When thinking of the Passover seder meal, Yael Ron, the general manager at The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland, remembers the big celebrations of her childhood and the gifts of new shoes or shirts to mark the beginning of a renewed time.

Like many Jewish events, the celebration is focused around food and families gathered around the table at home. As such, she said she wanted to provide a Ritz-Carlton dining experience for the seder meal at home.

For the first time, Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland, is offering a Passover “to-go” kosher seder dinner option available for pick-up at its location in Downtown Cleveland April 19. The meal costs $220 per order plus a $10 service charge per each full order. The meal comes in an insulated basket and will be under controlled conditions in the hotel’s kosher kitchen. 

“Everyone remembers, you need to have more tables, more chairs, you have to get prepared (for the seder meal,)” she said. “(I) started thinking how cool would it be if we were able to deliver the Ritz-Carlton experience with great, great, great food offerings for people to really have at their own homes. Because most people do celebrate at their own homes, in their own atmosphere, and they want to feel how personalized that is.”

The dinner-for-four will be prepared in the hotel’s kosher kitchen, a secluded kitchen from the hotel’s main kitchen, and rabbinical supervision will be provided by Cleveland Kosher. Meals must be pre-ordered by April 8. The rabbis will also supervise the delivery to the customers. 

To her knowledge, Ron said Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland, is the only location offering this catering option, aside from locations in Israel.

The meals will be prepared by chefs Richard Sören Arnoldi and Shawn Cline. The food will come partially cooked in vacuum-packed bags. Customers can place the bags in a pot of hot water for the time designated on the instructions to complete the cooking process.

“It’s as simple as taking it from the cooler to one big pot of boiling water – you can throw all the ingredients in,” Cline said. “All these items come out in their own bag, you can cut the bag and (place them on a plate).”

Arnoldi acknowledges many people traditionally cook brisket or an all-white gefilte fish for the seder meal, but for this catering option he said he wanted to add the Ritz-Carlton elegance and chose short ribs instead. The gefilte fish also has a spin on it and will come in three layers with a red layer of salmon, a white layer of white fish and a green layer of white fish mixed with spinach.

“It’s elegant ... but still traditional,” he said.

The meal will differentiate itself from other catering options, Ron said, as it’s going to follow in Ritz-Carlton fashion of high-quality products while blending the tradition of the kosher kitchen.

“The idea is the one and one be greater together than the two,” Ron said. “To bring in the Ritz-Carlton spirit, bring in the culinary professionalism, the elegance, the way we do things at the Ritz ... and then meeting that with the needs of the tradition of the kosher kitchen in such an elevated way, in such a celebration of the year. To me, that’s a big differentiator than other (kosher catering options).” 

She added she wants this catering option to become a tradition, however she estimated about 150 to 200 orders need to be made for it to continue. As of March 14, more than 30 orders were made. If it is a success, Ron said a Rosh Hashanah catering option may be on the horizon. 

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