The election is tomorrow and, believe it or not, celebrity chefs have played an enormous role in the campaign this year, with perhaps the most visibility the restaurant industry’s ever had in an election cycle. While Barack and Michelle Obama have driven most of that coverage, particularly with their glamorous fundraisers catered by some of the industry’s biggest names, the Romneys have been known to occasionally throw a bash or two involving culinary stars. Let’s take a journey back in time, from the primaries to today…
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Marcus Samuelsson at Red Rooster (Obama)
Way, way before the presidential cycle became a thing that
made four-year-old girls cry, Marcus Samuelsson hosted the first celebrity chef fundraiser in March 2011. (Samuelsson blogged about it here.)
Daniel Boulud at Daniel (Obama)
On a four-day swing through New York, Obama held a $35000-per-plate dinner at
Daniel Boulud. In return, Boulud was rewarded with an Instagram photo and some magical White House M&Ms.
Ming Tsai and Tiffani Faison (Obama)
Joining forces with Governor Deval Patrick, Ming Tsai and Tiffani Faison's
Massachusetts Chefs for Obama fundraiser last January involved a cook-off between Boston's top chefs, as well as a cookbook with all proceeds going to the Obama Victory Fund.
Andrew Carmellini at Locanda Verde (Obama)
Andrew Carmellini, lucky bastard, got to host the first celeb-studded fundraising event: $25,000 per person for cocktails at Locanda Verde, hosted by Robert DeNiro and Whoopi Goldberg, featuring Michelle as the event's Obligatory Obama.
Wolfgang Puck at George Clooney's house (Obama)
But that paled in comparison to the historic fundraising dinner catered by
Wolfgang Puck in May, bringing in $15 million in one night. To be fair, the money came about because 1) it was a Hollywood super-event, and 2) the Obama campaign raffled off the chance for two lucky people to sit at the head table with him and George Clooney, whose very smile can earn $50,000 per second.
Buddy Valastro at Donald Trump's Apartment (Romney)
Buddy Valastro made this famous cake of to celebrate her birthday-slash-campaign fundraiser thrown by Ann Romney Donald Trump. All of those factors put together totally explains the disturbing quality of this cake. (There's a bonus fondant Rafalca sighting, though!)
Dan Barber at Stone Barns (Obama)
Michelle made an appearance at
Dan Barber's Stone Barns at Blue Hill fundraiser in June, and revealed that Barber was the one who taught her that vegetables could be, gasp, tasty. "I had never tasted vegetables that were so fresh and so delicious and so simply created," she recalled of the time when Barber flew out to Chicago during the 2008 campaign and made them dinner. "I knew then and there that if, as he [Barber] put it, if more people understood what good food tastes like that they would demand it."
Daniel Humm at the NoMad (Obama)
During a late summer swing through the New York finance world, Obama threw a fundraiser at the new NoMad hotel with
Michael White at Sarah Jessica Parker's house (Obama)
When Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick brought in
Michael White to cater their Obama fundraiser, the press sassily dubbed it "Barack and The City." But despite all the celebrity and all the Manolo puns, we couldn't help but wonder: what was it like with Aretha Franklin and Anna Wintour in the same room?
Wolfgang Puck at WP24 (Obama)
During October's Celebrity Fundraisingpalooza Part Two,
Wolfgang Puck served a dim sum menu for George Clooney and a few dozen high profile Hollywood types. Regardless of political affiliation, isn't there something just so adorable about the idea of George Clooney eating dumplings? You know there totally is.
Alice Waters and Tyler Florence at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (Obama)
Even though she once frightened one of his campaign aides with her veg-evangelism,
still managed to throw yet another pricey fundraiser for the Obamas. One of the guests there, however, seemed super burnt out by the celebrity chef catering phenomenon, telling the press pool outside that the food "wasn't that great." Ya got burnt, Waters. Alice Waters (and Tyler Florence)