While the chef was vocal about his excitement over Tuesday night’s dinner with Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi and his wife, Agnese Landini, he did admit to some understandable anxiety. “I think I’ll be shaking in my orange crocs when it’s about a half-hour before service,” the celebrity chef told CNN leading up to the event.
That nervous energy didn’t stop him from enjoying himself, however. Batali appeared to be having a blast — posing with the White House dogs, at the press secretary’s podium, and offering a behind-the-scenes look at the prepping and cooking process from the White House kitchen on Instagram.
And while First Lady Michelle Obama brought the glitz and glamour wearing a custom rose gold Atelier Versace gown, Batali also knocked it out of the park doing what he does best: sophisticated takes on Italian classics. Sweet potato agnolotti, butternut squash frisée salad, and beef braciole pinwheels made up the meal, and the dishes looked as delicious as they sound.
Dessert included a green apple crostata with buttermilk gelato, as well as gorgeous trays of petit fours.
And of course, many of the ingredients from the meal were sourced straight from the White House’s garden, including basil, sweet potatoes, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes.
At the end of the night, Batali let out one of his signature “wheeeee”s, posing with wife Susi Cahn in front of a portrait of George Washington.
“‘Twas an unbelievable honor and a pleasure to cook the last state dinner at the White House for my heroes President and Mrs. Obama,” he wrote.