President Biden, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford are going all out for Thursday's state dinner with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The first lady worked alongside Comerford, guest chef Nina Curtis and White House Executive Pastry Chef Susie Morrison to tailor the dinner menu. The meal is entirely vegetarian, save for a sea bass option that can be made upon request. The festivities will take place Thursday evening in a pavilion on the South Lawn. The first lady and chefs shared the menu and a description of the evening for the news media Wednesday afternoon.
"We have curated a menu that really showcases the best in American cuisine, also seasoned with Indian elements and flavors," Curtis told reporters.
Several dishes feature millets, as the United Nations has declared 2023 the International Year of Millets, recognizing the grain's environmental sustainability.
Here is the menu, as released by the White House:
Marinated millet and grilled corn kernel salad
Tangy avocado sauce
Stuffed portobello mushrooms, "roasted to perfection," as Curtis put it
Creamy saffron-infused risotto
Sumac-roasted sea bass
Lemon-dill yogurt sauce
Crisped millet cakes
Rose and cardamom-infused strawberry shortcake
Stone Tower chardonnay "Kristi" 2021
PATEL red blend 2019
Domain Carneros brut rosé
The U.S.-India relationship is an important one for Mr. Biden, particularly as he seeks to navigate and manage China's influence on the global stage. India will soon be , if it isn't already.
The first lady and White House Social Secretary Carlos Elizondo worked with David Stark Design and Production to include both American and Indian décor in the event.
"The inspiration for our design really began with the peacock, India's national bird," Elizondo said. "From the invitations to the programs to the pavilion, we wanted to evoke that breathtaking feeling when it extends its tail, unveiling its colorful beauty, majesty and strength."
The pavilion where the meal will take place will be draped in greens and saffrons, a nod to the Indian flag. A bald eagle and peacock will be the backdrop for the president and prime minister toasts, according to the White House. And lotus blooms will inspire the decor and tables.
"Tomorrow night, guests will walk across the South Lawn, into a pavilion draped in rich greens with saffron flowers at every table, the colors of the Indian flag," the first lady said.
Entertainment will include Joshua Bell, an American violinist and conductor, as well as Penn Masala, a South Asian a cappella group. "The President's Own" United States Marine Band Chamber Orchestra, the United States' oldest continuously playing professional music group, will also perform.
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