When Chaim Silverberg was growing up in a small town in Minnesota in the ‘90s, he didn’t have access to a lot of kosher food. Most of his friends didn’t keep kosher, either.
“I always loved food, and because I grew up kosher in a non-kosher neighborhood, we grew up cooking,” he said. “My mom is an incredible provider of food. We made everything, so it was hands-on. I was always jealous of my friends who grew up in neighborhoods with kosher food. When I heard kosher pizza delivery existed, it blew my mind.”
Today, Silverberg lives in Baltimore and is owner and proprietor of CWS meats, which is a boutique kosher meat company. But what he’s best known for is “Tripping Kosher,” his popular YouTube channel and Facebook page where he posts video of himself and his sidekick Judd Joffre going to kosher restaurants around the world.
“I want to present something that’s easily digestible with a smile.” – Chaim Silverberg
“We highlight the places we go to,” said Silverberg. “We don’t do reviews. If a dish isn’t good we just won’t put it in the video. It’s not necessary. The world is contentious and I want to present something that’s easily digestible with a smile.”
Silverberg was inspired to start “Tripping Kosher” after watching the chef and host Alton Brown on television for years.
“I was always a big fan of his,” he said. “He does food programming in a delightful fashion. There’s no negativity. He’s just there to tell you a great story about a restaurant.”
Silverberg followed Brown’s model when he began making videos. He eats the food and interviews the owner, producing a mini documentary about the restaurant.
One of the most popular videos on the channel is about the kosher use of cannabis, and features Orthodox rabbis talking about their foray into the cannabis industry. Recently, Silverberg and Joffre visited Los Angeles and made videos at Lenny’s Casita, Long Beach Beer Lab, La Gondola and Tierra Sur at Herzog Wine Cellars, where they toured the winemaking facilities and munched on lamb riblets.
To create videos, Silverberg and Joffre spend a few days in a location and try to visit as many restaurants as possible. This past winter, they spent 36 hours in Florida and went to 23 different eateries.
During the height of the pandemic, they stopped traveling and instead edited footage for over a year and a half. “Then, once the world opened up, we began running around again,” Silverberg said. “During a two-month period, I’m probably on a plane five times. But we’re always home for Shabbos.”
Some of the most creative foods include kosher Korean food in Monsey, Bukharian food in Scottsdale, Greek food at the Greek Jewish Festival in New York and the dairy and pareve treats at Long Beach Beer Lab, a kosher brewery, restaurant and bakery.
Some of the most creative food that Silverberg and Joffre have seen include kosher Korean food in Monsey, New York, Bukharian food in Scottsdale, Arizona, dishes at the Greek Jewish Festival in New York City and the dairy and pareve treats at Long Beach Beer Lab, a kosher brewery, restaurant and bakery.
“They are singular in the country and exemplary for what they are doing,” said Silverberg.
With “Tripping Kosher,” Silverberg wants to try great food and highlight innovative kosher restaurants for his community.
“[Our community] didn’t grow up watching regular TV,” he said. “They aren’t as jaded as the rest of us. They are getting a new medium of food blogs and self-produced content, like ours.”
He also strives to be an inspiration to other people in his world who may be thinking about creating their own content.
“We think frum Jews will start making quality, kosher television,” he said. “We’re hoping to set the example.”