Sample the kosher delicacies at a free tasting


Chef Andrew Esposito and Sandy Ross

Some people just get it. They know what needs to be done, how to do it and when to start thinking about what’s next. Sandy Ross is one of them. We met to talk about her new venture, Catering to Tradition, which she started with chef Andrew Esposito.

Ross has an air of confidence about her that’s somehow reassuring and calming. That poise is accompanied by a no-nonsense demeanor of a business owner ­– a go-getter who makes things happen. Yes, she’s retired, but that doesn’t mean she’s ready to move to a certain warm state, famous for its long coastline, and lie on the beach all day. She’d rather keep busy and stay useful.

After a career in sales, she’d had enough of traveling. Not wanting to go out on the road again, Ross found work in Smithfield as an event planner and often worked with Local Hero Deli and Catering owned by Esposito. Ross felt that his food was the best, he always did exactly what he promised (and sometimes more) and she never had to chase him to finish something.

She raves, “He was just a pleasure to work with, and I loved his food.” When asked about her favorite dish that Esposito makes, Ross thinks for a long time, finally saying that she truly loves everything. “It is so yummy!” she enthuses.

After a few years, the event planner job stopped being fun and Ross left. When Esposito called to ask for her help in making his dream of being a kosher caterer come true, Ross explained everything that running a kosher kitchen involved and suggested he try “kosher-style” cooking instead. [Kosher-style refers to food that is not kosher, but is a type of food that could be produced as kosher.] The two became partners and catered many bar and bat mitzvahs.

They had such an ease and rapport that when Esposito brought up his kosher catering goal five years later, Ross agreed. Over the years, they’ve been asked to cater kosher events so many times that Ross saw a clear need for another kosher caterer. Last year alone, they catered three kosher events – enough to acknowledge the demand and begin talking with different organizations and synagogues about the possibility of cooking in their kitchens.

When it was suggested that their venture might be a great fit for Congregation Beth Sholom, Ross and Esposito met with Rabbi Barry Dolinger. After many conversations, the two signed a contract this January.

Now they are working under rabbi Dolinger’s supervision. He says, “Sandy and Andrew have been enthusiastic and upbeat from the start, working hard to make this dream a reality. They are attentive to all of the rules of Kashrut and conscientious, making sure they are following Jewish law in the proper way. Both are fun to work with in the kitchen, and Andrew is an incredibly talented chef.”

In addition to superb cuisine and planning flexibility, Ross’ calling card is her inventiveness. She loves parties and will do everything in her power to make them as smooth-flowing and fun as possible. Ross admits, “I’m exhausted afterwards, but it’s worth every single minute to make these people so happy.”  

Partly because of the attention to details, large and small, clients are highly satisfied with the service Ross and Esposito provide. The Voice heard from Anna Pavlotsky Bowden, who hired the team for her son’s bar mitzvah. She says, “The Kiddush luncheon had to be kosher to comply with our temple’s strict rules. Sandy guided us through it flawlessly and, in addition, the dishes were well-prepared and flavorful, their presentation thoughtful and original, and the dessert station exquisite, ample and sinfully delicious! We received so many compliments from our guests, both kids and adults, on the kosher Kiddush luncheon, and would recommend Catering to Tradition without hesitation.”

If you’re intrigued, you can try many of their dishes for free at a Congregation Beth Sholom tasting. On Sunday, March 23, Ross and Esposito invite the entire Jewish community to 275 Camp St., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Grab some friends and enjoy an afternoon of great food. You’ll sample delicacies such as latkes, mashed potatoes, caprese skewers, tuna, tomato soup shooters with mini grilled cheese, smoked salmon and cucumber crostini, crepes and ice cream.

Need more motivation? Check out some food photos on their new site, Bon appétit!