Does burnt Basque cheesecake sound intriguing? Ask Mandy Fisher Krost, owner of Mandilicious Catering, who has an innate connection to food.
She said, “I come from a family of eaters and food lovers. Growing up in Johannesburg, breakfast was my mom’s holiday, and it literally could have passed for a catered feast.”
Krost and her husband immigrated to Atlanta in 1998, and since 2005, breakfast has also become her holiday. After perfecting her bulke (traditional Jewish South African cinnamon roll) recipe, she became more intrigued with the setup and decor of food.
She explained, “People eat with their eyes.” She is known for her exquisite presentation display of fruits (the more tropical and exotic, the better) mingled with desserts, bagels on spindles, and even the artistic way she rolls lox.
Her back story begins in 2014, when the North Fulton community suffered the loss of beloved 37-year-old Rebbetzin Rashi Minkowicz (OBM), and an international movement was started, “Mitzvah for Rashi.” Krost became involved with the Kiddush Committee at Chabad of North Fulton in Alpharetta. She was part of a group of women who gathered each Shabbos to prepare food for the healing community.
She recalled, “These ladies played an integral part in my path to elevated catering. In 2019, I catered my first event, a graduation party. Things took off quickly and I had contracts and deposits coming in at an astounding rate.” Then, in March 2020, the pandemic hit, and production came to a halt with only dabbling in cooking from home. Once shuls started opening up again for communal gatherings, she got back on track with calls for catering.
In addition to Saturday Kiddush, Krost prepares Shabbat dinners, graduation parties, Brit Milah, Sunday out of towner’s brunch, but not night weddings. From her home, she is not certified as kosher, but she can cook out of kosher synagogue kitchens.
She said, “I wouldn’t have gotten this far without Rabbi Hirshy and Rabbi Gedalya from my Chabad. Their generosity allowed me to use the Chabad kitchens – the walk-in refrigerator, freezer, the Restaurant Depot card, all invaluable to my business.”
Each menu is individually designed and priced per head. Her certified kosher menus can be meat or dairy: using kosher meat, kosher dairy and Chalov Yisroel. If needed, she works with a mashgiach who checks all products, oversees the cooking, washing and inspection, the sealing up of all tableware so as to maintain integrity for the next event. She caters for non-kosher food out of her home.
In addition to outrageous fruit, she serves loads of cupcakes, small sweets, and extra-large chocolate chip cookie brittle.
Her most popular meat items are crispy chicken schnitzel, roasted leg of lamb, brisket with South African chutney and caramelized onions. A meat Kiddush menu consists of cold cut platters served alongside mustard, pickles, and rye bread. A popular accompaniment is her super special scallion potato salad. Her dishes are often served with sprigs of fresh herbs.
Other South African delights are cinnamon bulkes, crustless asparagus tart and tuna lasagna. She stated, “Chabad loves my kugels, a sweet dairy lokshen (noodle) kugel, as well as a parve noodle kugel with applesauce – it’s delicious! I think clients feel my love of food and of feeding others from my buffet presentations and food décor.”
Krost shops at Costco, Restaurant Depot, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. She elaborated, “I’m very particular about what I want, and I’ll travel to get it.”
Krost’s advice to home entertainers, “Plan a simple menu ahead of time using recipes with only a few ingredients. If you can buy something that’s as good as you can make it, then save the time and buy it!”
Call (404) 667-9069 for more information about Mandilicious.
Highly Requested Kiddush Items:
• Tuna salad (with secret mayonnaise and seasoning and chopped pickles)
• Mandilicious signature green salad
• Sesame noodle salad
Some popular hot items:
• Panko-crusted mac ‘n cheese
• Decadent French toast casserole