UK Politics

White House dinner: Barack Obama, David Cameron, guests and menu

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron have praised each other at state dinner at the White House dinner. But who was on the guest list and what was on the menu?


Created by White House executive chef Cris Comerford.

Theme:Winter harvest

First course:Crisped halibut with potato crust, served on a bed of braised baby kale from the White House garden. Shaved Brussels sprouts, Applewood smoked bacon

Salad course:Spring garden lettuces with shallot dressing and shaved radish, cucumbers and avocados

Main course:Bison Wellington, pairing the pastry case created for the British soldier and statesman the Duke of Wellington with American buffalo tenderloin from North Dakota, instead of beef. Red wine reduction, French beans, cipollini onion

Dessert:Steamed lemon pudding with Idaho Huckleberry Sauce and Newtown Pippin apples


More details can be viewed on the White House website.

BBC North America editor Mark Mardell gives his take on the evening.


Among the 360 guests at the meal, held in a marquee in the White House grounds, were:

  • British actor Damian Lewis, currently appearing in the series Homeland, and wife Helen McCrory, star of Hugo and the Harry Potter films
  • US film star star George Clooney
  • British-born American Vogue editor Anna Wintour
  • Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy, currently ranked number one in the world
  • British actress Carey Mulligan, star of films Shame and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
  • Downton Abbey actors Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern
  • British star of The Wire Idris Elba
  • Harvey Weinstein, co-founder of Miramax films
  • Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson
  • Olympic heptathlon gold medallist Denise Lewis
  • Chancellor George Osborne and Foreign Secretary William Hague
  • Billionaire investor Warren Buffett
  • Apple's Sir Jonathan Ive, British designer of the iPhone and iPad
  • Elaine Brye an Winona, from Ohio, mother of four children serving in the military

Here is the White House's full guest list.


President Obama:"It was December 1941 and the attack on Pearl Harbour had finally thrust America into war alongside our British friends. And these were the words Sir Winston spoke to his new American partners: 'I will say that he must indeed have a blind soul who cannot see that some great purpose and design is being worked out here below of which we have the honour to be the faithful servants.' And so, I'd like to propose a toast. To her Majesty the Queen on her Diamond Jubilee. To our dear friends David and Samantha and to the great purpose and design of our alliance. May we remain now and always as faithful servants."

David Cameron:"You don't get to choose the circumstances you have to deal with as a president or a prime minister and you don't get to choose the leaders that you have to work with. But all I can say is that it is a pleasure to work with someone with moral strength, with clear reason and with fundamental decency in this task of renewing our great national alliance for today and for the generations to follow. And with that, I propose a toast. To the President, to the First Lady and to the people of the United States of America."


English folk-rock band Mumford & Sons - a favourite of Samantha Cameron - and US R&B act John Legend


Before the dinner, the Camerons presented the Obamas with a Dunlop table tennis table, complete with UK and US flag bats.

They received a Braten 1000 Series Grill hand made by Engelbrecht Grills and Cookers of Paxton, Illinois, in return. This came with two White House chef jackets, each featuring American and British flags, and the Great Seal, as well as Mr and Mrs Cameron's names.

The Obamas' daughters, Malia and Sasha, received a set of classic British books by Penguin and Puffin with customised covers.

The Cameron children, Arthur, Nancy and Florence, were given personalised bean bag chairs, featuring their names and the presidential seal.

Mrs Obama also gave Mrs Cameron a jar of honey collected from the South Lawn of the White House and chamomile seeds grown in the kitchen garden.