So far, October has been a big month for Mario Batali. Last week, the orange Croc-rocking, fleece vest-dressing chef debuted his new web series, Moltissimo, on Vice’s Munchies, and just days before that, his latest cookbook hit shelves nationwide.
Now, Malto Mario continues his winning streak. On Tuesday, news broke that the Chew co-host would serve as the guest chef during a state dinner for Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at the White House on October 18. The event is expected to be the final state dinner of the Obama administration, and First Lady Michelle Obama announced Batali’s role in the evening on Snapchat this week.
The dinner will also feature a musical performance by Gwen Stefani, and be live-streamed on WhiteHouse.gov, so all us proletariat can live vicariously from the comfort of our laptops. Batali, for his part, expressed his excitement on Twitter with an enthusiastic, “Yessssss!!”
On Monday, some 24 hours before the big dinner, a copy of the evening's menu leaked online. According to Eater, Batali will collaborate with White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford, and White House executive pastry chef Susan Morrison to craft a four-course meal highlighting “the bountiful fall harvest.”
Take a look at the full menu—a long with wine pairings—below:
Sweet Potato Agnolotti with Butter and Sage
Patina Vermentino “Santa Ynez” 2015
Warm Butternut Squash Salad with Frisee and Pecorino di New York
Villa Ragazzi Sangiovese “Napa” 2012
Beef Braciola Pinwheel with Horseradish Gremolata and Broccoli Rabe
(A vegetarian version of this dish will be available)
Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel “East Bench” 2014
Green Apple Crostata with Thyme Caramel and Buttermilk Gelato
Petit Fours Display:
Sweet Corn Cream and Blackberry Cup
Concord Grape Bittersweet Chocolate Leaf
Orange Fig Slice
Pumpkin Cranberry Tart
Batali's role in the event should come as little surprise; the first lady recently dined at the chef’s high-end Greenwich Village hotspot, Babbo. And over the course of the family's eight years in the White House, the Obama’s have earned a reputation for their impeccable taste in restaurants, dining on tuna tostadas and duck carnitas at chef Enrique Olvera’s Cosme in September.
“[T]his is a President who knows what he likes to eat, and seems remarkably at ease with food and its cultural accoutrements, especially as compared to his recent predecessors,” the New Yorker wrote of President Obama’s eating habits. “Where Bill Clinton, before he went mostly vegan, was famously an enchiladas and cheeseburgers kind of guy, and George W. Bush preferred grilled-cheese sandwiches made with Kraft Singles and white bread, Obama has proved himself an avid patron of the country’s trendiest restaurants.”
Though Batali has been in the restaurant business for decades now, his foam clogs and modernist twist on classic Italian fare never goes out of style.