This is historical material “frozen in time”. The website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work.

Search form

Tonight at the White House State Dinner: Beyoncé and Rodrigo y Gabriela

Beyoncé and Rodrigo y Gabriela will perform in a tent on the South Lawn following the State Dinner with Mexico. Read about the artists, the Dinner, and the menu created by Guest Chef Rick Bayless.

State Dinner and Reception guests are in for a musical treat – Beyoncé and Rodrigo y Gabriela will perform in a tent on the South Lawn following the Dinner tonight.

Watch the Live Streams:

Read more about the artists, the Dinner, and the menu created by Guest Chef Rick Bayless:


Rodrigo y Gabriela: Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero met as teenagers in Mexico City, both dedicated heavy metal fans at the time. They combined their talents for a time in the metal group Tierra Acida, playing in some of the roughest clubs around Distrito Federal while working day jobs. Frustrated with their chances in the Americas, Sanchez and Quintero decided to try their luck in Europe. They traveled to Dublin, Ireland where a friend offered them a place to stay. Speaking no English, and with about a thousand dollars between them, they found that their offer of hospitality had vanished. The pair soon turned to busking on the streets of Dublin where they established many contacts and connections. Among their newfound friends was fellow busker Damien Rice, who asked them to accompany him on tour. They released their debut record in 2003 entitled Re-Foc, followed a year later by Live: Manchester and Dublin. They now continue to tour the world music circuit, compose, and record. Rodrigo y Gabriela have appeared on many national television shows, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman and the Today Show. Their recently sold out concert at Radio City Music Hall featured a guest performance by Robert Trujillo from Metallica.

Beyoncé: With a mesmerizing stage presence and visionary artistry, Beyoncé has earned her place in arts and culture globally. She has won over 100 awards including sixteen Grammys. This year she made Grammy history with six wins—the most by any female in a single year. She has starred in six highly successful films including Dreamgirls and Cadillac Records. She is a dedicated humanitarian through her work with Make A Wish, Feeding America and GEMS. With her family in 2005, she created the Survivor Foundation, a charitable entity with the motto, “Where There’s A Will, We Help Make A Way.” The foundation provides aid for the homeless and displaced, recreational and educational services for kids in need, job training and placement, and assistance for those suffering from AIDS. Recently she opened the Beyoncé Cosmetology Center at Phoenix House in Brooklyn, New York to help former addicts learn skills to meet their personal and professional goals. Beyoncé is a phenomenal entertainer who continues to dazzle on and off stage.


The United States and Mexico are linked by geographical, historical, familial, cultural, economic, and security ties. In recognition of these deep ties and the strong relationship President Obama has forged with Mexican President Felipe Calderón, President Obama and the First Lady will host President Calderón and Mrs. Margarita Zavala in the White House for a State Dinner.

Tonight’s State Dinner will be held in the East Room of the White House. Tonight’s State Dinner Performance will be held under a tent on the South Lawn of the White House.

The most recent State Dinner held at the White House was for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mrs. Gursharan Kaur of India hosted on November 24, 2009.

The first State Dinner for a foreign head of state was held by President and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant on December 12, 1874 for King David Kalakaua of Hawaii.

Since that first dinner, many traditions have been added to State and Official Visits – yet the common theme of forging friendships, exchanging knowledge and building bridges that last for years to come remains unchanged.


Menu Selection: Mrs. Obama worked with Guest Chef Rick Bayless and White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford to create a menu that reflects the best of American cuisine, continuing this White House’s commitment to serving fresh, sustainable and regional food, and honoring the culinary excellence and flavors that are present in Mexican cuisine. Herbs, radishes, and lettuces used in preparing tonight’s dinner were harvested from the White House Kitchen Garden. White House Executive Pastry Chef William Yosses and his team made desserts using White House honey in the Graham Cracker Crumble and Goat Cheese Ice Cream.

Guest Chef Rick Bayless: Chef Rick Bayless is best known for his highly rated public television series, Mexico – One Plate at a Time and from his six cookbooks. His side-by-side award-winning restaurants in Chicago were founded in 1987, the casual Frontera Grill and the 4-star Topolobampo. In 2007, Frontera Grill was named Outstanding Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation. His award-winning Frontera line of salsas, grilling sauces and organic chips can be found coast to coast. Rick Bayless has won James Beard Awards for Midwest Chef of the Year, National Chef of the Year and Humanitarian of the Year. Mexico – One Plate at a Time is currently in its seventh season on PBS and Rick’s latest book Mexican Everyday was nominated for a James Beard Award. Rick’s latest restaurant, XOCO, just opened and he was also recently crowned Bravo’s Top Chef Master.

Dinner Menu:
Jicama with Oranges, Grapefruit, and Pineapple
Citrus Vinaigrette
Ulises Valdez Chardonnay 2007 “Russian River”

Herb Green Ceviche of Hawaiian Opah
Sesame-Cilantro Cracker

Oregon Wagyu Beef in Oaxacan Black Mole
Black Bean Tamalon and Grilled Green Beans
Herrera Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 “Selección Rebecca”

Chocolate-Cajeta Tart
Toasted Homemade Marshmallows
Graham Cracker Crumble and Goat Cheese Ice Cream
Mumm Napa “Carlos Santana Brut” N/V