Hundreds of politicians, Hollywood A-listers, and, of course, media insiders converged on Washington on Saturday night for the 2015 White House Correspondents' Dinner. While most of the coverage has focused on the celebrity sightings, emcee Cecily Strong's roast, and President Obama's one-liners, the actual dinner is often overlooked, despite being in the title of the event. As a fan of all things gastronomical, I personally think we should throw the spotlight on the food and the man who is churning it all out. So just who is the White House Correspondents' Dinner chef, Andre Cote, and what did he make for guests this year?
As the executive chef of the Washington Hilton, which has hosted the White House Correspondents' Dinner for 47 consecutive years since 1968, this was not Cote's first rodeo. After diving headfirst into helming the annual event — his first day on the job at the Hilton was actually the 2005 White House Correspondents' Dinner (talk about pressure) — Cote has been planning and executing the dinner's menu for 11 years. The guests must have loved his debut menu, because Cote has been making stunning food for them ever since.
Cote began started his long and impressive culinary journey at the Johnson & Wales Culinary Arts School, where he graduated from in 1978. From there, he went on to become a pantry prep at the Hilton San Diego Mission Bay and rose up the ranks to become executive sous-chef at Hilton Portlan, executive chef at a Hilton Boutique Hotel in Boston, and then eventually the executive chef of the Washington Hilton.
In addition to the White House Correspondents' Dinner, Cote also executes several other high-profile annual events, like the First Lady's Luncheon, the National Prayer Breakfast, and the National Italian American Foundation Dinner.
This year, approximately 2,636 guests dined on Chef Cote's food inside the Hilton's International Ballroom. And judging by this year's menu, they had a very tasty evening.
Terrine of jumbo lump crabmeat Jicama, mango, pepitas, and baby oak salad House-made buttermilk green goddess dressing
Seven-grain rolls, sourdough rolls, white and wheat rolls, flatbreads, and butter
Smoked paprika rubbed filet Foraged wild mushroom ragout Pancetta and gala apple demi
Seared Alaskan halibut Mascarpone cheese stone grits Jumbo-peeled asparagus and roasted baby bell pepper
Tapas display of assorted desserts
Freshly brewed regular and decaffeinated coffee Variety of regular and herbal teas
Chateau Ste. Michelle, chardonnay 2013
Simi, cabernet sauvignon 2011
Images: Hilton Hotels & Resorts/YouTube, Getty Images (5)