No he won’t be unmolding congealed salad for Michelle Obama. But I did catch up with Scott Peacock as he was picking up a box of Maldon sea salt at Cook’s Warehouse.
“I’m going to Washington, D.C., this evening, and I don’t want to go looking for it there,” said the Watershed chef and go-to Southern food expert.
The occasion? A $500-a-plate dinner that Peacock will cook in a private Georgetown home for guests celebrating the inauguration of Barack Obama. This dinner, one of 12 around the nation’s capital, was spearheaded by Alice Waters and organized by the group Art.Food.Hope as a fundraiser for D.C.-area greenmarkets and a local food bank. Other participating chefs include Craft’s Tom Colicchio and Rick Bayless, whose haute Mexican restaurant, Topolobampo, is a Chicago favorite of the president elect.
“We were told to prepare a casual 3-course meal like we’d prepare for friend and family,” said Peacock, who was bringing flour milled from a colonial-era cultivar of wheat and rendered lard to make ham biscuits. Also on the menu: roast pork, braised greens, glazed sweet potatoes, field peas and cornbread. The 40-something guests will include novelist Michael Chabon, author and Decatur native Roy Blount, Jr. and musician T-Bone Burnett along with his wife, “Thelma and Louise” screenwriter Callie Khouri. Students from the Sidwell Friends school (that Malia and Sasha Obama now attend) will serve. They’ll want to snag some of Peacock’s banana pudding for dessert. “I thought about an apple dessert because apples are local and more in season, but banana pudding just felt right,” said the chef.