What do you get for $10,000 at a presidential campaign fundraiser?

You get your picture taken with the president – and a lobster corn dog.

A corn dog filled with a lobster tail instead of a hot dog is just one of the Maine-centric hors d’oeuvres that will be passed around at the VIP cocktail reception for President Obama in South Portland on Friday afternoon.

Donors who paid just $100 for general admission – aka “the riffraff” – won’t even get a hot dog.

The sold-out reception at the Hutchinson Union Building on the Southern Maine Community College campus will begin at 3 p.m. with a beverage-only gathering of 1,700 people.

After Obama speaks, the $10,000 donors will move to a smaller VIP “photo reception” being catered by The Black Tie Company of Portland.

Chris Weber, president of Black Tie, said she has prepared an all-Maine menu that features, in addition to the lobster corn dogs, classic Maine lobster rolls with drawn butter, Maine oysters, Duck Trap smoked salmon, Maine shrimp cocktail shooters, and Pineland Farms tenderloin beef served on baguettes.

Weber will pour wines from Cellardoor Winery in Lincolnville and Blacksmiths in South Casco. The Maine-crafted beers to be served are Gritty’s Pub Style, Shipyard Export Ale, Geary’s Pale Ale and Allagash White.

Guests will stand around high-top cocktail tables, because $10,000 apparently doesn’t buy you a chair.

Unlike Aurora Provisions, which will cater Friday night’s dinner for the president and about 100 campaign donors at the Portland Museum of Art, Weber did not have to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Little is known about the dinner menu.

The Portland Press Herald has confirmed that cod from Browne Trading Market will be in one of the courses, and that two wines, a vouvray from France and a gruner veltliner from Oregon, will be served.

The Kennebec Journal reported Wednesday that the dinner will include an array of cheeses from Echo Ridge Organic Cheese in Mount Vernon, including camembert, brie, coulommiers and reblochon.

When it comes to keeping the menu a secret, Barbara Skapa, owner of Echo Ridge, apparently didn’t get the memo. She’s had a sign posted outside her home that says “Busy Making Cheeses for the White House.”

Weber wanted to hear the president speak and had already bought a ticket to the reception at SMCC when she was asked to do the catering. She had no trouble finding employees to staff the event.

“We’ve got about 25 people working, and I’ve turned down at least 50 that will work for free,” Weber said. “They just want to work because they want to hear the speech, and they want to be in the same proximity as Obama. Basically, I just said, ‘Everybody submit your names and I’ll hand-pick the people I want to work the event.’ “

Weber is an old hand at working presidential events. She has catered weddings for George H.W. Bush and made barbecue for Bill Clinton. The first time she cooked for a president, it “was so nerve-wracking I don’t think I slept for a week.”

Then she learned that if she just does her best – and tries not to get too hung up on the fact that Secret Service agents are standing next to her, telling her what to do and not do – everything usually turns out all right.

Weber is hoping that, this time, she’ll be able to actually meet the Diner in Chief.

“If I get to shake his hand I’ll be happy,” she said, “but I don’t think that’s going to happen.” 

Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

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