The Salahi Effect? White House Hopes for Smoother State Dinner This Time

Bayless, winner of America's Top Chef Masters, will be teaming up with White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford to create a Mexican menu that will, in his words, create "aromas in that kitchen that have never been there before."

In an interview with NPR this week Bayless said he'll be cooking up some mole and ceviche, in addition to many other delicacies on the otherwise secret menu.

"Obviously most people in the United States think -- still think of Mexican food so much in terms of the simple street foods like tacos and such," Bayless told NPR, "And I certainly wanted to feature something that I consider to be Mexico's greatest dish. So, yes, I'm going to be making a mole and I think it's got 27, 28 different ingredients in it. "

Vegetables grown in the First Lady's White House garden will be used for the dishes.

The ambiance, as at most state dinners, will be grandiose, weaving in elements of the host's country as well as the guest-of-honor's country, usually with a special touch to the First Lady's liking.

Large white tents were constructed on the South Lawn of the White House as early as last week, to build the ornate structure that will host hundreds for the late-night musical performances under the stars, and in the shadow of the Washington Monument.

The guest list this year may be one of the most secretive details, promised to be released before only moments before tonight's dinner arrivals. Like most state dinners, it will combine politicians – members of the administration and Congress, as well as from the Mexican delegation and leaders in the Hispanic-American community, along with a few celebrities as well.

Among the rumored attendees are prominent Mexican-American actresses Salma Hayek and Eva Longoria Parker.

The Salahi Effect

Two names likely not on the guest list this year: Tareq and Michaele Salahi.

The main event, the black-tie state dinner in the East Room of the White House might bring some nostalgic uneasiness among those in the White House, as this is where the breakdown in security led the Salahis, as well as a third gate-crasher, Carlos Allen, to enter the White House without being on the guest list at the last state dinner.

The White House this week expressed confidence that all procedures have been corrected to ensure there will not be a repeat of that security problem, and no one not already on the highly-coveted invite list will enter the event this time.

"I'm not going to elaborate on increased security procedures," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said earlier this week. "That would invite people to try to figure out how to evade them."

Yet Gibbs added later that it is his understanding that there will be a representative from the social secretary's office at the gate checking names this time alongside Secret Service.

Last year the three guests were let in to the White House grounds by Secret Service even though their names were not on the official guest list and no representative from the social secretary's office was at the entrance points.

Criticism fell on then-White House social secretary Desiree Rogers's staff. Rogers resigned in February,and has been replaced by Julianna Smoot.

Por Que Mexico?

Today's state visit comes at an opportune moment for both the United States and Mexico, the White House says.

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