Tomorrow night, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will host the last state dinner under the current administration—in honor of Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Cooking for the 500 guests expected on the South Lawn for the event will be the one and only Mario Batali—and the details of his menu featuring "traditional Italian dishes that have been ingrained in American cuisine" remain a closely guarded secret.
"These are some of my favorite people on the whole planet, and they're asking me to cook for the final state dinner of the presidency, and, oh, by the way, it's the Italians who are coming," Batali told the New York Times. "It doesn't get better."
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While the dishes Batali plans on serving the Italian Prime Minister won't be revealed until tomorrow evening, one thing we do know is exactly what Batali plans on wearing to the White House—his signature orange Crocs. After all, why stand on ceremony? And anyway, it's not like he owns other shoes. "It's all I've got," he told the Times.
Batali's undying devotion to orange Crocs has somehow, over the past decade, morphed from a running joke to a marketable selling point. When Crocs launched its special edition "Bistro Mario Batali Vent Clog" in 2007, the chef issued a statement reaffirming his love for the ultra-practical kitchen shoe. "It's not hard to see that I'm a supporter of Crocs, given that I wear them on a daily basis," he said. "The new Bistro model brings functionality for the kitchen to the equation, producing a product that I am happy to support."
When the style was discontinued six years later, Batali ordered 200 pairs. "They're gonna stop the Mario Batali orange! It's preposterous!" he said, later explaining that "they made a special run for me before they retired the color." Since ending the original run of the Batali vent clog, Crocs has gone on to issue a new style—unvented!—and simply called the "Bistro Mario Batali Edition."
As fate would have it, Crocs made an appearance at London Fashion Week– which means fashionistas, maybe even the First Family, could soon be jumping on the bandwagon.