Rachel Berger, The Kosher Dinner Lady known for her lemon squares, custom cakes and unique hamantashen creations, recently launched a new business venture: a custom bakery.
“I have always loved baking! Creating new delicious cakes and cookies was always enjoyable to me,” explains Rachel. “As I got older, I began to take an interest in cake decorating and was fascinated by the creations made by pastry chefs. I began taking every cooking, baking and cake decorating class that was available to me.” In her spare time, while working as an attorney, Rachel would bake her delicacies for her office mates. Further, as Rachel expanded her techniques, she began making specialty cakes for family bridal showers, engagement parties and milestone anniversaries, as well as friends’ children’s birthday cakes and graduation cakes. “I am still looking to learn new techniques and take classes whenever I can to stay on top of new ingredients and trends,” acknowledges Rachel.
Rachel defines the business as a custom bakery, which means taking orders by request. “I will have some basic weekly offerings like challah, cookies and brownies, but will be rotating different specialty items each week,” describes Rachel, “I am also making custom birthday, anniversary and other occasion cakes. I bake everything to order, with the best and freshest ingredients I can find.”
“The recent closing of Heisler’s Bakery is what pushed me to do this now,” explains Rachel. “I have always toyed with the idea of having my own bake shop and café. Now that my children are mostly grown, I thought this may be a good time to pursue my dream.” Rachel is well aware that the food business is a tough place. “Watching the stores on North Avenue open and close gives me reason to be concerned,” revealed Rachel. “Although it’s still a dream,” Rachel continued, “I hope to fill a need in the community, and perhaps beyond, for delicious and beautiful baked goods, doing what I love.”
Describing her longer-term goals, Rachel discloses that it’s “to establish myself as a well-known trusted brand of baked goods that people will turn to when they want a beautiful cake or baked goods for their home, parties and simchas.” Further, she explains, “We have all seen cakes that are beautiful but fall short in the taste department. My goal is to not only deliver a beautiful product, but a delicious one as well.”
Even though she has moved into baking, The Kosher Dinner Lady is sticking with her company name. “I started my business with the foundation of making quick, healthy meals; I am still committed to that premise, and people know me as the Kosher Dinner Lady.” The Kosher Dinner Lady has made a name for herself in the foodie world. She is known for her food demos, cake decorating demonstrations, cooking camp, cookbook club, being a food blogger, Atria Riverdale’s 2017 Chopped Champion and, in 2018, Atria’s Chopped judge. “The bottom line is I like food, and of the food I like, I like dessert the best!”
Orders for The Kosher Dinner Lady’s creations can be placed all week, but Shabbat orders will need to be placed by Wednesday. Rachel is currently working on upgrading her website, www.thekosherdinnerlady.com, which will allow customers to place orders. In the meantime, people are able to see Rachel’s creations on Instagram @thekosherdinnerlady.
Rachel will be baking in the kitchen located of the Young Israel of New Rochelle, under the supervision of Rabbi Reuven Fink.
By Judy Berger