Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

A White House Seder: Chef Vered Guttman Makes Passover Healthy

Chef Guttman opted for quinoa and kale, earning praise from the First Lady

By: Ashley Baylen

Published: April 17th, 2014 in Culture » Food » News

As we all know, traditional Passover Seders are not necessarily comprised of the most health-conscious dishes. Although brisket, gelfilte fish, and matzo ball soup may be extremely delicious, they don’t fall into the “low cal” category, that’s for sure.

When Chef Vered Guttman, a Washington D.C-based caterer, was tasked with preparing the White House Seder meal for the Obama family and guests, she knew it would be an incredible challenge. The First Lady, Michelle Obama, is known for her healthy lifestyle and her passion for encouraging others to treat their bodies with respect as well.

“The traditional Seder fare is hardly fresh or healthy,” Guttman wrote in a post-dinner review about incorporating vegetable sides to “offset some of the Jewish carbs” like gefilte fish and matzo ball soup.

According to Guttman, the President and First Lady were so impressed with a quinoa-kale salad that they inquired about getting the recipe off her afterwards.

Guttman worked in a “surprisingly small kitchen” at the executive mansion alongside White House executive chef, Cris Comerford and pastry chef, Bill Yosses.

Yosses, who plans to leave his post at the White House this June, has previously joked that although he ardently supports the First lady’s choice to eat healthy and her popular “Let’s Move” campaign, he doesn’t “demonize cream, butter, sugar and eggs” either.

Guttman wasn’t able to join the Obamas or their guests at the Seder table, but explains that she was deeply moved while listening to them read the Haggadah.

“It was nice to listen to the guests reading the blessings 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,'” she recalls.

The Obamas began an annual Passover tradition in 2008. The guest list this year included Valerie Jarrett, David Axelrod, Reggie Love, Jen Psaki, Ben Rhodes, and of course his two daughters, Malia and Sasha.

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