What the food is like at Trump's White House events

trump white house burgersPresident Donald Trump speaks behind a table of fast-food during an event in honor of the 2018 Division I FCS National Champions: The North Dakota State Bison in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC on March 4, 2019.MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

  • As his predecessors did, President Donald Trump conducts dinner-based diplomacy at the White House with foreign and American lawmakers alike.
  • The White House menu is different for each event and is designed to include nods to Trump's tastes and possibly the visiting guest of honor.
  • Trump's favorites include Diet Coke, steak, and fast food.
  • Visit Business Insider for more stories.

The White House is home to some of the most important food-based diplomatic events in the United States.

For each event, household staff works with the first couple to design a menu that includes both nods to Trump's tastes and possibly foods signature to the visiting guest of honor.

Based on what guests have been served in the past, take a look at what Trump's White House has on the menu.
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The most formal White House events are state dinners, because tradition requires a certain level of etiquette. Trump's first was hosting French President Emmanuel Macron in April 2018.

The most formal White House events are state dinners, because tradition requires a certain level of etiquette. Trump's first was hosting French President Emmanuel Macron in April 2018.

Many of the herbs and produce came from the White House gardens.

State dinners take weeks of planning, and each item on the menu is chosen for a particular reason, often taking into account the country the first couple is hosting and which ingredients are seasonal.

State dinners take weeks of planning, and each item on the menu is chosen for a particular reason, often taking into account the country the first couple is hosting and which ingredients are seasonal.

First lady Melania Trump and her staff organized the menu, which included:

First Course

Goat Cheese Gateau
Tomato Jam
Buttermilk Biscuit Crumbles
Young Variegated Lettuces

Main Course

Rack of Spring Lamb
Burnt Cipollini Soubise
Carolina Gold Rice Jambalaya

Dessert

Nectarine Tart
Crème Fraîche Ice Cream

Sometimes the food is more casual based on the event, like serving "traditional picnic fare" at the annual Congressional picnic on the White House lawn.

Sometimes the food is more casual based on the event, like serving "traditional picnic fare" at the annual Congressional picnic on the White House lawn.

The White House described the menu for the 2019 Congressional picnic as such:

"charred lemon chicken, grilled plank salmon, charcoal grilled rib eye steak, and Baja shrimp tacos. Other sides include house made kettle chips, fresh salad greens harvested by the National Park Service from the White House garden, and locally grown vegetables and fresh fruits from California, Georgia, and Washington State. Dessert includes White House Honey and a variety of homemade cookies, brownies, and pies topped with vanilla ice cream."

Other meals are extremely theme-based, like when the Trumps hosted the prime minister of Ireland a few days before St Patrick's Day.

Other meals are extremely theme-based, like when the Trumps hosted the prime minister of Ireland a few days before St Patrick's Day.

The buffet featured lamb chops with greens ...

... mini Shepherd's pies ...

... mini Shepherd's pies ...

... an impressive cheese plate ...

... an impressive cheese plate ...

... breaded sausages ...

... breaded sausages ...

... and a delectable array of chocolate sweets and Shamrock cookies.

... and a delectable array of chocolate sweets and Shamrock cookies.

For lunches, menus can be more informal, serving lighter options like salad and chicken.

For lunches, menus can be more informal, serving lighter options like salad and chicken.

For Trump's working lunch meeting with rapper Kanye West in October 2018, the appetizer was a Caprese salad with balsamic glaze and roasted chicken with fingerling potatoes and sautéed asparagus for the main course.

When Trump hosted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in March 2018, White House chefs made carrot soup, fish, and fig tart for lunch.

When Trump hosted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in March 2018, White House chefs made carrot soup, fish, and fig tart for lunch.

The White House described the menu in full: "Heirloom Carrot Bisque, Sumac-crusted Halibut with mint butter, roasted cauliflower and swiss chard, and Fig Tart with Sesame Ice Cream."

Crispy honey sesame beef was on the menu for a working dinner with top Democrats.

Crispy honey sesame beef was on the menu for a working dinner with top Democrats.

ABC News reported that sources said Chinese food took center stage when Trump hosted House minority leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer of New York in September 2017.

Ice cream is a favorite and versatile dessert option.

