is homemade food!”

From her candied corned-beef—which is constantly selling out—to her extremely popular classic-comfort-food potato kugel, down to her chocolate mousse, which can best be described as yuuuummmmm, you might want to take a look a her Pesach menu and get your order in ASAP. What’s Cooking? will deliver within a 60-mile radius of North Miami Beach or you can pick up your order. Other than shutting down the ordering system about a week before Pesach, ST takes orders “until I run out of food, which never happens because I prepare a lot!” Starting the week of Pesach right through the second days, you can also come back for more by shopping in the “extras store” in her backyard, which she stocks with nearly all of her menu items and can be accessed 24/7. So get your orders in soon because this is one meal you don’t want to miss.

It’s no wonder her clients love her home-cooked flavors. What’s Cooking? is a bona fide family business where ST’s siblings regularly visit her for “working vacations” to help organize freezers and pantries, and her five children “offer advice on the menu.” All this while her father, who also happens to be president of ST’s fan club, constantly cheers her on, along with a cast of incredible friends.

Email [email protected] or text/WhatsApp 305-710-7590.

By Jewish Link Staff

Sign up now!