Having just spent some time in Italy with a lot of terrific food, I wasn’t worried about Michelle Obama
’s chances of a good meal when she was in Rome with her husband for the G8 summit. Still, details of an al fresco lunch
she had at the city's town hall, Terrazza Caffarelli
in Campidoglio (with 13 other first ladies—pretty much all of them except Carla Bruni
) sound remarkable. No surprise: The meal, which was dubbed a "pink power lunch" was prepared by Michelin-three-star chef Heinz Beck
(above) of La Pergola at the Rome Cavalieri
hotel. Among the dishes he served: fried red prawns with toasted bread; lobster medallions on eggplant puree with tomatoes and basil; and veal with artichoke fritters. To accommodate the diet of India’s first lady, chef Heinz prepared one of his signature dishes, fagottelli alla carbonara
(fagottelli is a kind of ravioli), without cured pork guanciale and wine, instead adding zucchini mixed with egg yolk, pepper and pecorino. (Word from the table is that the fagottelli was Obama’s favorite dish; in fact Beck told Italian tv he made it because he knows Obama loves pasta carbonara.) Afterward, Beck was thrilled: "Seeing these powerful women from around the world, each with their own ideals and culture, sitting at the same table in a confident but also relaxed manner really calmed any nerves I had from the night before."