Courtesy of Michigan Hillel

Chef Cedric Smith has deep-seated roots in the culinary world.

Michigan Hillel’s star continues to rise with more great additions to the Hillel Café. It introduced Ann Arbor to new Head Chef Jonathan Shepard last semester and is proud to share its new Sous Chef Cedric Smith.

Smith has had a longstanding relationship with the food industry — developing a deep appreciation for the art form at a young age from his mother and chef father. His passion grew as he honed his skills, training in California alongside his older brother, a respected chef in his own right for Hollywood celebrities.

Love then called him home to Michigan, where he cooked for country clubs, hotels and restaurants.

Smith said of his new venture with Hillel, “I’m so glad to have found Hillel and the opportunity to be a part of this community’s Jewish food experience.”

Together, the duo of Shepard and Smith are taking the Hillel Café to new heights. They have restructured and revitalized the Café’s menu, breathing new life into the county’s only public kosher restaurant.

There is now a monthly menu of offerings, from which customers can choose a variety of gourmet soups, salads, sandwiches, and entrees — all available a la carte.

Reflecting on the updated menu, Smith shared, “I am loving the challenge of taking some of my family’s best recipes, like our coveted fried chicken, and adapting them to kosher dishes.

“The Café’s patrons have been so helpful in sharing with us the best of their family recipes, too, and I hope they keep those tips coming.”

Recent menu items have included pulled BBQ brisket, cashew creamed chicken alfredo, honey-glazed salmon rice bowls and more.

Visit for their full monthly menu. Stacy Carroll is director of advancement for U-M Hillel.

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