One of Long Island’s largest catering companies, which partly operates out of Temple Beth Torah in Melville, is accused of lying about serving only kosher food at more than 200 weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, and other events.
The former chef Micheal Savitsky and general manager Tom Cataldo, are suing the owner of Morrell Caterers, Scott Morrell. The former employees claim in court documents that the company expanded its business to serving non-kosher food a year and a half ago, but the owner cut corners by not having a separate kitchen to prepare the meals.
Cataldo said in court papers that Morrell seriously violated kosher laws by having workers prepare non-kosher foods such as such as shrimp, lobster and pork on the same pots, pans and utensils as kosher foods. During a press conference last week, Cataldo told reporters that he decided to take his former employer to court because he was getting sick inside.
“We would have our Kosher foods stored and next to it a bucket of shrimp,” Cataldo said during the press conference. He also claims Morrell poured cheaper alcohol into empty high-end liquor bottles and sold them at premium prices.
Morrell denies the charges and said that he invites a kosher oversight board to inspect his company’s kitchens. His attorneys told the Associated Press that the lawsuit isn’t really about the Kosher food laws, but has to do with an unrelated $19 million lawsuit.
"Those of you who have worked with me over the decades know of my family's commitment to observing the strictest instructions of Kashrut. You also know that I take my responsibility to the Jewish community as a solemn promise to deliver excellence with every meal. There is no price that can be attached to that trust and I will not allow my family's heritage to be tarnished by a terror attack on my company," Morrell said during the press conference.
Rabbi Susie Moskowitz of said that she is unaware of any non-kosher food being served in the temple. "If the allegations turn out to be true, it will be a violation of legal and sacred trust," she said.
She added that the temple will continue its partnership with the catering company unless Morrell is proven guilty.
A kosher supervisor in Flatbush wrote a letter testifying that food prepared at the Woodbury Jewish Center in Woodbury, another of the company’s three locations, is within strict compliance with Jewish dietary laws.
Morrell Caterers also operates out of Temple Israel in Lawrence.
The company has been in business for more than 40 years.