by Jeff Hoyt
Rick Bayless is the second top chef to work his magic at the Obama White House, preparing Wednesday’s state dinner for President Felipe Calderón of Mexico and his wife, Margarita Zavala. The first couple has dined at Topolobampo, one of Bayless’ Chicago restaurants along with Frontera Grill and Xoco.
According to a statement from the White House, Bayless worked with Michelle Obama and Comerford to prepare a menu that “reflects the best of American cuisine” while “honoring the culinary excellence and flavors that are present in Mexican cuisine.” His molé sauce reportedly used more than twenty ingredients and took days to make. Several ingredients for the dinner, including herbs, radishes and lettuce, were harvested from the White House garden, while White House pastry chef William Yosses used honey from White House bees for the desserts.
The White House posted the following menu for the state dinner on its website Wednesday afternoon:
Jícama with Oranges, Grapefruit, and Pineapple
• Citrus Vinaigrette
• Ulises Valdez Chardonnay 2007 “Russian River”
Herb Green Ceviche of Hawaiian Opah
• Sesame-Cilantro Cracker
Oregon Wagyu Beef in Oaxacan Black Mole
• Black Bean Tamalon and Grilled Green Beans
• Herrera Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 “Selección Rebecca”
• Toasted House-made Marshmallows
• Graham Cracker Crumble and Goat Cheese Ice Cream
• Mumm Napa “Carlos Santana Brut” N/V
Last November, Marcus Samuelsson helped White House chef Cristeta Comerford with the meal for visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh which was overshadowed by the gate-crashing couple Michaele and Tareq Salahi. Last night, the snazzily-dressed pair were in a limo that ran a red light and tried to enter a restricted area close to the White House before being stopped by the Secret Service. Coincidence?
You can click on each photo to enlarge.