President Biden is preparing to host his first White House state dinner Thursday evening for French President Emmanuel Macron with a lavish dining selection of desserts and seafood on the menu.
In the United States, a state dinner is one of the most glamorous events organized by the White House for a visiting head of government or reigning monarch and has been used in the past to show diplomatic unity.
The last White House state dinner was served during the administration of former President Trump to honor Australia in the Rose Garden, seating approximately 200 people.
A place setting during a media preview for the upcoming state dinner for French President Macron at the White House Nov. 30, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
The dinner will be served outdoors on the White House South Lawn, with more than 300 guests expected to attend dressed in formal black-tie clothing, according to The Associated Press. Tables will be covered with dark blue silk cloths and adorned with the official flower of France, the iris, as well as roses, while guests will be heated on the pavilion.
The White House, under the direction of first lady Jill Biden, organized the event and planned the dinner menu to promote diplomatic ties with France and democracy.
“The design of this dinner was inspired by the shared colors of our flags — red, white and blue — and our common values, liberty and democracy, equality and fellowship,” the first lady said in a statement. “These form the bedrock upon which our enduring friendship was built.”
Guests will be served butter-poached Maine lobster, beef with shallot marmalade, a variety of American cheeses and triple-cooked butter potatoes. Two leading chefs for the evening’s celebration are White House Executive Chef Criseta Comerford and Executive Pastry Chef Susie Morrison.
After the main course is served, the White House will bring out orange chiffon cake, roasted, and creme fraiche ice cream for dessert. Traditional White House china will not be used because the event is being hosted outside the executive mansion. So guests will use outdoor tableware for the entirety of the night.
The Statue of Liberty will be featured in the background of the dinner behind Biden and Macron. For drinks, guests will be served glasses of American sparkling wine poured into silver French champagne glasses for the evening toast.
The dinner is viewed as an opportunity for the U.S. and France to strengthen their transatlantic partnership despite past disputes over trade deals and national security issues.