If you had stopped by our test kitchen yesterday, you would have happened upon Max and Eli Sussman, cooking like mad, all burners going, ingredients piled on every available surface. The chefs and authors of Classic Recipes for Modern People were here to prepare an early Passover feast, cohosted by their parents—a meal to forever be known as the best seder ever.
For many of us, the meal was also our first seder ever, so Max & Eli’s father Marc and mother Lynn were there to guide us through their family’s rituals and traditions. “We do weird things with our food,” Marc Sussman joked. Whatever they did, it was delicious. Check out the highlights—and all that crazy-delicious food—below.
Max and Eli arrived early in the morning to start prepping for the feast—which of course included matzo ball soup. Here, Max forms the dumplings for their version of the soup, which included braised oxtail. Michelle Heimerman Eli stirring the same lamb stew that his dad makes every Passover, full of chickpeas, greens, apricots, and dates. (No word on whether his dad also wears a Fresh Prince of Bel Air–inspired hat while doing it.) Matthew Taylor-Gross The secret to great Instagrams? Having Williams-Sonoma style your table certainly doesn’t hurt. Michelle Heimerman The prettiest gefilte fish you’ve ever seen: Max & Eli’s gefilte fish terrine, which was passed around before the meal began. Michelle Heimerman Max Sussman plating crispy artichokes with miso aioli, a dish from their cookbook inspired by their mom’s intense love of artichokes. Michelle Heimerman No one is safe from @sachsmo: Editor in chief Adam Sachs makes Max pose for an Instagram. Michelle Heimerman The second dish of the night: A slightly bitter, slightly sweet, entirely addictive carrot and pistachio salad. Michelle Heimerman The brothers hard at work. Michelle Heimerman Every year, Marc designates a theme for his seder. Last year’s theme revolved around the question, “Who would you invite to your seder?” Our answer to that one, obviously, is the Sussman family. (Same time next year, guys?) Michelle Heimerman As the youngest child, Eli was always tasked with reading the four questions, an important part of the Passover seder. This seder was no different; Marc put him to work before the food was served. “The classic joke goes, there aren’t four questions, there are five,” said Marc. “And the fifth one is, ‘when do we eat?'” Michelle Heimerman Like father, like son: similar maror-tasting faces; similar taste in stylish headwear. Michelle Heimerman Max plating salmon with chermoula and sautéed vegetables, a recipe based on their mom’s oven-broiled salmon. Overheard at the table: “I want to put that chermoula on everything. Cereal included.” Michelle Heimerman Gorgeous seder table, gorgeous guests. Michelle Heimerman “At this point in the dinner, Uncle Al has long since fallen asleep,” Marc says, which means it’s time for a fourth glass of wine and mom’s macaroons. Michelle Heimerman After macaroons, the second dessert: Vanilla almond mousse with chocolate pecan matzo. “Just…a lot of wow,” said our copy chief upon tasting it. Michelle Heimerman The whole seder crew: Marc Sussman, Amy Marr from Weldon-Owen, Eli Sussman, editor-in-chief Adam Sachs, Max Sussman, and SAVEUR’s Stefanie McNamara. Michelle Heimerman