Local Dishes Fit for a Presidential Visit

June 05, 2016
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Robbie and Julie Frans and President Obama (Photo courtesy of Julie Frans)

When President Obama flew into Miami last Friday to attend two fundraisers, local chefs Julie Frans and her husband, Robbie, were hard at work, preparing for the first event at a private residence in Miami Beach. Their task: come up with food and drink for 24 guests before and after the donors' one-hour, closed-door session with the President.

“One would never imagine all that goes into planning an event for the President, and how many people, teams and logistics are involved to make that one hour happen,” says Julie Frans, whose husband planned and oversaw the entire event. As the President's motorcade arrived, she and Robbie were standing in the hallway. “The sound of the president's car is awe-inspiring itself,” she reports. “Next thing we heard was his voice coming down the hall.” They watched as Obama talked with the host family for a few minutes, then turned to head down the hall to the event. “He saw us, and walked right over without being introduced," she says. "He joked with us that he never gets to eat at these events, but he imagined the food was amazing. We laughed and let him know we would be happy to cook him a meal again anytime he wished to return.”

Photo 1: Skewers with melon and mozzarella (Photo: Julie Frans)
Photo 2: Naan topped with caponata (Photo: Julie Frans)

An hour later, the President was off to his next fundraiser. Shortly afterward, Frans posted excitedly on Facebook: "Hey Robbie Frans. Remember that night we met the president of the United States????"

Their menu featured produce grown in the hosts' backyard garden and tended by Little River Cooperative, and through Local Roots. Dishes include:
    •    Cobia ceviche, garden herb chimichurri and guava salt on fresh tortilla chips
    •    Braised short rib, horseradish and roasted green garlic goat cheese spread, Zak the Baker rye toasts, marigold petals
    •    Tempura-fried rock shrimp, lemongrass and kaffir lime red curry sauce, black sesame
    •    Eggplant caponata on naan rounds, crushed pine nuts, micro basil  
    •    Melon caprese skewers with garden mint, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, reduced balsamic, fleur de sel

As for Julie and Robbie Frans, they'll never forget the memorable day. “We agreed it ranks right up there with getting married and having babies, as far as amazing life experience moments,” she says.

Braised short rib (Photo: Julie Frans)
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