“I was on a cooking show with Donna Hanover and I made cannoli,” reported Mintz. “She tasted the dessert and said to me, ‘How does a nice Jewish boy know how to make cannoli like this?'”
Other Tofutti brand offerings include a tempting array of completely non-dairy frozen foods such as mini and jumbo ravioli, pizza, soft chewy chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and peanut butter cookies and the aptly titled Mintz’s Blintzes. Currently, Mintz is working on frozen yogurt and toaster ravioli as well as a vegetable protein alternative to tofu for those who are allergic to soybeans.
The president of Lubavitch on the Palisades in Tenafly, Mintz routinely hosts numerous guests for Friday night meals to taste test his recipes, which are apparently so delicious that invitations to Mintz’s house are highly coveted.
“I have twenty to twenty five people Friday night for Oneg Shabbat at my house,” says Mintz with obvious pleasure. “I serve pareve ravioli, manicotti. People can’t believe what they are eating.”
Ever passionate about his cooking, Mintz hopes to one day publish a cookbook, with proceeds going to tzeddakah.
“I don’t believe in complex recipes,” explains Mintz. “I want the one, two three recipes, things that are basic but beautiful. I make a Chilean Sea Bass with craisins and mango that I cook on a low flame with onions and garlic. The aroma alone could stop traffic. My neighbors tell me they love Fridays because they love the smells that come wafting out of my house.”
While Mintz has received numerous expressions of gratitude from both kosher consumers and lactose intolerant customers who continue to patronize his ever growing line of products, the most memorable response he got was from a customer whose mother was dying of cancer and who credits Mintz with extending her life by an additional two years.
“I get a call from a man who tells me he loves my product and has been a loyal customer from the very beginning,” reported Mintz. “He tells me that his mother was at Sloan Kettering and she couldn’t keep any food down. She was being fed intravenously, but how long can a person live like that? She was losing weight, becoming skin and bones when one of the doctors suggested she try eating vanilla Tofutti. She loved it, it had nutrients and protein and she was able to keep it down. She stopped losing weight and the color came back to her cheeks. He said to me ‘Thank you so much for giving my mother those extra two years.’ That call put me in a cold sweat. I got off the phone and I sat at my desk, completely unable to move. I couldn’t believe that I had made such a difference in someone’s life and I attribute it all to the words of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, telling me to have faith, to have bitachon.”