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Several of my friends wanted to know what the White House kitchen was like. It is a good, solid kitchen, but it is not fancy. We all worked very well together—we had to be organized and man our stations efficiently. We set up four stations, and each person was in charge of preparing food for 100 people. I kept going back and forth between the stations, tasting food, making sure everything was okay. Once the guests arrived, I spoke to the wait staff and mâtre d' to make sure the plates went out on time and everything was served at the right temperature.

All the guests were seated in a beautiful tent outside of the White House, so we also had to make sure the food was kept hot before it was served. In order to do this, we set up a few warmers outside so everything would be perfect when it was served.

Since the first family actually lives in the White House, I wondered how I would feel if I was hosting a grand evening inside this historical home. I really wanted everyone—especially the guests of honor—to feel welcomed and to have a good time. A bread course had never been served before at the White House state dinner, but I chose bread as the first course because I knew people would be coming from different parts of the country and from around the world. I thought it would be very symbolic to have everyone breaking bread together. So, we served cornbread, chutneys, naan and sambals.

The rest of the meal consisted of lentil soup, salad with an Indian mustard vinaigrette, basmati rice with greens and tomato chutney and prawns cooked in a light curry sauce. It was spicy, so it tasted authentic and flavorful!


Learn about Marcus' final moments at the state dinner

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