Preview to a state dinner

White House chefs and celebrity guest Mario Batali show off the dishes to be served when US President Barack Obama hosts Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi for Tuesday's state dinner.

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - White House chefs gave a sneak peak on Monday (Oct 17) of the upcoming star-studded state dinner in honor of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Italian-American celebrity chef Mario Batali, who will prepare the meal, was also on hand to give reporters a taste of the cuisine.

"I came in early today just so I could have enough time - we got a lot of work to do!" he told reporters.

The menu includes dishes that celebrate the fall harvest as well as popular Italian fare that has become ingrained in America's food culture, the chefs explained.

Guests at Tuesday's event will be served canapés such as roasted California figs with speck, crab cannolis and lamb topped with rosemary from the White House garden.

For dessert, they'll have a range of options, from green apple strata to pumpkin cranberry tart.

The last time the United States threw a state dinner for Italy was in 1998. Among those present will be fashion designer Giorgio Armani; the Italian chef of Europe's CERN research center, Fabiola Gianotti; and Giusy Nicolini, the mayor of Lampedusa - a tiny Italian island that has taken in thousands of migrants.

The state dinner looks certain to be the last for US President Barack Obama as he prepares to end his final term in office.