What Anita Lo, Chef of Annisa in New York City, Served at China’s State Dinner at the White House
Anita Lo, the Malaysian-American chef who studied French literature at Columbia and then went to culinary school in Paris, was chosen by a pretty major cooking gig on Friday evening, September 25 — an assignment of unparalleled importance.
Chef Lo, who owns the New York Times three-star restaurant Annisa in New York City, cooked alongside White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford for President and Mrs. Obama and Xi Jinping, the president of China.
The Friday evening event was the Obama administration's second-ever state dinner for China, and as Obama and President Xi had spent the week wading through complicated talks on climate change, cybersecurity, and what to do about North Korea, it was up to the chefs to create a menu that evoked a sense of unity.
The star of the menu, as it was during China’s last state dinner, was lobster — butter-poached, from Maine, of course, and served with spinach, shiitakes, and leek rice-noodle rolls. This was followed by a grilled cannon (a boned, rolled half loin) of Colorado lamb with garlic-fried milk and baby broccoli. Poppy seed bread and butter pudding with Meyer lemon curd and lychee sorbet was dessert.
After dinner, Presidents Obama and Xi were treated to the musical stylings of R&B artist Ne-Yo, who happens to be a quarter Chinese.