The first lady's office says this is her way of opening up the White House more, especially to young people, in hopes of inspiring them to reach their goals and perhaps be invited one day to a dinner of its stature themselves.
The first lady and her staff are in charge of planning the prestigious event, making decisions on the tiniest details. This includes the color of the table cloths, the china set, the flowers, the music, the silverware, the guest list, and the menu – among many other details.
The round tables, which seat 10 each, will be draped with apple-green linens. In honor of the state bird of India, the Indian peacock, deep purple flower arrangements sit in the middle of each table. The centerpieces, put together by new White House florist Laura Dowling and her team, are meant to evoke "the classic American garden," the first lady's office said. They are made of purple, plum and fuchsia hydrangea, garden roses, and sweet peas. On the walls of the large tent on the South Lawn will be arrangements of magnolia branches. In addition, locally grown ivy, and nandina foliage will be used to decorate the sides of the tent where guests will eat.
The first lady's office said that all bouquets from the dinner will be re-used through the White House, as a means to recycle the flowers.
The tables will be set with china, all from the White House's historic collection:
-- Service Plates: Eisenhower administration, 1955 New Castle, Pa., Castleton China. U.S. government purchase, 1955.
-- Service Plates: Clinton State China Service, 2000 Trenton, N.J., Lenox. Gift of the White House Historical Association, 2000, commissioned to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the White House.
-- Dinner Plates: George W. Bush State China Service 2008-2009 Kinston, N.C., Lenox, Inc. Gift of the White House Acquisition Trust, 2009.
The menu, created by guest chef Marcus Samuelsson and White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford, with the first lady, is respectful of the dietary concerns of the Indian prime minister, who is a vegetarian. It also puts an emphasis on healthy eating from the Obama White House. White House Pastry Chef William Yosses and his team created the desserts.
The first lady's office said the menu "reflects the best of American cuisine, continues this White House's commitment to serving fresh, sustainable and regional food, and honors the culinary excellence and flavors that are present in Indian cuisine."
Herbs and lettuce from the White House garden will be included in the meal. The honey used in the pears poached with honey are from the White House beehive. And the desserts will be garnished with mint and lemon verbena grown in the White House Kitchen Garden.
Here is the complete menu:
Potato and Eggplant Salad White House Arugula with Onion Seed Vinaigrette 2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Modus Operandi, Napa Valley, California
Red Lentil Soup with Fresh Cheese 2006 Riesling, Brooks "Ara", Willamette Valley, Oregon
Roasted Potato Dumplings with Tomato Chutney Chick Peas and Okra or Green Curry Prawns with caramelized salsify with smoked Collard Greens and coconut aged basmati 2007 Granache Beckman Vineyards, Santa Ynez, California
Pumpkin pie tart Pear Tatin Whipped Cream and Caramel sauce Sparkling Chardonnay, Thibaut Janisson Brut, Monticello, Virginia
Petits fours and Coffee Cashew Brittle Pecan Pralines Passion fruit and vanilla Gelees Chocolate dipped fruit