President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel at a not to soon be forgotten White House State Dinner. As just the fourth such grand event and the first during the Obama Administration to honor a female head of state, Executive Chef Cris Comerford and Master Pastry Chef William Yosses have been working hard to craft a memorable menu for a now legendary night of Washington entertaining.
The center focus of their menu was a celebration of the first harvest of an American spring. Many of the selected vegetables and herbs were gathered fresh from the White House south lawn Kitchen Garden. This remarkable garden was established under the direction of Mrs. Obama in 2009 to highlight healthy food choices.
Prior to the event, a special tasting was staged by Chefs Comerford and Yosses for some very special guests. At the invitation of Mrs. Obama a very lucky group of young women, all interested in a career in diplomacy, were able to preview the coming evening’s place settings and décor in the State Dining Room.
One final treat was a serving of Chef Yosses’ gala apple strudel dessert to each delighted young ladies.
While this all American dessert was being sampled inside the White House, the experienced executive ground staff was laying carpet in the Rose Garden (for as anyone knows in the industry, chairs for an outdoor event are NEVER set on bare ground as the legs will sink and the seating then becomes unstable).
Once the Garden was carpeted, the staff set up a mixture of long and round tables, each topped with snow white linens, glittering silverware and embossed menu programs, all under the direction of Rafanelli Events of Boston, New York City, Palm Beach and, of course, Washington DC. Rafanelli Events selected a modern interpretation of the German Bauhaus School of Design's concept that design should be inclusive as the central inspiration for the evening’s overall design theme.
As a result, the décor of the Garden was as vital as the design of the table centerpieces.
This same concept was reflected in the menu created by Chef Comerford. Every course was subtly accented with fresh herbs and vegetables from the White House Garden as well as heirloom regional American products.
The State Dinner Menu
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
-- FIRST COURSE --
White House Garden Chopped Salad accented Fine Herbs and a White House Honey Gastrique, made with Apple Cider Vinegar and garnished with Spiced Mammoth Georgian Pecans
-- SECOND COURSE --
Hawaiian Tuna Tartare with Rye Crisps, Pickled Young Carrots and Mustard Oil, Spring Pea Salad with Shaved Ham and Ginger Snaps
-- THIRD COURSE --
Petite Filet and Maryland Blue Crab Ravioli with Wild West Viriginia Ramp Puree
-- DESSERT COURSE --
Maryland Apple Strudel topped with Golden California Raisins, Vermont Topfen Farmer’s Cheese and Schlag Whipped Cream
Well Done Ladies and Gentlemen!
Your Culinary World copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2011