As Washington D.C. gears up for Inauguration Day festivities and protests galore, people across the country are bidding adieu to President Barack Obama — including plenty of chefs.
Whether they had a chance to cook for him personally or simply admired the POTUS and his policies from afar, many have taken to social media over the past week to pay tribute to Obama as he prepares to exit stage left — and, in some cases, to express fear, dismay, or disbelief about the impending swearing-in of President Donald Trump.
Culinary icon Jacques Pépin fondly remembers feeding POTUS. Back in 2010, he cooked at a Democratic fundraiser dinner in New York City along with chocolatier extraordinaire Jacques Torres and International Culinary Center dean/former Lutéce chef and owner André Soltner:
Italian superchef Mario Batali, who cooked for the Obamas’ final state dinner back in October, pays homage with a photo from the momentous occasion:
Chef and Fresh Off the Boat author Eddie Huang reminds us all that he’s an Obama fan from way back:
First successful legitimate business I ever started was selling these tshirts after reading about @barackobama in @newsweek December '06. A lot of street wear boutiques thought it was too political and rejected me especially since Hillary was running but I believed! I sold them on the train, in the stairwell at school, on Craigslist, at the Washington mutual (real talk), literally I walked around the city with them in my bag at all times. It was the first time I ever believed in a politician and I don't regret a second of it. The belief in him and the business became a belief in myself and I've never looked back. Thank you to the people that believed in me and thank you to Barack. Your time in the White House made me feel like one day I could be seen as a whole, successful, American, human being as well #GOAT #DigitalGravel #Union #MTA #WashingtonMutual #201E12thSt
TV chef and owner of Harlem’s Red Rooster Marcus Samuelsson remembers cooking for POTUS and FLOTUS, writing on Facebook last week, “Last night's Farewell Speech by Barack Obama was incredibly inspiring... I thank him and Michelle Obama for their service, leadership, and setting a new standard for us all to aspire to.”
Top Chef alum and The Chew co-host Carla Hall says goodbye to Obama following his farewell address in Chicago:
Chef Michael Mina fondly remembers cooking for President Obama:
Thank you for your kindness, grace and courage during the past 8 years. It was an honor to cook for you, and I hope to have the privilege again in the future. You leave behind a legacy and years of historic progress on so many issues. Thank you Mr. President, for your service and for continuing to set an example for us all.
Seemingly feeling pessimistic about the transfer of power to come, Pok Pok chef Andy Ricker is comforting himself with Vietnamese duck noodle soup:
As my man #obama bids adieu and the orange one adds yellow to his palette, the snow falls on Portland promising to once again shut down this unprepared burg, I am eating Bun Mang Vit (rice vermicelli in broth with bamboo shoots accompanied by cabbage chiffonade salad with duck, carrot, onions, rau ram, peanuts, fried garlic and gingery dipping sauce). Fuck it. Gotta find your pleasures in the simple things.
Philly chef Marc Vetri apparently has a doppelganger in the Secret Service:
Chef Christopher Kostow from Napa’s acclaimed The Restaurant at Meadowood is thankful:
I will proudly tell my children about Barack Obama, about his dignity and intellect and compassion. #thankyoumypresident— Christopher Kostow (@CKostow) January 11, 2017
It was so special to be in Chicago tonight for Obama's farewell speech. Inspiring, passionate, and deeply human. I will miss him as our president. And his message is right on time. If you care about your country, now is the time to show it. Get out there. Organize. Do work. It's going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
Chef Richie Nakano remembers that time Obama reached over the sneeze guard at Chipotle:
Top Atlanta bartender Paul Calvert is worried about what the next four years will bring but ends on a positive note:
Mr. President, we don't always agree, but thank you for your service and for being a model of decency and intelligence and hope, even now in times more bleak than I expected but, I know, not near as bleak as they have been. Donald Trump is a piece of irredeemable garbage, not fit to hold your shoes much less public office, but I must thank you also for your speech tonight as it helped me take the first step toward believing that many of the folks who voted for that vacuous absence of a man are merely wrong and not something much worse. So, thank you once again for being a better angel. Here's to doing good work for ALL. Yes we can. #obamafarewell
Chef Yoni Levy of San Francisco’s Outerlands gives POTUS a rainbow shoutout:
The owner of Tacolicious in SF remembers POTUS’s fondness for tacos:
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