Learn About Keeping Kosher

What is a Shomer?

The Hebrew word Shomer translates as ‘guard’. A shomer sits in the kitchen of an establishment to ensure that all the ingredients and methods of cooking are in accordance with Jewish Law. They check that all the ingredients used in a kitchen are kosher and that all vegetables are thoroughly checked and bugs are removed.

What exactly is the shomer's responsibility?

Upon arrival at any kitchen, the shomer needs to establish that everything is as the previous shomer left it. Even if he was there himself the previous day, he should make sure that nothing has been tampered with or that anything new has been brought onto the premises. Once this task has been completed, the shomer needs to let the chefs get on with their work and this will mean lighting the ovens and any other cooking equipment.

Previously, this could well have been the main task of the shomer's duties, but today with the increase in exotic menus, chefs are using more and more vegetables that need thorough cleaning and checking lest they contain any infestation which is forbidden according to Torah law. 'Veg checking' forms the backbone of the shomer's work during the course of the day and may take his whole day depending on the size of the restaurant or function. But, at the same time, the shomer needs to be aware of what is going on around him. Some of the things that will need constant shmira (checking) will include checking that a chef has not inadvertently lit a flame (bishul akum); that fish and meat are being prepared separately and that all products being used have a hechsher (Kosher certificate) or are listed in the Food Guide. 

On the catering side, a shomer's day can start as early as 07.30 and not finish until 17.00 or 18.00 in the evening. On a function day, they can easily go on until 21.00. Long hours can also be spent working in restaurants. The shomer's job can be long and gruelling but as you can see, the merits are great. It is the sole responsibility of the shomer to ensure that all guests at a function, or clients at a restaurant, eat kosher. They are placing their trust in his professionalism and integrity.

If you would like to apply to be a shomer please follow the link below and complete and submit the online application form. For more information about becoming a shomer, please contact Mr Zvi Brooks

Apply to be a KLBD Shomer