Zalmi Duchman and Yosef Schwartz have always been entrepreneurs who bent the rules. In high school, they sold home-made smoothies out of their dorm room. Later, when they started their meal-delivery company, The Fresh Diet, Duchman would often get pulled over by the cops for running red lights in the early hours of the morning when transporting products — the police assumed he was carrying meals for the elderly and let him go (he never corrected them). When the duo decided to make their food company non-kosher after several months of operation, they bent the last rule they vowed never to break: the laws of their religion.
Duchman and Schwartz are orthodox Jews. Their religion has strict policies against eating certain foods like pork and shellfish, ingredients offered in their products. The cofounders and childhood friends have not sampled most of the food they sell in their business.
“We we not the conformist types,’ said Schwartz, 32, originally from Los Angeles. “We are always on the edge, we’re religious but we bend the line and push it, but we don’t break it.”
To get their business off the ground and generating revenues of $38 million in 2012, Duchman and Schwartz had to find the balance between their goals and the restrictions of their faith. The first hurdle was the food. continue...