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Think of it as a state dinner for an entire continent. Tuesday night, after the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit sessions wrap up, the president and the first lady will host 50 heads of state and the chairman of the African Union for dinner. The 400 guests will be treated to a traditional American meal with an African twist in a gigantic tent on the South Lawn and enjoy a performance by Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Lionel Richie.
But a lot of behind-the-scenes elbow grease goes into pulling something like this off. On the eve of the big dinner, the chefs were working elbow to elbow in the surprisingly small White House kitchen, chopping onions, all kinds of peppers, papaya, chives and green beans.
White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford pops a green bean into her mouth. "This actually came from our kitchen garden," she says of the salad being prepared. "This was just harvested like, last Friday."