President Obama’s First “State” Dinner

White House Kitchen, 1910

According to the White House Web site, dated February 22, 2009, the following discussion took place in the White House kitchen:


White House Kitchen

Here’s what White House Chef Cris Comerford had to say about the menu for the Governors’ Ball Dinner, not really an official state dinner, but lavish nonetheless:

MS. COMERFORD: Thank you, Mrs. Obama.  First of all, I want to welcome all of these students in our very big kitchen.  (Laughter.)  As you can see, like with any menu planning, there’s a meticulous planning that takes place before even a Governors’ Dinner takes place.  And when we did our brainstorming like a couple weeks back, we took into consideration a lot of things.

And of course the first things we considered are what’s seasonal and what is fresh, and of course representing the best of the American spirit.  And you have to make sure — like we tried to look at the northeastern part and see what’s the best thing that they could offer at the season.  And let me just go through each courses, so every course will be explained well to you.

Our first course is Chesapeake crab agnolottis, which are stuffed pasta with sunchoke puree.  I heard a question earlier from one of the press.  They wanted to know what sunchokes is.  A sunchoke is also called Jerusalem artichokes, but they’re not really artichokes; they’re actually a root that’s very reminiscent of potato and –- (inaudible).  So it has a very — ooh, wow, on cue — (laughter) — this is Tafari right here, who is one of my assistant chefs, who did just a wonderful plate that we’ll be serving tonight.  These are three agnolottis that are served with the sunchoke puree, a little basil oil.  It’s really wonderful.  It’s very light and airy, and of course it’s Mrs. Obama’s favorite.  So thank you, Tafari.

And then next I’m going to talk about our main course, which is the Wagyu beef, or the — it’s actually an American-style Kobe beef.  It’s actually a cross-breed of the Kobe and the Angus beef, and actually this particular cattle herd is from central Nebraska.  In these particular feed lots, we would, like, feed the beef like grass feeding; 90 percent of it’s live, and towards the last 10 percent, it’s given nice, organic whole grains, and some — you know, just to enhance — you know, fattening and marbling of the meat.

So as Tommy is putting together a wonderful beef on the side, I’m going to explain to you some of these wonderful carrots.  I’m going to take it away from Franky, who’s actually a graduate of your school.  So we have one of your alumni.  (Laughter.)

This is a Red Dragon carrots that is growing in a greenhouse in Huron, Ohio.  So pretty much, as you can see, what connects all of our menu is really trying to use up things that are indicative of this area, but then at the same time, you know, not forgetting that we could get some things that are good — let’s say, for example, in Nebraska — just like what the beef represents.  So we try to be really very good with using the best of the local products.

See the entite transcript HERE.