Inaugural Menu Manages To Upset the Champagne Lobby, New York Duck Lovers and Dieticians

The luncheon held after the inauguration ceremony Monday was not without controversy.

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A waiter with glasses of champagne in Chateau de Versailles, France, outside a fashion show in May 2012.
A waiter with glasses of champagne in Chateau de Versailles, France, outside a fashion show in May 2012.

While most of America mourns Beyonce's alleged lip-synching of the national anthem, Long Island, New York is mourning the lack of inauguration duck.

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Chef Butch Yamali, who owns one of the biggest catering groups on Long Island, held a press conference in New York Tuesday to ask why the inaugural luncheon substituted duck from Long Island with bison from South Dakota. Other items on the menu represented other regions in New York, including the Hudson Valley and Saratoga Springs.

"I'm upset because we just had the biggest disaster with Hurricane Sandy… and we're at an all-time low with the storm," Yamali, of Dover Catering Group, tells Whispers. "It was a chance to show something good."

New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, who chaired the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies that organized the luncheon, did not respond to Whispers' questions about the menu. But he earlier told the New York Times the committee made the change because "the duck was very good, but the preparation wasn't great."

[PHOTOS: Obama Attends Presidential Inaugural Prayer Service]

Yamali isn't the first to get angry over this year's inauguration luncheon. Last week, champagne producers in France were upset to find California bubbly on the menu dubbed "California Champagne." Champagne, they rightly pointed out to Agence France Presse, couldn't be from California because the beverage only comes from the Champagne region of France.

Last week, the diet site CalorieCount.com pointed out that even if you leave out the alcoholic beverages, the luncheon added up to more than 3,000 calories. A dietician with the site said that the committee missed an opportunity to serve lighter food in accordance Michelle Obama's anti-obestity work. But had the committee stuck with the Long Island duck, according to CalorieCount.com's measure, the meal would have been even heavier.

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