Washington, DC - First Lady Michelle Obama on Friday hosted a luncheon honoring the eleven winners of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum's 2013 National Design Awards. The East Room decor starred a color scheme currently beloved in the fashion world: Black and white with accents of popping reds, oranges, and pinks. Guests perched on designer Philippe Starck's "Ghost" chairs as they dined on Executive Chef Cris Comerford's locally sourced menu that included Ten Herb Ravioli followed by Wagyu Beef with Roasted Cauliflower Pudding. (Above, the appetizer, Grilled Apricots with Virginia Cured Ham and Microgreens)
Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses' sweet finish was a Roasted Apple Mille-Feuille with Sesame Caramel Ice Cream and Lemon Curd.
The luncheon was the fifth Mrs. Obama has hosted as honorary patron of the awards. Welcoming her 180 guests, Mrs. Obama saluted the winners as "our country’s finest innovators and most creative minds."
"The President is so jealous right now, because I always get to host this," Mrs. Obama said. "Because really, deep down, he would have been an architect had he been as talented and creative as all of you."
Mrs. Obama sat at the Head Table with James Wines, Lifetime Achievement honoree and founder and president of SITE, a New York-based architectural studio; his daughter Suzanne Wines; William Aung, one of a dozen high school students invited; Caroline Baumann, Director of Cooper-Hewitt and her mother Priscilla Baumann; Secretary of the Smithsonian Wayne Clough; honoree for Product Design Gadi Amit and his wife Elionar Almagor; and Walter Hood, a landscape architect and 2012 honoree. (Above, Amit is at left; Wines has his back to camera)
Other notable guests included Project Runway host Tim Gunn, and clothing designer Isabel Toledo, who has dressed Mrs. Obama. The luncheon was served on the Ronald Reagan State China, which has a bright red border and cream center, which fit perfectly with the on-trend color scheme. Flatware was silver and stemware was crystal. The tablecloths atop each round table for ten were black and white in three patterns: Houndstooth, square medallions, and circle medallions. Napkins were white.
Tiny jars of honey from the beehive that sits beside Mrs. Obama's Kitchen Garden were at each place setting as hostess gifts for the guests. Each was wrapped in clear cellophane and tied with a bright bow matching the color scheme, and had a label noting its origin. (Above, one of the honey jars)
The program and menu had a black cover with the gold Presidential seal and gold braid. A single large floral arrangement sat in the center of all eighteen tables, each in a matte black vase. The bright flowers were a mix of roses, orchids, Gerber daisies, and dahlias, twined with ivy. Similar arrangements dotted windowsills and fireplace mantels, interspersed with potted green ferns.
2013 Cooper-Hewitt Design Awards Luncheon Menu
Virginia Cured Ham
Green Hat Gin Vinaigrette
Ten Herb Ravioli
English Pea Puree
Roasted Cauliflower Pudding
Roasted Apple Mille-Feuille
Sesame Caramel Ice Cream
Wine: Lewis Chardonnay "Russian River" 2010
A military quartet played in the Cross Hall ahead of the luncheon during a cocktail reception, where guests could select wine, beer, and soda from a bar. (Above, one of the tables, with the 'Ghost' chairs)
*The transcript of the First Lady's remarks.
*CLICK HERE to read the bios of the 2013 winners.
*Photos by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama