Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Chefs José Andrés & Paul Kahan Invited To Cook For First Lady's G8 And NATO Luncheons

First Lady will welcome leaders' spouses to the White House & to her hometown...
UPDATE, May 20: CLICK HERE for the post about the NATO luncheon
UPDATE, May 19: CLICK HERE for the post about the G8 luncheon
First Lady Michelle Obama will host two luncheons and a dinner for the spouses of the foreign leaders who will meet next week with President Obama for the back-to-back G8 and NATO Summits, the East Wing has announced. Acclaimed chefs José Andrés of Washington, DC and Paul Kahan of Chicago, Ill. have been invited to separately cook the luncheons for Mrs. Obama and her guests. Both have visited the White House before, and are intimates of Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass. (Above: Andrés, l, with Kass and Mrs. Obama during a 2010 summer harvest in the Kitchen Garden)

The First Lady's international hostess duties will kick off on the second day of the G8 summit, Saturday, May 19th, with an "intimate" luncheon at the White House for the G8 leaders' spouses, the East Wing said.

The leaders will be meeting with the President at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. Andrés will join the White House chefs to cook, and the menu will star freshly plucked bounty from Mrs. Obama's backyard.

"Chef José Andrés will work with White House Chefs to prepare the meal using produce from the White House Kitchen Garden," the East Wing said.

The spouses will also have a tour of the mansion, led by White House Curator Bill Allman.

Andrés grew up outside Barcelona, Spain, but has lived in Washington for more than two decades. He is a TV personality and cookbook author, and received the James Beard Outstanding Chef Award in 2011. He owns an empire of popular and critically lauded restaurants in the DC area (as well as elsewhere), and is beloved by the Obamas. A high-profile supporter of the Let's Move! campaign, Andrés has joined Mrs. Obama for events in the Kitchen Garden, and done cooking demos in the Kids' Kitchen at the annual Easter Egg Rolls. He also stars in a White House cooking video with Sam Kass. In 2009, Andrés cooked a special luncheon at the White House for President Obama and King Juan Carlos II of Spain. The First Lady has made repeat visits to Andrés' DC restaurants Oyamel (Mexican cuisine) and Zaytinya (Greek and Mediterranean cuisine).

The NATO Spouses Luncheon...
On Sunday, May 20th, as the President meets with NATO leaders in Mrs. Obama's hometown of Chicago, the First Lady will host a luncheon and a dinner, with Paul Kahan as her principle chef. The First Lady has invited the NATO leaders’ spouses to the Gary Comer Youth Center for the luncheon, which will include a tour and performances by local arts groups. The Center is located on Chicago's South Side, close to where Mrs. Obama grew up. (Above: Kahan in Mrs. Obama's Kitchen Garden with Chef Cat Cora)

Among the Center's enrichment offerings for local kids are a culinary training program and a Youth Urban Agriculture Program, anchored by a rooftop garden.

The First Lady and her guests will "will sit for a private lunch created by Chef Paul Kahan who worked with Gary Comer Youth Center youth members in preparing the meal," the East Wing said.

Kahan is the Executive Chef/partner in Chicago restaurants Avec, Big Star, Blackbird, The Violet Hour, and The Publican. Shortly after he graduated from college at the University of Chicago, Sam Kass worked for Kahan at Avec, one of the city's most acclaimed restaurants. Kahan was nominated for the top James Beard Award for the third time this year. He's visited the White House numerous times, as has his Avec chef Koren Grieveson, who is also a Beard winner.

Before the luncheon, the First Lady will greet the spouses and take them on a tour of the Center. After, they will join the Center’s youth members and faculty at a performance by the South Shore Dance Drill Team; the Chicago-based Muntu Dance Theater, known for their African and African-American dance, music and folklore performances; and Soul Children of Chicago, which uses music to motivate and inspire young people, the East Wing said.

In the evening, Mrs. Obama will invite NATO Leaders’ spouses to the glamorous Art Institute of Chicago for a private dinner. Details about the event are still under embargo.

Mrs. Obama last hosted a spouses luncheon in Hawaii in November of 2011, when President Obama hosted the APEC Summit. The organic farm-to-table feast was created by Chef Ed Kenney of Honolulu's Town restaurant.

*Photos by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama