Friday, February 14, 2014

France State Dinner: White House Chefs & Bryan Rafanelli Get Special 'Thank You' From First Lady

Yosses, Comerford, and Rafanalli with Mrs. Obama on stage
First Lady recognizes hired event planner alongside her chefs...
Washington, DC -  First Lady Michelle Obama called her Top Toques, Executive Chef Cris Comerford and Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses onto the stage during Tuesday's State Dinner to publicly thank them for creating the four-course American-themed menu, according to the caption with the White House photo above, published today.

In a rare move, the photo also shows Bryan Rafanelli, in the tux at center.  He's the Boston-based event planner hired by Social Secretary Jeremy Bernard to orchestrate the posh gala for 352 guests.  Though Rafanelli and his firm Rafanelli Events masterminded three previous State Dinners, the tastemaker to the stars has never before appeared in a White House photo.

Rafanelli also has offices in DC and Palm Beach, and serves a well-heeled global clientele, but is perhaps best known for Chelsea Clinton's "wedding of the century." His website says he has managed events for "some of the most successful people, companies and brands in the world."

"First Lady Michelle Obama recognizes and thanks Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses, Executive Chef Cris Comerford, and event consultant Bryan Rafanelli, during the State Dinner for President François Hollande of France on the South Lawn of the White House, Feb. 11, 2014," read the White House photo caption. 

The two Presidents, Mrs. Obama, and Stephen Colbert at the dinner
Rafanelli and the White House rented the massive pavilion on the South Lawn for the dinner, and everything in it--decor, tables, chairs, place setting.  Many of the items were trucked to Washington from New England and Boston-area firms; trucks were seen offloading the decor on the South Lawn last weekend. 

After her remarks thanking the Chefs and Rafanelli, the President helped Mrs. Obama off the stage, according to the photo caption for the image below.  The First Lady's voluminous ball gown by designer Carolina Herrera had a long train.  
The President helps Mrs. Obama off the stage after she thanked the chefs
"President Barack Obama helps First Lady Michelle Obama off the stage after she thanks the White House chefs at the State Dinner for President François Hollande of France on the South Lawn of the White House, Feb. 11, 2014,"read the photo caption.

CLICK here for all posts about Hollande's State Visit and CLICK HERE for all the details about the menu.

*Photos by Pete Souza/White House