Cooking up tradition

Ari Lev Elkine, Director of Culinary Services at Kensington Place, preparing one of his favourite dishes.Ari Lev Elkine is happiest when his kitchen is filled with the aroma of roasting meats.

Our menu is built on traditional Jewish food,” said Ari, Director of Culinary Services at Kensington Place Retirement Residence, a kosher residence in Toronto. “For me it’s not only cooking, it’s more spiritual.”

His passion for food is rooted in his passion for Judaism. Born in Belarus in 1979, Ari attended Hebrew school in Moscow. He was one of the best students in his class, and was given the opportunity to continue his studies overseas. He chose to come to Toronto, Canada.

Once he’d finished his studies, Ari started teaching in a Jewish school, even making it to assistant principal. However, as time wore on he decided to change his career path, and looked into culinary.

He took courses to become a mashgiach, which gave him the ability to prepare kosher meals. Later, he took chef courses to perfect his craft. He began working at Kensington Place in November of 2016.

“When I come to work, I am excited!” Ari said. “We have an excellent team… I like seeing how the residents are doing and joking with them.”

“Kensington Place is wonderful. All of the managers are professional, I love my work and hope to grow and improve.”

One of his favourite times at Kensington Place is during Chanukah.

“I love Chanukah, the tradition of eating latkes with sour cream and apple sauce,” he said, adding that they usually give out chocolate coins and play dreidel. He loves the candle lightings, saying they give him a warm feeling.

“It reminds me of home and my grandparents, family, and everybody getting together.”

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