Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What Obama Ate

Former Pacific Grill intern Tate Edwards, right, with Barack Obama and the crew that cooked for the President-elect and his family in Hawaii last month.

Just heard from my Pacific Grill intern from last summer—Tate Edwards.

He had an interesting job over the holidays—cooking for President-elect Barack Obama and family at their rented seaside mansion in Kailua, on the island of Oahu.

Tate sent me an email detailing the menu that he prepared and a photo showing him with the next President of the United States. I thought you might like to read Tate’s menu and some comments about his experience.

Tate got the job from a Hotel Chef that recommended him. One night the Obama's plans changed and instead of going out to dinner they decided to stay in--but the Head Chef cooking for them had made plans that he couldn't change. So Tate stepped-up and said he would cook for the President-elect! He had to design a menu on the fly--and get it approved, go out & shop and prepare the meal. Sounds like an Iron Chef competition!
I asked Tate in a phone call to Honolulu whether he was nervous and he said "yeah--a little bit. I was most concerned about getting it all ready in time. But Obama was cool--the whole experience was much more laid-back than I would have thought."
In an email Tate elaborated on his personal Menu for the President:

“…my menu for the President-elect and company on the night of the 27 of December was as follows:

I cooked for I think 16 or 17 adults and 9 children.

For the children we did a simple Lasagne with a cabbage and sweet corn slaw on the side.

For the adults, Obama included, we did a prosciutto wrapped uku (grey snapper) with celery root puree and citrus beurre blanc for the starter.

This was followed by an heirloom tomato terrine with torn basil, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and Hawaiian alaea sea salt.

The entree was a beer-marinated grilled flank steak with roasted garlic & feta mashed potatoes & arugula salad (dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and salt & pepper) garnished with shaved Reggiano and a drizzle of olive oil.

For one guest we did a pan-roasted mushroom stuffed leg of chicken because she did not eat red meat but served with the same components.

Dessert was an apple and hazelnut frangipane tart with vanilla ice cream.
…not very fancy but it tasted good…”

Tate offered up some other observations in a follow-up email:

“…I didn't get to bring in a camera except for the last day. So I don't have any
pictures of the meal that I cooked for him :(

We did cook at the home they were renting in Kailua. I cooked for 6 days with a private chef and the one day with my menu ( 7 days all together) .
I cooked with some fellow students. Obama asked me--
“what's on the menu chef”?
I replied I'm not a chef just a cook-- so that was
cool.

Also--I have never been searched so many times in my life! It gets a little
repetitive --even if you leave for 5 minutes you have to go through it again.

Kinda tough when you have ice cream melting and have to go through checkpoint after checkpoint!

Obama was very nice and really down to earth. His family is
awesome as well."

Aloha, Tate

Obviously I am extremely proud of Tate!

What an accomplishment.

What a thrill.
[a version of this blog was originally published on www.southsoundeats.com ]

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