Kosher Kitchen Challenge: Hanukkah Dinner at the White House

The New York Times

It's no small feat to turn a kitchen kosher. To start, a very thorough cleaning (as in every surface and utensil) must be meticulously orchestrated. And undergoing this process in the White House kitchen requires the highest level of scrutiny. The New York Times followed the process - read on for how they did it.

This wasn't the first time the White House has hosted a kosher dinner, but the preparations in the kitchen were nonetheless significant. Supervised by Rabbi Levi Shemtov, the process took a team of workers more than four hours to complete, not including the sanitation of cooking utensils done the day before (the utensils have to set for at least 24 hour hours after cleaning before they're okay to use). They sanitized surfaces, cleaned ovens and stoves (these were covered in foil and heated to high temperatures for more than an hour), and brought in new flatware and platters, all before the kosher food even arrived.

Kosher cooking requires absolute separation of meat and dairy products, and it's not something that can be tackled half-heartedly. Fortunately, the White House has plenty of resources. Food for the Obama family meals was set aside in a separate refrigerator that remained closed during the entire kosher process. White House platters and serving pieces were also set aside as rented kosher materials were brought in. All in all, the process was finished in time for the Hanukkah celebration the following day.

Have you ever turned your kitchen kosher?

Read more: Overnight Makeover for a Kosher First Kitchen at The New York Times

Related: Creating a Kosher Kitchen

(Images: Brendan Smialowski/The New York Times)