Friday, June 19, 2009

Father's Day 2009 At The White House: President Obama Grills With Chef Bobby Flay - Video

A video lesson from the White House Cooking Academy...
President Obama hosted a big group of local youth at the White House this afternoon, for a special Young Men's Barbecue on the South Lawn. He cooked with guest chef and Food Network grillstar Bobby Flay, following a day of fathercentric activities in Washington.

Earlier in the day, the President held a Fatherhood Town Hall, and high-profile dads also went around DC to spread the good word about responsible fatherhood. These included successful business and non-profit leaders, actor BD Wong, skateboard superstar Tony Hawk (whom President Obama referred to as "the best in the world"), and NBA players Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat and Etan Thomas of the Washington Wizards.

In the morning, with permission, Hawk actually rode his skateboard in the Grand Foyer of the White House, and in the Old Executive Office Building. He tweeted throughout the day, and posted photos of himself on deck in the Executive Mansion (above). Hawk summed his day up on Twitter: Unbelievable.

The Young Men's BBQ
Big tables were set up on the South Lawn for the President's BBQ guests, and he went from table to table greeting everyone.

"The time is now to start thinking about...what it means to be a man," President Obama told his guests during his formal remarks. "And the men who--you're going to be sitting with today I think exemplify -- whether they're famous or not famous, rich or not so rich, they embody that spirit of love and dedication and commitment that fatherhood is all about."

The President's commitment to Dads knowing how to cook was also on display: He proved quite handy when confronting a hot grill, and remained cool as a cucumber while cooking beside Flay.

The President donned an apron complete with the Presidential crest, and grilled rib eye steaks and corn with Flay, who is possibly the best known griller in America (like Hawk, Flay was also dubbed "best in the world" by President Obama, during his remarks).

While cooking, the President announced that he's "a medium well guy" and adopted "Don't mess with the grill" as his new policy platform, at Flay's urging. The steaks were smeared with a spice rub: Paprika, chili powder, cumin, black pepper.

"This is some good looking grub," President Obama commented.

The corn was blanched before being put on the grill, then brushed with melted butter that had fresh basil and garlic crushed into it. It was laid on the hottest part of the grill to get a bit charred on the outside.

Flay's tips for grilling: Rub the steak with the spices, then lay this over high heat to get a nice crust on it--and don't peek or flip the steak. When the edges appear charred, remove to a medium heat and finish cooking. Let the steak rest for a little while before cooking.

The full transcript of the President's remarks at the BBQ:

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
June 19, 2009

South Lawn
4:25 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. Everybody have a seat. First of all, let's give thanks that it's not raining, because we thought it might be and we were worried that Bobby would be sending smoke into the White House. But it's a beautiful day.

I want to personally acknowledge once again -- they've already been introduced, but I want to introduce them because some of you young people are sitting with them -- you may not know who you're sitting with -- the extraordinary men who are participating in this event today.

First of all, Chief Quartermaster John Lehnen -- thank you so much, John. Some of you may know this guy, Dwayne Wade. I hear he plays basketball pretty good. (Laughter.) Etan Thomas, another ball player; Joseph Jones, the Center for Urban Families; Greg Brown, who is the CEO of Motorola; Antwaan Randle El, outstanding football player; Dr. Steve Rosen, Northwestern Cancer Center; Jorge Ramos, one of the premier journalists in the country; B.D. Wong, outstanding actor; Tony Hawk, who is the best skateboarder in the world; Coach Bill Cowher of the championship Steelers; Darryl "DMC" McDaniels; Mike Laas, who is a small businessman; Senator Evan Bayh, former colleague of ours; Fatherhood Dads, Inc., President David Ladd; the President of Morehouse College, Dr. Robert Franklin; as well as some of the outstanding members of my staff -- Mike Strautmanis, Denis McDonough, Reggie Love.

And we also want to thank Bobby Flay, one of the best chefs in the world, for providing us with this unbelievably good-looking grub over here. (Applause.)

I don't want to talk long. I want to come around and say hello to everybody. I just want to thank all of you for participating. For the young people who are here today, I just hope that the message that we're sending out about how important fathers are is something that you will internalize, because all of you are probably going to end up being fathers. And the time is now to start thinking about what that means in terms of responsibilities, what it means to be a man. And the men who are--you're going to be sitting with today I think exemplify -- whether they're famous or not famous, rich or not so rich, they embody that spirit of love and dedication and commitment that fatherhood is all about.

So we appreciate all of you. I don't want to get in the way of the food. Thank you for participating. Hope you guys have a good time. And to all the fathers out there, happy Father's Day. All right? (Applause.)

4:29 P.M. EDT

*White House video; photo by Pete Souza/White House; Hawk photo via Hawk