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U.K. State Dinner Details Emerge: John Legend To Perform, Bison Wellington On The Menu

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STATE DINNER OBAMA
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the state dinner for Mexican President Felipe Calderon in May 2010. | AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON - The theme of President Barack Obama's Wednesday night state dinner for U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron is "America's Backyard." In this case, the backyard is the South Lawn of the White House, which will be viewed by dinner guests through a 150-foot-long glass wall in the dinner tent.

The meal itself builds on the theme of "A Winter Harvest," a reference to vegetables, including lettuce and baby kale, that come from the White House kitchen garden. The year-round fruit and vegetable garden is one of first lady Michelle Obama's most visible contributions to the White House grounds.

The menu, printed below, blends British and American culinary traditions in such dishes as Bison Wellington -- buffalo tenderloin baked in a traditional British pastry. The dinner is being prepared by White House Executive Chef Chris Comerford, with dessert from Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses.

The First Course, Crisped Halibut with Potato Crust, will be served on a bed of braised baby kale fresh from the White House garden, shaved Brussels sprouts and micro cabbage sprouts. A hint of applewood smoked bacon from a local smokehouse ties the dish together.

The Salad Course, Spring Garden Lettuces with Shallot Dressing and Shaved Radish, Cucumbers and Avocados, is light and crisp and includes different types of greens, which are also from the Kitchen Garden.

The Main Course, Bison Wellington, is a perfect pairing of US and UK cultures. The Wellington is a classic English dish given an American twist with the use of buffalo tenderloin.

The dessert is Steamed Lemon Pudding, a nod to the traditional British treat. The pudding is prepared with Idaho Huckleberry Sauce to unite the British and American flavors.

The one thing the White House didn't include on the printed menu are the names of the evening's wines, revealing only that "An American wine will be paired with each course." Earlier this week, Bloomberg News reported that certain wines served at prior state dinners retailed for as much as $399 a bottle.

The decor on Wednesday night will be inspired by "English country gardens" and will feature what the dinner program describes as "amethyst linens." Roses, the national flower of both England and the United States, will play "a major role" in the centerpieces.

Following the dinner and the requisite toasts by the two leaders, guests will stay on the South Lawn for some off-the-record entertainment provided by two world-renowned acts: the British alternative folk band Mumford & Sons, and nine-time Grammy Award-winner John Legend, who is one of the president's favorite performers.

The White House has yet to release the full guest list for the evening, but if past state dinners are any indication, the crowd will be a trans-Atlantic mix of business and government leaders, with a few Hollywood stars sprinkled throughout.

"Homeland" star Damian Lewis has said he will be there, as will the current world's number one rated golfer, Rory McIlroy, who hails from Northern Ireland.

There's also a good chance that movie star George Clooney will don his tux for the dinner, although this has yet to be confirmed. Clooney is in Washington this week for meetings on the plight of Sudanese refugees, and after spending Wednesday on Capitol Hill, he is scheduled to meet with President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss the issue on Thursday.

For updates from the White House, follow @HuffPostStyle all night.

WATCH Obama's October 2011 state dinner for South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

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