Thursday, January 10, 2013


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Culinary Institute of America grad to do inaugural lunch, with New York State products

HYDE PARK – Hudson Valley maple syrup and apples will figure prominently in two of the dishes to be served up at a presidential inaugural luncheon in Washington later this month.  Preparing the dishes will be Culinary Institute of America grad Shannon Shafer, who now runs a catering operation in Maryland.

This was a big enough deal to U.S. Senator Charles Schumer that he introduced Shafer at a media event Wednesday at the CIA.

Schumer, who chairs the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, put high priority on including New York State ingredients.

Crown Maple Syrup, produced in Dutchess County, will be used in the butternut squash puree.  The dessert will feature Hudson Valley apple pie, with two varieties of apples from Golden Harvest Orchards in Columbia County.   Wine and cheese from other parts of New York State are also on the menu. 

Chef Shafer’s plans to bring this together in the courses he will oversee.

For Shafer, it is a professional pinnacle.

“After years of working in the catering industry, just developed a product and were able to introduce it and get chosen for the inaugural”, Shafer said

Schumer said there is an economic spinoff.  What’s served at inaugural events gets a lot of media attention.

“Serving Crown Maple Suryp and Golden Harvest Orchards apples at the inaugural shine the spotlight on two of New York’s biggest and sweetest agricultural industries”, Schumer said.  “President Obama, Vice President Biden, the members of Congress and the Supreme Court will all get a taste of the Hudson Valley’s finest.” 

Schumer noted the luncheon has been a tradition for more than a century, with high profile guest list topping 200.