Taking one of the most iconic objects in Judaism and making it your own.
When we first approached Rachel Lutz and asked her to try her hand at creating a new kind of Passover seder plate she said “yes,” with a story.
“One year, my family decided to make our own menorahs. We filled a plate with sand and stuck candles in it, and for the shamash we used a cactus candle. Yea, I can do this.”
Rachel Lutz is the owner of both The Peacock Room and Frida, two boutiques in Detroit’s historic Park Shelton, next to the Detroit Institute of Arts. A native Detroiter and Hillel Day School alum, Lutz grew up in a home full of Jewish tradition with parents who embraced creativity and instilled an appreciation for art in their four children.
“I love the idea of creating ritual objects out of found and untraditional materials,” said Lutz.
Her love of mixing new and old can be seen in both of her beautiful shops, each offering a carefully curated collection of antiques and vintage treasures alongside new pieces from local artists and up-and-coming designers. Bringing her flare for fusing the traditional with the untraditional, Lutz’s inspiring ideas are proof that making a seder plate that’s all your own just takes a bit of creativity and a few of your favorite things.
A Detroit Classic
Nestled inside an antique wooden Vernors crate sits a combination of new and vintage American-made pottery including Pewabic pillar candleholders. “It’s great for passing around the table because it has handles,” said Lutz. “This is perfect for someone who wants to celebrate their Detroit roots.” Taking two of Detroit’s claims to fame, Vernors and Pewabic, this seder plate also doubles as a piece of local history.
Perched on a two-tiered petit fours tray from The Peacock Room are six English bone china teacups, all with different patterns. “My grandparents owned the Lutz China Shop on McNichols. These cups are from there, and many of our family heirlooms are from my grandparents’ store,” said Lutz. Here the wares of two generations of Detroit business owners come together to make one special seder plate.
Why Is This Bite Different From All Other Bites?
To design the ultimate re-imagined seder plates, Rachel Lutz enlisted the talent of her good friend, Executive Chef Kate Williams of Republic in the newly restored G.A.R. Building. In lieu of the traditional hard-boiled egg and parsley sprigs, Chef Kate created seder plate items that are as beautiful as they are delicious.
• Z’roa (Shank bone): Spiced lamb ribs
• Beitzah (Egg): Salt cured egg yokes
• Maror (Bitter herbs): Radish and horseradish relish sprinkled with beet powder
• Charoset: Wine, pine nuts and apple purée with caramelized apples and roasted almonds
• Chazeret (Lettuce): Bitter greens from RecoveryPark Farms in Detroit
• Karpas (Celery): Boiled celery root
By Becky Hurvitz, Special to the Jewish News