By Judy Kurtz - 06/06/12 10:38 PM EDT
He’s hosted hordes of hungry diners at his Italian eatery in Chinatown, Graffiato, and at his just-opened Georgetown restaurant, Bandolero, but chef Mike Isabella is yearning to serve one particular guest, who so far has remained elusive.
“Besides [President] Obama?” the former “Top Chef” contestant replied without missing a beat when ITK inquired as to which Washington lawmaker or leader he’d most like to impress with his culinary prowess.
While the New Jersey native has yet to slice and dice for Obama, he did show the first lady his skills in the kitchen back in 2010 while an executive chef at José
Andrés’s Penn Quarter establishment: “I cooked for Michelle when I used to be at Zaytinya. But I’ve been dying to cook for [the first family] either at Graffiato or down at Bandolero.”
The cooking pro — who was all smiles despite working up a sweat serving up tacos and other mouth-watering Mexican dishes last week at Bandolero’s kickoff party — points out that the commander in chief has taken his taste buds to other businesses of Bravo’s “Top Chef” stars.
Last August, Obama paid a visit to Spike Mendelsohn’s Capitol Hill burger joint, Good Stuff Eatery. Isabella says with a laugh, “Multiple times he’s been there! No love for me.
Hopefully he’ll change it up a little bit and come on down.”
So what would Isabella present on the president’s plate? “I’d just do what we do, you know, and serve the food and try to give him the experience of trying some different things that he’s probably never had before. We have a lot of that on the menu here. Our food is definitely not the classic Mexican food you’d expect, so we’ll see.”