At this year’s Seder meal for Passover, not only did the White House chef have to prepare a meal fit for a president, but she also had to make a meal in line with First Lady Michelle Obama’s health conscious diet. This was no small feat, but Chef Vered Guttman managed to go above and beyond. She helped make this year’s Presidential Seder meal memorable by its touching ceremony but also by its healthy twists on traditional Jewish foods.
This year, Passover is from April 15 until April 22. On Tuesday night, the second night of Passover, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the Seder dinner in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House. “The traditional seder fare is hardly fresh or healthy,” Guttman said in her blog, as she explained offsetting some of the traditional Jewish carbs like gefilte fish and matzo ball soup with vegetable sides. The most popular new-age meal of the night was Guttman’s quinoa-kale salad. Both the President and the First Lady even inquired for the dish's recipe, the Daily News reported.
The President and the First Lady hosted many guests at the dinner, including Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod, Reggie Love, Jen Pskaki, and Ben Rhodes. The first daughters Malia, 15, and Sasha, 12, also joined in the special meal. Guests ate off of gold-lined China originally from the Clinton Administration.
Guttman , a D.C.-based caterer, worked alongside White House executive chef, Cris Comerford, and pastry chef, Bill Yosses, to prepare the traditional Jewish meal. Guttman recalls feeling emotional when she overheard the party go through the traditional readings together. “It was nice to listen to the guests reading the blessing together, singing Dayenu and the Eliyahu Hanavi. But the most touching moment for me was to hear them all recite, ‘In every generation it is one’s duty to regard himself as though he personally had gone out of Egypt’,” the chef told the Daily News.
There are many health benefits attributed to quinoa. A single cup serving has 5 grams of dietary fiber and 8 grams of protein. It is an edible seed, closely related to spinach or beetroot. It is grown in the Andean region in South America but has recently gained a large following in the United States.