Michelle Obama recently revealed some big news regarding next week’s state dinner for Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife, Agnese Landini, which is expected to be the final of President Obama’s term.
In addition to a performance by Gwen Stefani, the First Lady announced that Mario Batali will be the guest chef for the event. Batali, who is an expert on Italian cuisine, tweeted his joyful reaction: “Wheeeeeee! I can’t wait !!!!”
“So you’re looking at sweet potatoes and winter squash and kind of hearty cruciferous vegetables,” he said. “Simple things that you can . . . treat well and treat simply, that sing to the way the wind smells when it blows across the Chesapeake on a Thursday afternoon around 3 o’clock. If I can capture that, that’s what you’re striving to capture in any town in Italy.”
The First Lady visited his New York restaurant Babbo about two weeks ago, where she tried a variety of choices for each course with a team of White House staffers, and they later voted on their favorites.
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“They wrote down the menu they’d like about three days later,” Batali said. “They didn’t vote in front of me. They didn’t want to embarrass me. They didn’t want to tell me that one of my dishes sucked, I’m sure.”
Batali says he couldn’t be happier to cook for what is likely President Barack Obama‘s final state dinner.
“In my opinion, it’s perhaps someone who will be remembered as our greatest president,” he said. “I don’t really hate any of our presidents. This just happens to be the most special one to me.”