No one is happier than the Curator’s at the White House and at The Presidential Culinary Museum to see the latest edition of state china unveiled! All of our china on display here, seven days a week in the museum is delighted in and admired by bus tours weekly.
“For a new state china service, First Lady Michelle Obama wanted it to have modern elements, but also for it to be practical, in the sense that it would be complementary to the preceding historic state services,” the White House revealed. Not many have ever wanted to do much modern, do much to help chefs succeed nor tip their hat to the past. Let alone copy an entire set of china and re-feature it on a new set out of a sign of respect and admiration.
Until the Obama’s.
Now I’m sure this is the part where some few, petty, self-defeating, rage spiral engagement experts, will begin to foam at the mouth and swing their hands around – and above their head on television. But honestly, myself as a chef who prepared, cooked and served state dinners inside of the White House, across the earth on numerous continents and at the Camp David Resort and Conference Center – I was pleasantly shocked to see how far the Obama’s have gone with the china. They have broken new, culinary ground on fresh, gourmet soil – previously never touched in the chef and restaurant world. The addition of a soup tureen is wonderful to serve in and the larger palette to paint on called, “a dinner plate,” is a dream come true for us culinarians. I did many state dinners with the White House chef, Cris, and can expertly state – she is excited! While I loved all of the china we served on, from all of the President’s plates I touched and decorated, THIS is truly wonderful.
Kori Schulman wrote, “The Obama State China Service consists of eleven-piece place settings for 320. Mrs. Obama sought a different color from the more primary red, green, blue, and yellow used on the more recent state services. She chose a blue inspired by the waters off the President’s home state of Hawai’i, calling it “Kailua Blue.” A fluted band of the Kailua Blue color, framed by a textured gold rim and a simple gilt inner line, appears on all pieces of the service except the service and dinner plates. A similar fluted band of color – in a matt gold finish – was selected for the wide rim of the large service plate. This plate is related to the gold-rimmed service plates acquired in 1955 by the Eisenhowers, to supplement the 1951 Truman state service, and the service plates in the 2000 White House Bicentennial service, now referred to as the Clinton state service. For the gilt-edged white dinner plate, an early historical precedent was selected. Relief decoration of pinwheels and leaf fronds was derived from a French Empire dinner service purchased for James Madison in 1806, when he was secretary of state. The original personal service, made by Nast of Paris, was probably used by the Madisons in their temporary official residences after the British burned the President’s House in 1814.” Examples can be seen in the White House China Room.” And these are the same collections we have been touting when we showcase the Madison’s items, from Montpelier and Washington, so far on CBS and NBC television. Be sure to look at the slide show I’ve enclosed today featuring the sauceboat and stand trimmed in gold, yellow and black from Nast of Paris as well as the Estate Sale Papers featuring the boat sold on Tuesday, May 9, 1899. Catalogue No. 821-Part VI was an important sale in America by Mrs. Mary C. Kunkel, daughter of Anna Payne, who was the wife of Dr. James H. Causten, and niece and adopted daughter of Dolley Payne Todd Madison (I’ve often been quizzed on that spelling of, “Dolley,” including directors and producers at stations, it is the correct one). This piece was later sold at Christies East of New York on October 24, 1989 as lot 245. It is important to note and bear witness for my many White House friends, butlers and experts, that it is typewritten in 1892, of this collection of gold, yellow and black, “belonged in the set used / in the White House / by / President Madison. / The plate (a same collection dinner plate) is one of two / recovered from the debris / after the British fired / the White House on August / the 24th, 1814. / By, [signed] A.M. Cooke. [handwritten] $625.00; [handwritten] Dickins (from the great Presidential china collection of Rear Admiral Francis W. Dickins who by 1882 held 145 Presidential pieces). It is this exact set that the loving, and caring, Obama’s have brought forward some 200 years later to be again honored. Please enjoy the slide show where you will see the gold, yellow and black band hidden in the Obama’s design in a white relief band. Marie Antoinette owned some of this china in her collections as it was considered fancy for the period. Of the original 231 pieces made for this assembly in 1806, only 30 remain. Only eight of those 30 remain in the White House.
