In this video, we’re going to talk to Mr Sholem Potash about everything Culinary Depot. Good morning, how are you today? Good, thank you. Lovely to spend time, thank you for inviting us to your
kitchen by the way. This is beautiful. Thank you.
So let’s start with this — maybe you could tell me a little bit about yourself and
how you’ve come to be in the culinary world. Okay, so I started out as a chef
executive chef for many years. Actually I started out dish-washing but move myself
up to busboy, dish-washing in the kitchen. That’s gotta take a little while to do,
right? It doesn’t happen overnight. Yeah, it took a nice couple of years — like 25 years. Wow,
okay. From there I went into my own catering business and being in my own
catering business I did a lot tremendous amount of freelance work moving around
from hotels to hotels to other kitchens, other facilities, and you know
every kitchen, every facility needs to structure based on the menu that I move
with. So… Right, so what you’re talking about here is a lot of variety.
Everything from restaurants and hotels to… what are some of the most unusual places? Tremendous variety. What are some of the most unusual places?
A cruise ship. Really, a cruise ship? Yea. So now this has to be quite different in terms
of what you need in this kind of kitchen. Sure, it’s got to be bolted to the ground,
it has to be very stable and you know the electric’s different, the gas is
different, all kinds of different situations where
you have to come in to be creative, move things around,
actually you know every kitchen where I would come into I would have to move
this here, that here. And to top it all off, I was doing kosher. So when you’re
doing kosher, number one you’re dealing with two kitchens. Right, of course. You’re
dealing with a dairy kitchen, you’re dealing with a meat kitchen. And same
thing with dish-washing, you’re you’re dealing with a dishwasher that’s
meat, a dishwasher that’s dairy. So throughout the facility, it’s double the
amount to space, double the amount of equipment. So now you over the course of
time, you’re getting experience basically setting up, because you have to do for
catering, lots of different kinds of kitchens. Where did that lead? So that
lead to where we’re standing, where we’re sitting here right now today. At a certain point,
I became the expert and anybody in my community and people I knew — friends,
whether it’s other chefs, okay Mr Potash — tell me,
I’m gonna build a kitchen. Where do I start? You know so — that’s where I came in and I gave him my advice. You know, based on his menu, based on his type of
restaurant he was doing, whether it was kosher or non kosher, whether it was Italian or Greek or Mediterranean, that’s how I was able to start from “Okay so I have
your menu,” now we see okay, “What equipment do we need to produce this type of a
food. and we start from scratch. We start with the exhaust system and we take it
from there. We continue… to build from there. Right. So let me ask this now — just
staying with Culinary Depot for a moment and we’ll talk about commercial kitchen
design in a moment. So culinary Depot began because you’ve had 25 years of
experience in lots and lots of different places and people came back to you,
asking you for advice and advice and advice. When was the moment where you
thought, “You know what? So many people are asking me for this free advice
maybe it’s time to build a business out of this.” What happened then? So, what happened was it was take- it was consuming a lot of my time where I
started realizing okay you know so let’s- let me do this professionally. And I
started designing — actually designing. I learned how to do CAD designs and
how to do… Sounds technical. It’s- it’s not so technical, it’s just something
that you have to know. It’s like anything else, you know. You know to
broil a steak? You learn how to do that, you learn how to do work around to do a
good design for somebody and once I started doing design, they said to me,
“Okay so where do I buy this? Where do I get this? Where do I get the best price?
Where do I get the the best- Which company should I buy? Should I buy
Vulcan? Should I buy Garland? What should I do, Mr Potash? What am I gonna do, chef? And based on the menu and based on his needs and based on the space, we decided to
give him — whether was Vulcan. Garland, or any of the True refrigeration… what
size walk-in box would he need? What size freezer would he need? All based on the
menu and facility and how many people he’s going to serve. Okay, so I went out and
I did some homework since I knew already who’s selling, who’s buying,
and I started selling. I was at some point I was delivering the whole package –
basically a turnkey operation. So it can give me a sense therefore — one thing that
people don’t know about Culinary Depot — they don’t much about its past so we’re
sharing some of that now. But also they don’t get a sense of the scale of the
thing. I mean this thing is quite substantial now. Can you give me a
snapshot — where are you guys at today? How big? You know… give me a
sense of what the operation’s like. So first of all we have between 90 and 100
employees already. And we have different channels. From these 90 to 100 people,
there’s many many channels. You have the government channel, you have the
contracting channel, which means the hotels, the big facilities, the big
catering halls. Then you have the local business. We have a showroom where we are, and we have the local business — any deli, mom-and-pop type of operation. And we’ll
do that, then we have some internet business. That’s — you know, where we come in with the knowledge. We train our people very well. When somebody calls in
and you know I’ve given over what I have learned to those people, and that’s very
important. And then they train and the products. They get special training whether it’s ware washing, whether it’s grills and the
lines, the ventilation systems. So they get a very enhanced training from –
turnkey – from the beginning of the operation to the end of the operation. So
anybody that calls in and has a specific question or wants to start a business
— they’ll just do what we did. They’re gonna- they repeat himself and they just do it better and better than I can ever dream of doing. So it sounds like
you’ve grown from your own expertise a bunch of other experts networking at
Culinary Depot so that when you call up, you’ve got really that wealth of
knowledge and experience to draw on. Does that sound like a fair- It’s awesome. It’s
definitely- that’s what we’re talking about. Alright, terrific. Well thank you
so much. I appreciate you sharing a little insight on where it’s come from
and where culinary Depot is right now. For those of you who’d like to find out
more, please visit us online at That way you can find out all contact information to get in touch with us by
phone, email, through our email forum. Also all the equipment that we sell and
access to all of our knowledge and experience through