Ice cream is a favorite and versatile dessert option.

At a dinner Trump held the same month to welcome senators from both sides of the aisle to the White House months after he took office, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia told CBS he was stunned by the ice cream that was served after the entree of beef medallions.

"The ice cream was so perfectly prepared," Manchin told "CBS This Morning" of the dinner. "The ice cream came beside the dessert...and it looks like an egg. I wondered why I was getting an egg with my dessert. I cut into it. It was beautifully sculpted ice cream."

But desserts can be more decadent, too, and the pastry chefs have whipped up chocolate cream pie.

But desserts can be more decadent, too, and the pastry chefs have whipped up chocolate cream pie.

The waiters reportedly indulge Trump by adding two scoops of ice cream to his after-dinner dessert.

Diet Coke is Trump's go-to beverage.

Diet Coke is Trump's go-to beverage.

The drink is a widely known favorite of Trump's, and Time Magazine reports that waiters automatically pour it for the president to have with dinner, while the rest of his guests are given water.

Sometimes, they'll serve iced tea instead.

Sometimes, they'll serve iced tea instead.

The easy-going drink is available for the president's lunchtime meetings that take place over food.

American wines are the only ones allowed at the table.

American wines are the only ones allowed at the table.

If wine is served, it's going to be American. Former President John F. Kennedy banned champagne and non-American wines from being served at the White House, even after dinner.

Only American bubbly, like California sparkling wine, can fill the glasses.

Though the labels could be specifically chosen for international connections, as the dinner held for the Macrons reportedly included a Chardonnay from Oregon that was made from French grapes aged in French oak barrels alongside a Pinot Noir with the slogan "French soul, Oregon soil."

And "champagnes" must be sparkling wines.

And "champagnes" must be sparkling wines.

Champagne technically originates in the northwest region of France by the same name, so White House dinners feature American sparkling wines for a similar effect.

Trump famously served fast food to college athletes.

Trump famously served fast food to college athletes.

In 2019, Trump debuted a White House menu that aligned with his personal tastes when he had hundreds of hamburgers and sandwiches from Burger King, McDonald's, and Wendy's on hand in January, March, and April for championship-winning teams from Clemson, North Dakota State, and Baylor universities.

The event was definitely a first for the White House.

The event was definitely a first for the White House.

The arrangement was different than more formal dinners, as mountains of food were laid out buffet style and in the mansion's historic State Dining Room.

Even the french fries were presented in cups with the presidential seal on them.

Even the french fries were presented in cups with the presidential seal on them.

No matter the meal, every detail is given a signature White House spin.

Some meals can be religion- or holiday-specific, such as breaking the fast after Ramadan.

Some meals can be religion- or holiday-specific, such as breaking the fast after Ramadan.

Trump has hosted two iftar dinners, a traditional meal that gathers Muslim diplomats at the White House to mark the breaking of the daily fast of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The menu set for Trump's first year hosting the dinner included a pomegranate-glazed rack of lamb with vegetables, followed by an apricot tart.

Since there's always so much to do, many of the lunches, dinners, and even breakfasts are working meals.

Since there's always so much to do, many of the lunches, dinners, and even breakfasts are working meals.

Not all the food served in the White House is for a massive group. The president and first lady often get one-on-one time with visiting leaders, and can host them in one of the mansion's historical rooms for an intimate meal.

For more formal occasions, meals are served on luxurious china settings.

For more formal occasions, meals are served on luxurious china settings.

Whatever's on the menu wouldn't be served without a selection of china laid out for sit-down occasions that's carefully chosen by the first lady based on the event's meaning and guest of honor.

Almost every president in US history had their own set of custom china. Modern-day presidents have enough to seat around 300 guests at formal events like state dinners.

The Trumps have reportedly used some Reagan china for family meals, but they can also choose from other past presidents' for different events. Melania Trump chose Clinton china for the French state dinner.

No matter the meal, dining at the White House is always an event steeped in tradition, and it wouldn't be possible without the staff putting it all together.

No matter the meal, dining at the White House is always an event steeped in tradition, and it wouldn't be possible without the staff putting it all together.

Dozens of chefs and staff work tirelessly in the White House kitchens to make every meal memorable, and their contributions are worth celebrating, too.

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