No moment from the final months of Barack Obama's presidency is too minor to note. On CBS This Morning, Tuesday, Chip Reid gushed over the “last state dinner of the Obama era.” Reid recounted from the White House: “The first course will include a sweet potato pasta dish. Followed by a warm butter nut squash salad. Then, a meaty main course with a vegetarian option. Ending, of course, with dessert.”
Highlighting Mario Batali, Reid bragged that the chef “served up a taste of what will be on the menu for the last state dinner of Obama era.” Co-host Charlie Rose enthused, “Chip Reid is at the White House with all of the delicious details.”
Throughout this year, CBS has been publicizing Obama’s “lasts” as President. In February, CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King went to the White House for Obama’s final Super Bowl.” She held up a picture from the 2009 inaugural ball and wondered, “I just happen to have this picture here....What were you two thinking? One word? It's one of my favorite pictures of the Obama administration.”
A transcript is below:
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CBS This Morning
CHARLIE ROSE: The White House this morning is getting ready for the final state dinner of the Obama administration. It will honor Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi The President and First Lady Michelle Obama have hosted 12 previous state dinners. A special celebrity chef will be in the kitchen tonight. Chip Reid is at the White House with all of the delicious details. Chip, good morning.
CHIP REID: Well, good morning. Famous chef Mario Batali, known for his Italian cooking, was chosen by the First Lady to oversee the final state dinner of the Obama administration. We got a preview of what Batali and the White House kitchen staff are whipping up for the 400 guests who will crowd into a giant tent on the White House south lawn tonight.
MARIO BATALI: We've got a lot of work to do.
REID: Wearing his signature Orange crocs, chef Mario Batali, along with the White House executive chefs, served up a taste of what will be on the menu for the last state dinner of Obama era. The first course will include a sweet potato pasta dish. Followed by a warm butter nut squash salad. Then, a meaty main course with a vegetarian option. Ending, of course, with dessert. As you can see, this was tough assignment to stomach. Oh, my god that is unbelievable. [To Batali] Where does this rank in all of the extraordinary things you've ever done as a chef?
MARIO BATALI: This is the top of that list.
REID: This is it?
REID: Batali is no stranger to the Obama White House. A supporter of the First Lady’s health initiative, last year joined Michelle Obama at the Milan Expo for an event on nutrition. Is there one person you are worried about whether it be the President or maybe the First Lady? Who is the foodie?
BATALI: You know, you generally don't worry that much about the Americans when you're cooking pasta. You worry about the Italians.
REID: Oh, good point! Good Point!
BATALI: So, Prime minister Renzi is the guy that I'm probably going to watch their plates a little more closely.
REID: Those plates will have dishes made from ingredients of the final harvest of the First Lady's kitchen garden and will sit on elaborately decorated tables like this one. The fall harvest theme even stretches to the suites. Susan Morrison is the White House executive pastry chef and worked with Batali to create the apple crostata desserts. How many of these have you done?
SUSAN MORRISON: So, this is my 21st year.
REID: 21st year? So, this is kind of a piece of cake for you.
MORRISON: I would say, you know, it always takes so much thought and consideration.
Reid: The Obamas have hosted a dozen other state dinners. [ Applause ]
REID: The first in 2009, picking the prime minister of India—
ANNOUNCER: Mr. And Mrs. Salahi.
REID: — was embroiled in controversy after a couple slipped through raising questions about security and prompting a congressional inquiry. But the others have been remembered not only for the world leaders they hosted, but for the lighter moments too. Like what dress the fashionable First Lady is wearing. And when Sasha Obama met movie star and Canadian Ryan Reynolds during Canada's state dinner last year, this photo captured older sister Malia in the background, giving her little sis two big thumbs up.
DESIREE ROGERS: It really is an evening of camaraderie, an evening of diplomacy.
REID: Desiree Rogers is a former social secretary for the Obama administration.
ROGERS: I would imagine that they are practicing a little bit and making sure everything is in place.
REID: For Batali and his crew, the focus is on the food. So, are you shaking in your Orange crocs?
BATALI: You know, not yet. I think I'll be shaking in my Orange crocs tomorrow about a half hour before serving.
REID: Chef Batali said he will be wearing those Orange crocs winning up something extraordinary in the White House kitchen today. By the way, the dinner will be capped by a performance by mega pop star Gwen Stefani. Norah?