Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pres. Obama Loves White House 'Simple Kimchi'

The Kitchen Garden recipe is perfect for the President because he "loves big bold flavors," says Assistant Chef Sam Kass...
The White House's 'Simple Kimchi' is a favorite of President Obama's, according to Assistant Chef Sam KassThe recipe for the house-made version of Korea's national dish was unveiled on First Lady Michelle Obama's Twitter account earlier this month when Napa cabbage was harvested from her Kitchen Garden.  It's just one of the White House chefs' many pickling experiments, said Kass.  And the President is definitely a fan.  (Above, strolling in the garden on his 51st birthday) 

"He loves big bold flavors, like y'know, with a little spice," Kass said during an interview filmed in the Kitchen Garden last week as part of a sequester-themed media event for local TV anchors.

"We had a bunch of beautiful Napa cabbage that came out of here just a few weeks ago, so it [Kimchi] was the perfect thing to do," Kass said.

The White House kimchi uses radish, scallion, Thai chilies, garlic, and fresh ginger, which is currently growing in the garden, said Kass. 

And President Obama isn't the only one loving 1600 Penn's recipe.  The first new White House release for the second term, the recipe caused an outpouring of interest in Korean media.  "Michelle Obama is a lover of Kimchi," enthused a headline in the Korea Times, while SBS broadcast network noted that the recipe "has become a hot topic." At left, the photo tweeted with the recipe.

Mrs. Obama's world-famous 1,500-square foot plot grows year round, and has produced more than 4,000 pounds of vegetables since first planted in 2009, Kass said.

"We pickle a lot of it," Kass said.

Asked if daughters Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11, eat from the Kitchen Garden, Kass said "absolutely."

"At dinner time, the one rule is, 'you eat your vegetables.'"

Kass said that while he uses Kitchen Garden bounty to cook "almost every night," some of it is donated:  "We give about a third of it away to a local soup kitchen that cooks healthy food for those in greatest need."

He also showed visiting reporters the White House Beehive, which produces the key ingredient for the hombrewed White House beer--another fermentation experiment the White House chefs are engaged in.

"The beer is always the winner," said Kass.

Check out the White House Honey Ale and Honey Porter recipes, and the White House recipe for Kitchen Garden Pickles.

Honolulu's KITV 4 anchor Yunji de Nies' Kitchen Garden interview with Kass:

*Top photo by Pete Souza/White House, taken on August 4, 2012.  Kimchi photo by Let's Move!