The White House has also mentioned, “The Obama’s new, individual tureen, a form not found in other White House services, shares both motifs – the fluted Kailua Blue band and the white relief band. It also adds to the practicality of the service, as it can be used for soup, small entrees or desserts. The gold Presidential coat of arms appears at the center of the service plate and dessert plate, and on the side of the straight-sided can cup for coffee or tea. These are the forms seen first and last on the table at a formal White House dinner.
Official from The White House
11:00 AM – Monday, April 27 in the State Dining Room, the Office of the First Lady hosted a press preview of Tuesday night’s Japan State Dinner and unveiled the Obama State China Service.
The purchase of this China Service was funded by a special donation from the White House Endowment Trust of the White House Historical Association, a private nonprofit organization.
In addition to the Obama State China Service, sample place settings for the State Dinner were on display for photos.
Tuesday evening’s dinner marks the eighth State or Official Visit of the Obama Administration; previous visits include: India in November 2009, Mexico in May 2010, China in January 2011, Germany in June 2011, Korea in October 2011, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland in March 2012, and France in February 2014.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Great Falls, VA * 10:35AM ET – As part of the Official Visit, First Lady Michelle Obama and Mrs. Akie Abe, the wife of the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe will visit Great Falls Elementary School in Great Falls, VA.
During their visit, the First Lady and Mrs. Abe will tour a Japanese Immersion classroom, which is part of Fairfax Country Public School’s World Languages Immersion Program where elementary students learn math, science, and health through a foreign language. Following the classroom tour, the First Lady and Mrs. Abe will deliver brief remarks at a school-wide assembly and watch a performance of Taiko drummers and student vocalists. Following the visit, Great Falls Elementary will plant a Kwanzan cherry tree in their Japanese Garden in commemoration.
Great Falls Elementary has had a strong connection with the Abes that spans almost a decade. Over the years, the Abes have visited Great Falls Elementary in celebration of the Japanese Immersion Program and have personally welcomed their students during their annual 6th grade trip to Japan.
Music is reported by Helena Andrews at the Washington Post and the White House itself as being by the stars of the film, Jersey Boys, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Vincent Piazza, and John Lloyd Young which will provide an unusual delight instead of traditional Japanese instruments being played. Which are beautiful to listen to.
As the Obama’s are huge fans of chef Cris they have only added to the excellence by inviting their secret, “crush-on-secret-love,” chef, Masaharu Morimoto, to help with White House pastry chef Susan Morrison. With an IRON CHEF in the house, no one loses!
In welcoming Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe, a Dassai 23 sake toast of the Asahi Shuzo brewery in Nihon (Japan) will be fitting to start off the eve. American wines going up against the height of Mount Fuji (where my close friend Yasayuki Okamoto lives): a 2013 Ryo-fu Chardonnay from Freeman, and according to Yahoo Food News on April 27, 2015 with Kerry Diamond direct on the scene and TIME Magazine on April 28, 2015, a “2010 Joli Coeur Pinot Noir from Morlet Family Vineyards in St. Helena, Calif.; and the 2007 Russian River Cuvee sparkling wine from Iron Horse Vineyards, also in Sebastopol. Each table will be decorated with cherry blossoms, a symbolic gesture as Japan gifted two cherry blossoms trees to Washington, D.C., in 1912. Today the flowering trees symbolize springtime in the city. .”
The first course to roll out will be a touch of Morimoto extreme and herald American cuisine with Japanese flair:
Toro Tartare and Caesar Sashimi Salad in clear acetate, tied in a Mizuhiki cord.
Vegetable Consomme En Croute and Shikai Maki
American Wagyu Beef Tenderloin with Spring Vegetables and Maui Onion Veal Jus
A blown sugar teapot surrounded by petit fours and edible cherry blossoms including a tofu cheesecake (VIDEO FROM THE WASHINGTON POST April 21, 2013 – not the first time a tofu cheesecake was served inside the White House).
For those who may fumble with a fork, red chopsticks will be on the table made of wood (I love eating in Japan with their chopsticks as they are all so beautiful). After living there for so many years and cooking for the United States, I don’t fumble at all. My favorite is slurping at the ramen restaurants where noise and slurping is encouraged and cheered for! Who’s on our next tour, now?