Hotels in Abu Dhabi will soon be certified for serving kosher cuisine, as the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) is launching a hotel kosher certification process in the capital.
An agreement with the Emirates Agency for Kosher Certification gives Abu Dhabi’s hotel industry access to free certification services for a 12-month period, starting immediately.
To achieve kosher certification, food and beverage outlets in hotels must designate an area in the kitchen that is strictly for kosher food preparation that complies with kashrut – Jewish dietary laws.
For example, the Torah permits Jews to eat land animals which "chew their cud and have cloven hooves". That includes animals such as cows, sheep and goats, but excludes pigs.
Menus must also highlight to diners which dishes are kosher.
The news follows a recent directive issued to Abu Dhabi hotels to start offering kosher cuisine on room service menus and in restaurants.
Emirates Palace is kosher-approved
The Mandarin Oriental Emirates Palace is the first hotel in the emirate to be kosher-certified. Now, with the implementation of a free certification system, other hotels across Abu Dhabi are likely to follow suit.
The initiative paves the way for Jewish tourists of various nationalities to visit the UAE after the country's historic peace accord with Israel.
As well as attracting tourists, the introduction of kosher food looks set to bring new dishes to Abu Dhabi restaurants.
“The Abu Dhabi Hotels Kosher Certification Project provides the opportunity for citizens and residents in the UAE to experience new food items, as we look forward to welcoming Jewish tourists from around the world to our city," said Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, executive director of tourism and marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi.
Rabbi Duchman, founder and executive director of the Emirates Agency of Kosher Certification, said: “We are excited to be part of history as we assist the hotels to provide kosher options that will strengthen tourism. This initiative is all part of the Abu Dhabi government vision for the emirate to be a home for all people of all cultures and religious backgrounds and a true beacon of light to all of our neighbours."
The Emirates Agency for Kosher Certification (EAKC) was established earlier this year, and is the first legal entity responsible for kosher certification activities in the UAE.
Emirates airline's catering division recently announced it is opening the first major kosher food production facility in the UAE. Emirates Flight Catering is setting up the food production facility at the company’s headquarters in Dubai. Called Kosher Arabia, the global catering company will begin producing meals from the facility in January next year.