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It's still party season, kosher caterer says

Paul Kohn is something of a party animal. After all, it's his business.

Kohn is owner of Quality Kosher Catering, a Southfield-based, full-service catering company. His job is to make sure everyone who attends his events has the best possible experience from food to flowers to music. He is even known to lose his voice during major events from talking to so many people.

So that is why he cringes when he hears some Metro Detroit companies might skip holding a traditional holiday party this year. Kohn believes even with the national economic slump, companies need to celebrate just in more creative ways.

For example, a business that usually threw a hotel-based dinner could have a smaller, catered meal in its office. To cut costs even further, Kohn recommends companies skip the alcohol and leave the spouses at home.

"In your own domain, it's yours so you can make your own rules," Kohn said. "If you go to a restaurant or hotel, it's hard to tell (employees) what they cannot have."

Indeed, more than half of organizations polled by professional services firm Towers Perrin in Stamford, Conn., said they are "somewhat or very likely" to scale back this year's holiday party and other employee events to save money.

Kohn's party spirit also may be related to his own personal celebration Quality Kosher Catering is enjoying its 30th anniversary this year.

Its story began in 1966 when Kohn's mother, Elizabeth or "Etta," founded Royal Kosher Catering. She had immigrated to America from Hungry following the Holocaust and started the business from scratch, Kohn said.

"She built the American dream. She built her future," Kohn said.

Her trademark was fresh, homemade kosher food. Kosher foods are defined as those that conform to the regulations of Jewish religion. Kohn described the food as hearty and healthy. For example, it is lactose free, so an otherwise creamy dessert will have fewer calories when made in a kosher way. And it is delicious, Kohn added, so it appeals to people of all religions, races, colors or creeds.

When Etta faced permanent retirement from diabetes, Kohn left his job as a biology and chemistry teacher in Detroit to help her preserve the business. He launched Quality Kosher Catering in May 1978.

Kohn said he enjoys the science of cooking and the challenges of putting together the right team of people. His mother, who had great business sense, recommended hiring only the best, Kohn said. And that is why he has long-time employees like his executive chef and executive director, both who have worked there for more than 15 years.

Kohn believes parties are the ideal way to honor the work employees have done all year long. So instead of focusing on the negative, managers could celebrate everything their teams have accomplished and focus on a better year ahead.

"If you do an in-house office party, it's more like inviting people into your home. It's treating your company like your family," Kohn said.

"It's a no-brainer," Kohn added. "We do everything we bring the food, dishes and servers. Afterward, we clean up and take away the trash. When you're done, you're completely d

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Tags: Caterer , Kosher Caterer

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