Gourmet Dining at the Green Inaugural Ball

Guest post by Shelley Cohen

One of the most frequently asked questions about the 2013 Green Inaugural Ball is, “Do I have to eat before the Ball?” Well there is an easy response: “Come hungry!”  The evening will feature epicurean delights from Wolfgang Puck Catering. Yes, the Chef who built Spago and made it the hottest Hollywood celebrity destination provides the in-house catering for the Newseum, where his delectable D.C. restaurant, The Source, also resides. Attendees can expect the highest quality gourmet food from the catering kitchen, which is overseen by Executive Chef Tom Blundell. There will be gourmet food, drink and dessert offerings throughout the night, and even a delectable nibble for guests to take home at the end of the night. Chef Blundell has created a menu for the Green Ball that reflects the commitment and values of the green community to eat local, sustainable and organic foods while providing a signature gourmet flare.

Spicy Tuna Tartare in a Sesame Miso Cone, one of the delectable dishes in store for guests at the 2013 Green Inaugural Ball.
Blundell takes sustainability in the kitchen seriously, from procurement through presentation. He calculates per-person food quantities in an effort to reduce costs and waste, and as an avid Maryland gardener, Chef Blundell knows all the local purveyors and sources of the freshest, seasonably available ingredients. Blundell is a master of molding and crafting perfect bites that do not need utensils or china to eat (and if utensils areneeded, it will either be compostable or reusable).

A Sustainable, Organic and Local Menu

The menu will feature vegetarian and vegan options as well as regional cuisine. Incredibly, 98% of the ingredients on the menu were procured from within 300 miles. This is truly a menu that pays homage to and celebrates local, organic and sustainable food.

Signature dishes include Wolfgang Puck Kobe beef sliders, Sesame Miso Cones with Carolina Yellow Fin Tuna Tartar, and a Charcuterie and Cheese bar.  The cheeses come from family owned farms and co-ops and use all organic ingredients. The fish, procured from ProFish, is MSC Chain of Custody certified, which is a comprehensive traceability program that tracks seafood from the point of sale back to an MSC-certified fishery.

There will also be a variety of vegan and vegetarian food offerings, including Locally Grown Organic Vegetable Crudités, Butternut Squash Shooters with Apple, and Vegetable Sushi Rolls with Soy Wasabi Drizzle. The evening culminates with scrumptious desserts around 11 pm, which will include Assorted Cheesecake and Truffle Lollipops, S’mores Parfaits, Mango pudding and Vanilla Bean Pudding Shots,and mini Chocolate Decadence Cakes & Cheesecakes.

Since the nibbles were so gourmet, we knew we had to create libations to match. If you need hydration after rocking out to will.i.am., grab one of the many featured flavors of Honest Tea, delivered in their Honest Tea-branded hybrid Saturn Vue. Feeling particularly patriotic? Reach for President Obama’s favorite flavor, Black Forrest Berry.

Looking for a libation with a bit more zing? Sip the Green Ball’s signature cocktail, the OM-Bama, created by professional mixologist Natalie Bovis (aka the Liquid Muse), author of Edible Cocktails: Garden to Glass. Natalie crafted the OM-Bama using a host of unique ingredients and OM (which stands for Organic Mixology) Cocktail, a new product that is bursting on to the market and into the hands of eco-minded consumers. See if you can identify the secret ingredient!

Looking for a sophisticated sip?  Check out our featured wine from New York’s Hunt County Vineyards. Not only do they use sustainable farming practices and compost residual harvest to make soil, but the heating and the cooling for the warehouse, tasting room, and production facility is generated with eight geothermal wells and a vertical-axis wind turbine.

Still hungry at the end of the night? Stonyfield Farms has shipped over frozen yogurt treats, including their chocolate dipped frozen yogurt bars. All food waste and waste from food prep activities will be composted, and all unused food will be used by the Newseum.   It is going to be a delicious night!

If you haven’t purchased your 2013 Green Inaugural Ball tickets, purchase them soon before the event sells out.
Heading to the Green Ball? Don’t forget to tweet using the #GreenBall2013 hashtag.

Shelley Cohen is Chair of the Greening Committee for the 2013 Green Inaugural Ball. Ms. Cohen is an urban eco-mom with eighteen years of experience in environment and energy-related fields. She currently serves as a Senior Project Developer for Ameresco where she specializes in developing renewable energy and energy conservation projects, and is responsible for developing over 15MWs of renewable energy. Prior employment included jobs with EPA, the White House, and the office of Senator Joseph Lieberman (CT). Ms. Cohen’s green home includes eco-friendly materials, 12kw of solar PV, a cool roof, rain barrel, organic garden, and has been featured in local and national media. Ms. Cohen serves on the board of the National Wildlife Federation, and in 2012 was trained as a Climate Leader through the Climate Reality Project.