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They're all working, trying to do their job, and the Mashgiach is jumping in and eating the stuff. Reaching his hand right in front of them, sitting down, relaxing. They get fired if they sit. Not even following the rules, he's got no gloves doing whatever he wants. (Photo: Newsweek- Rabbi Cohen making sure the cannabis is Kosher)
I've been working as a Mashgiach for many years, and I've learned that there are tricks to the trade that one must know for legitimate Kosher supervision. Here are some of the trade secrets for anyone who wants to be an acceptable Kosher supervisor.
Get Good at Seeing Small Things
Lettuce checking is key. Take pride in it. Hold up that leaf with confidence that you can find a creature in there.
If you can't find a bug in a vegetable, you should lose any Mashgiach license given you. If you can't watch over a fruit, you should not be trusted to watch over a kitchen. Before allowing anybody to be a Mashgiach, they should have a test to ensure you're not farsighted. To note: There is no greater feeling than finding an insect in a vegetable. That's nachis. Grandchildren are nothing next to a meadow spittlebug.
Know Your Symbols
Get good at finding 'O's. You have to find small letters on packages as well. That, along with turning on fires. You have to be able to find letters and turn on fires. Never trust a professional chef with a fire. That's why we have Kosher people turning on the pilot lights.
Basic rule: Any shape of a state with a letter in it is Kosher. And any 'O' that doesn't have a 'R' in it is Kosher. Any randomly flying 'K's on the package, the Kosher world has not figured out if that's Kosher yet.
Make It Look Like You're Doing Something
When you walk in, tap the meat. Say 'I'm here,' and walk through the kitchen while looking over people's shoulders that are trying to prepare the food. Check their onions while they're sauteing them. If they're comfortable with you around, you're not doing your job.
If you have no idea what you're doing with your time, give feedback on the onions themselves. You don't have to be a cook to do that. Nor do you have to be a Mashgiach to do that.
Sit and Learn
Your job is to be the religious Jewish guy. Learning is what good religious Jews do. That's what you should be doing. Sit and learn and stay away from the kitchen. People will trust you, even if you didn't check anything. As long as you're learning.
Bitul Torah, taking time away from learning Torah, is a sin. If anybody asks you to check if the dish is Kosher, the right thing to say is, 'I'm learning and I believe in H."' That will let them know that you care about Torah. That should be enough for them to feel comfortable as Jews, even if the food wasn't checked.
Make a Big Deal When You Tell Them The Empire Chicken is Good to Use
You want job security. Let them know with authority that it's Kosher. Even slap the chicken for emphasis. 'Empire is good. Cook it.' Even if they're grilling it, just yell out, 'Cook it.'
Anything you know, you should express enthusiasm and get involved for that moment. You're limited in Kosher knowledge, as you have no idea how to slaughter, so make sure they know how good you are at finding letters in outlines of states.
You see a bug, yell it out, 'I found one.' Celebrate. Do a Siyum if you must. Take pride in your detective abilities. You'll naturally want to have a Simcha, possibly break into a Horah or a one handed side to side kick, once you find a bug. It just happens. That joy simply touches a man's soul.
Eat as Much as You Can
Whatever they pay you, it's not enough. Make sure you're eating at least twelve bucks an hour's worth. More than that, you have a requirement to eat. How is anybody supposed to know it's Kosher if the Kosher guy isn't eating it. How Kosher is it if the Kosher guy is only eating small portions? These are questions people ask, so make sure you are sitting there and eating.
Make a Big Deal About Something
Otherwise, they're going to question what you're doing there. The issue is that some nonJews don't value Torah and eating. And share any knowledge you have, as that exudes authority. If anybody asks you what kind of meat it is, you tell them 'brisket.'
If you can say something is wrong, say it. Focusing on negative makes you look like a leader. Reach over and say, 'Can't do that.' Even if it's something about American foreign policy, reach over and say 'no.' Connect it to Kosher. 'If they attack the Ukraine, the meat won't be slaughtered in the ritually correct way. Toss the salmon.' They'll understand that you know Kosher.
Remember, Mashgiach means supervisor. So, even if you're only making fifteen bucks an hour, you're the boss.
When they come in, check their coats. Check their pockets. You don't know if they're stealing anything. Check to see what skin lotions they are using. Nobody wants dry unmoisturized hands in their food.
Remember, you're a supervisor. Oversee everything. Be sure to criticize when you have a chance. People are wearing an off outfit, mock it. Supervise that. Get involved in breaks. The more you keep busy telling other people what to do, the more of a supervisory role you are playing.
Talk Yiddish When Other Mashgiachs Are Around
Yiddish is the Kosher language of America, because it's not English. Even if you don't know Yiddish, do a high pitch of the few Yiddish words you know. Larry David employs the Yiddish high pitch mumble beautifly in Curb Your Enthusiasm.
Anything you do is Kosher when it's Yiddish. I overheard somebody at Kiddish explaining, 'Nu. I don't know if I'm a fan. Not to plotz for. The burger at Wendy's is a bissel dry.' Vus is dus? You're going to tell them Wendy's isn't Kosher?
Wear a Blazer
You don't have to work when you're wearing a blazer. Better yet, a suit. Nobody asks people to do physical labor when they're wearing a suit. Hence, real rabbis wear suits.
It also looks more supervisory to wear a jacket. Better yet, wear a tuxedo. People may even wish you a Mazel Tov for not helping.
Make a Big Deal About Pesach
When Pesach comes, throw everything in the Kitchen out. Any questions asked to you as a Mashgiach, 'Throw it out.' They ask about the oven, 'Throw it out.' Counters, in the trash.
If you can, blow torch the place, do it. It looks good when a rabbi walks through the kitchen with exposed fire. It lets them know who's truly in charge. It also instills the necessary fear in the staff who are thinking of treifing up the place.
Whatever you do, make sure they call you a rabbi. Even if you have a high school Torah education, just go by rabbi. Exploit that. If they call you rabbi, you don't have to help. And they will respect you for that.
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