The White House is preparing to host a state dinner to mark South Korea’s 70 years of relations with the United States. The First Lady, Jill Biden, and her team have previewed the menu and decor of the event. Biden has been quoted as saying that setting a table can be an “act of love” and that she hopes to merge this idea with the concept that “all politics is personal.” Biden enlisted Korean American celebrity chef Edward Lee to add his unique flair to the menu. Lee is known for his fusion of American cuisine with Korean flavors.
The appetizer, crab cakes, will be accompanied by an updated coleslaw, made of cabbage, kohlrabi, fennel, and cucumber, topped with a gochujang vinaigrette, and served with a small bowl of yellow squash soup. The main course features braised beef short ribs topped with sorghum-glazed carrots served atop a dollop of butter bean grits. Dessert will be a deconstructed version of an American classic, the banana split. It will feature lemon bar ice cream, caramelized bananas, fresh berries, mint ginger snap cookie crumble, and a caramel sauce infused with doenjang, a fermented soybean paste.
The event will be held in the East Room, the largest room in the executive mansion, with 200 guests expected to attend. Guests will move down the hallway to the State Dining Room to be entertained after dinner by a trio of Broadway stars: Norm Lewis, Lea Salonga, and Jessica Vosk. The tables will be decorated with a mix of light blue silk cloths and teal plexiglass tops. Each table will have a 6-foot-tall vase centerpiece filled with blooming cherry blossom branches, along with smaller arrangements of pink orchids and peonies. Azaleas, native to Korea, will adorn tables at a pre-dinner cocktail reception.
This event will mark the second state dinner hosted by the Biden administration, following a dinner that honored America’s friendship with France in December 2020. The White House worked on the details of this event with Jung Lee, the Korean American founder and creative director of Fete, a New York-based design firm.
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