Chefs Pick the President’s First Meal Slideshow
Eric Bauer, executive chef of Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, would prepare a three-course meal on Inauguration Day that would include the following menu: "Breath of the Sea" (California uni and spot prawn, Kusshi oysters, tomato and serrano gelée, sea beans, compressed yuzu cucumber, and chilled dashi consommé), pan-seared loup de mer (black trumpet mushrooms, English peas, grilled salsify, Dungeness crab salad, and lemon and shallot chicken jus), and buttermilk and mandarin semifreddo (almond cake, preserved and candied Meyer Lemon, fresh basil leaves, and white chocolate dust).
Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa
Chef Ben Dodaro of Sugar and Plumm would begin the meal with Louisiana Gulf rock shrimp and Anson Mills South Carolina organic grits with Tasso ham, shallots, and white wine pan sauce. The second course would include Huron, Ohio organic baby beet Salad with fresh ricotta cheese, golden beet purée, lemon oil, petite mâché, and baby beet greens. The third course would be Creekstone Farms, Kanas root beer braised short rib with organic roasted heirloom carrots, marble potatoes, root beer Jus, and sweet potato chips. Dessert would be Crackling Baked Alaska with chocolate ice cream, cashews, chocolate cake, Pop Rocks, caramel-chocolate sauce, Rum Flambé
Sugar and Plumm
Chef Duane Fernandes at The Grove Park Inn cooked for President Barack Obama and the first lady during their stay at the hotel in 2012. At that time, their palates called for local, simple, and Southern food, including dishes such as fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Since the inauguration dinner is such a special occasion for the presidential family, Fernandes would prepare something a little more refined. The chef would serve a slow-braised Hickory Nut Gap pork belly with spiced winter squash custard, Hendersonville apples, radish, and ice syrup, and crispy skinned North Carolina wild striped bass with sea island red peas, braising greens, and 24-month-aged country ham.
The Grove Park Inn
Kirsten Dixon, who just published the second edition of the Winterlake Lodge Cookbook, which includes more than 30 new seasonal recipes and tales of life in the backcountry of Alaska, would have glacier water and crunchy sourdough bread set on the table for the Obamas, along with an appetizer of Alaska king crab fritters with wild herb salad. For the main course, she would prepare Fisherman's Stew, and conclude dinner with blueberry baked Alaska.
Mondrian SoHo’s Isola Trattoria & Crudo Bar's Pastry Chef Matt Buckley’s first course would be a charred jalepeño tuna tartar with yuzu compressed watermelon. The main course would be cave-aged cheddar polenta served with kimchi marinated prawns à la plancha and braised bok choy. “For dessert I would make him our popular tartufo which includes fudge-y brownies, hazelnut gelator, salted caramel cream and hot fudge," said Buckley.
As The Homestead has hosted 22 U.S. presidents, the kitchen has had some experience when it comes to presidential tastes. For the upcoming inauguration, executive chef Sean O’Connell would begin the meal with marble of yellow fin tuna paired with a pickled tomato salad mixed with micro cress and blood orange mignonette. Next, O’Connell would serve white bean cappuccino with chanterelle mushrooms, crisp venison sausage, and white truffle foam, as well as slow-braised gremolata and char-grilled sirloin accompanied by roast parsnip purée, baby turnips, and baby sweet fingerlings. To end the night, guests would indulge in Sambuca-flamed strawberries over frozen yogurt with black pepper, pistachios, and Amedei white chocolate.
Chef Dale Talde, who runs a trio of restaurants in Park Slope, Brooklyn, Talde, Pork Slope, and Thistle Hill Tavern, would serve a three-course meal reflective of Obama. "My dinner would showcase where President Obama has lived — DC, Chicago, and Hawaii. These dishes are inspired from those places," said Talde. The appetizer would be smoked crab bisque and blue crab salad with half smoked vinaigrette, followed by Italian beef, a roasted rib of beef with horseradish giardiniera. Dessert would be shaved ice with avocado, and coconut-pineapple tapioca.
Chef Michael Santoro of The Mildred would jump at the chance to cook for the Obamas… again. "Actually, I once cooked for President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama," he said. "They stopped in for date night back when I was chef de cuisine at the Blue Duck Tavern. It was awesome! If I could do it again, I’d cook them simple comfort food." His three-course meal would start with pan-roasted crabcake with remoulade, followed by a 90-day dry-aged rib of beef with braised shortrib, truffled Aligot potatoes, and wild mushrooms, and finish with classic American apple pie with vanilla bean ice cream.