by Lacey Griebeler, Chef Magazine

Today was the swearing in of our 44th president Barak Obama--and it was a cause for celebration in restaurants across the U.S. The Chef Magazine e-mail inbox was inundated with many a creative promotion to mark the historic occasion. Here are just a few.

The folks at Juicy Wine Co., a wine bar in Chicago, opened early so patrons could watch the inauguration. They also served up half-price glasses of Pinot Noir and ObamaBurgers, which the restaurant describes as, "Benton's hickory-smoked country bacon piled on top of a char-grilled mound of juicy, Kobe beef (reflecting Obama's Pan-Asian upbringing), topped it with gooey Wisconsin Cheddar, spicy, Michelle-fist-pumped caramelized onions and a dollop of our very own Secret South Side Sauce. All that goodness is crammed between two slices of marble rye (celebrating Barack's multiracial background) and fed to our panini press, transforming it into the ultimate patty-melting-pot that is America."

Hotel guests and the L.A. community are celebrating Obama's inauguration with a special menu, prepared by The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey executive chef Chad Minton. The $44 (for the 44th president) prix fixe menu will consist of three courses and the option to say "Yes I Can" to a house-made dessert. Also being offered is a “Hail to the Chief” cocktail.

In Philadelphia, the Visitors Bureau is sponsoring an "Inauguration Celebration," and City Tavern chef/proprietor Walter Staib is offering a special menu featuring: an aperitif of Champagne Shrub, Ale-Braised Mallard Duck Sausage, West Indies Pepperpot Soup (accompanied by Sam Adams Lager), a choice of Chicken Breast "Mount Vernon Style" or Medallions of Beef (accompanied by General Washington's Tavern Porter) and Martha Washington's recipe for Chocolate Layer Mousse Cake (accompanied by a toast of Madeira) for dessert.

All Legal Sea Foods restaurants on the East Coast (including the D.C. location) will be offering their famous New England clam chowder for 44 cents with the purchase of any entrée.

José Andrés's Oyamel, an authentic Mexican restaurant in D.C., sold its signature cinnamon-vanilla-clove hot chocolate to-go for $5 to keep inauguration parade spectators warm.

In case you missed it, the menu for the official Inaugural Luncheon (complete with recipes) is available in PDF version here on the Web site of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

Tell us about your inauguration day specials in the comments section.
The 28th National Beef Cook-Off will come to California in late September, during the peak of the area’s beautiful harvest season to host both a Chef/Media Challenge (as well as a home cook competition). Professional restaurant chefs working in the San Francisco Bay area and Sacramento metropolitan area counties are asked to submit their original, newly developed beef dish that best portrays “Sonoma-Style” cooking. Recipes should yield 24 servings. Six professional restaurant chef finalists will be selected from the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento counties to compete on Sept. 21 when they will prepare and present their original “Best of Beef” dish in a private Chef/Media Team Challenge, for prizes totaling approximately $5,000. One grand prize winner will receive one paid registration and trip to the December Texas A&M University “Beef 101 Seminar”; one People’s Choice Award winner will receive one paid registration to the 2009 Culinary Institute of America’s Worlds of Flavor International Conference & Festival; and four first place winners will each receive $500 in cash prizes.

The National Beef Cook-Off requires entrants to enter recipes online at, or by postal mail to: National Beef Cook-Off Entries, ANCW, P.O. Box 3881, Englewood, CO 80155 by March 31. Mailed entries must be postmarked no later than March 31 and received on or before midnight April 7.
FSB Holdings Inc. is pleased to announce the appointment of Jim Clough as president of Pennant Foods. Clough has more than twenty years of management experience in the food industry, working across multiple channels including Foodservice, In-Store Bakery, Industrial and Retail. He most recently led the foodservice division of Menu Inspirations, a subsidiary of H.J. Heinz, focusing on gourmet desserts and appetizers. Prior to Heinz, he was general manager of ConAgra Foodservice – Frozen & Shelf Stable, where he was honored with the Innovator Award and Board of Directors Achievement Awards in several performance and financial categories.
The Animal Welfare Institute and the Animal Welfare Approved program have announced the first round of Good Husbandry Grants. Thirty-four recipients representing 17 states have been awarded grants ranging from $500 to $8,549 during this inaugural round. This initiative is designed to support farmers and processors by funding innovative projects with the greatest potential impact for improving the welfare of farm animals.

The Animal Welfare Approved program and food label promote the well-being of animals and the sustainability of humane family farms, uniting conscientious consumers with farmers who raise their animals with compassion. Animal Welfare Approved certifies independent family farmers who raise their animals with compassion and allows these farms to use the seal on their products. This accreditation was recently endorsed by the World Society for the Protection of Animals as having the most stringent animal welfare standards of any third-party certifier.

Examples of projects funded include development and expansion of pasture-based poultry operations, assembly of a Mobile Processing Unit (MPU) in North Carolina that will be shared among a group of Animal Welfare Approved farmers, a low-stress loading facility in Nebraska for pig farmers that will be shared by a network of pig farmers, and shelters for pastured pigs and laying hens.

2008 Animal Welfare Approved Good Husbandry Grant Recipients:

Athens Foodservice provides step-by-step guidance with a series of new recipe videos, along with chef Dino Lubbat of Dinotto Ristorante in Chicago, available at

The videos demonstrate how to make:
  • Hurricane Shrimp with kataifi, also known as shredded fillo dough, with shrimp and served with a spicy mango sauce
  • Salmon Fillo Rolls with Ready-To Go Fillo Dough to create a light and fresh entrée
  • Mini Fillo Shell Cream Cheese Hors d'oeuvres with corn, black bean, spinach and tomato fillo shells
  • Tiramisù-filled Mini Fillo Shell recipe with chocolate and graham mini shells

"In the foodservice industry, it is imperative that operators stay ahead of trends," Lubbat said in a press release. "The foodservice business is fast-paced, and operators are always looking for an advantage. These videos serve as a great resource for busy chefs."