Inside the preparations for the Obama era's final State Dinner

The White House is getting ready for the 13th and final State Dinner of the Obama administration, where Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi will be honored.

A special celebrity chef will be in the kitchen -- famed chef Mario Batali, who is known for his Italian cooking, was picked to help put together the final state dinner, reports CBS News correspondent Chip Reid.

Wearing his signature orange Crocs, Batali, along with the White House executive chefs, served up a taste of what will be on the menu for the last State Dinner of the Obama era.

“We got a lot of work to do,” Batali said, laughing. 

The first course will include a sweet potato pasta dish, followed by a warm butternut squash salad, then a meaty main course with a vegetarian option, ending, of course, with dessert.

“Where does this rank in all of the extraordinary things you’ve ever done as a chef?” Reid asked.

“This is at the very top of the list,” Batali said.

Batali is no stranger to the Obama White House. A supporter of the first lady’s health initiative, he joined Michelle Obama last year at the Milan Expo for an event about nutrition.

“Is there one person you’re worried about? Would it be the president or maybe he first lady? Who’s the foodie?” Reid asked.

“You know, you generally don’t worry that much about  Americans when you’re cooking pasta, you worry about the Italians,” Batali said.

“Oh, good point, good point,” Reid said.

“So Prime Minister Renzi is the guy that I’m probably going to watch their plates a little more closely,” Batali said. 

Those plates will have dishes made from ingredients of the final harvest of the White House kitchen garden, and will sit on elaborately decorated tables.

The fall harvest theme even stretches to the sweets. Susan Morrison is the White House executive pastry chef and worked with Batali to create the apple crostata dessert.

“How many of these have you done?” Reid asked.

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“So this is my 21st year,” Morrison said.

“Twenty-first year, so this is kind of a piece of cake for you,” Reid joked.

“I would say it’s, you know, it always takes so much thought and consideration,” Morrison said. 

The Obamas have hosted a dozen other state dinners. The first in 2009 -- welcoming the prime minister of India -- was embroiled in controversy after a party-crashing couple slipped through, raising questions about security and prompting a congressional inquiry.

But the others have been remembered for not only the world leaders they hosted, but the lighter moments too, like what dress the fashionable first lady is wearing and when Sasha Obama met Canadian movie star Ryan Reynolds during Canada’s state dinner last year.

“It really is an evening of camaraderie, an evening of diplomacy,” said Desiree Rogers, a former social secretary for the Obama administration. “So I would imagine that they’re practicing a little bit and just making certain that everything is in place.”

But for Batali and his crew, the focus is on the food. 

“So are you shaking in your orange Crocs?” Reid asked.

“You know, not yet. I think I’ll be shaking in my orange Crocs tomorrow when it’s about a half hour before service,” Batali said. 

Chef Batali will also be wearing those Crocs while whipping up the dishes in the White House kitchen Tuesday night. Dinner will be capped off with a musical performance by mega pop star Gwen Stefani.