Obama's First State Dinner Calls on Marcus Samuelsson, Jennifer Hudson

By Courtney Thompson November 24, 2009, 4:38 PM EST

The Obamas are set to host their first state dinner tonight, feting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh under a large windowed tent on the White House South Lawn. State dinners have often been held in the East Room, which only has a capacity of 140, and reports say tonight's head count will be closer to 320.

Although news outlets are still awaiting official details about the dinner and invitees from Michelle Obama's office, details are already trickling out—from the American wines being served and the menu's Indian components (green curry prawns, coconut aged basmati) to the emerald green table linens and performance by Jennifer Hudson.

  • Aquavit's Marcus Samuelsson is the evening's guest chef, serving up potato and eggplant salad, lentil soup, potato dumplings, and a pumpkin pie tart. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • An anonymous source says Jennifer Hudson will perform, as will A.R. Rahman, Kurt Elling, and the National Symphony Orchestra. [NYT]
  • Politico's shot of the South Lawn tent depicts not only the structure's size, but also windows that, if uncovered, will offer views of the Ellipse. The story also says that herbs from the White House garden and honey from the bee hive will be used in the menu. [Politco]
  • The guest list includes the usual suspects (Joe Biden, David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Desirée Rogers) and a group of Indian descent (director M. Night Shyamalan, Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai, CNN's Sanjay Gupta, actor turned associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement Kal Penn). [Politico]
  • Photos of the evening's emerald-hued table linens and gold chargers and flatware have surfaced on Twitter via CBS News photographer Frank Thorp. [Twitpic
  • Nikki Finke is reporting that Obama will be thanking his Hollywood political supporters by inviting the likes of David Geffen, Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman Michael Lynton, and WME Entertainment Agency co-C.E.O. (and brother to Rahm) Ari Emanuel. [DeadlineHollywood]

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