Dinner with the Bidens: What’s cooking as U.S. president visits Canada

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Joe Biden is getting a coast-to-coast taste of Canada on his first official visit as U.S. president.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie will host a dinner Friday night in honour of the Bidens at the Ottawa Aviation Museum that will also feature a number of musical performances.

Before they get to the dinner, Biden will spend the day in meetings with Trudeau and senior Canadian officials, with his speech to Parliament at 2 p.m. Eastern followed by a joint media availability in the afternoon.

Their day is jam-packed, but the pair may still have some of the sugar energy going after some Canadian ice cream they indulged in Thursday night.

The owner of Moo Shu Ice Cream in Ottawa said the duo had its “Friend-chip Goals” for their family dinner Thursday night at Rideau Cottage. The ice cream was a toasted marshmallow and maple sugar flavour, spun with chocolate.

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First Lady Jill Biden and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau arrive to visit ‘Uninvited: Canadian Women Artists in the Modern Moment’ an art exhibit at the National Art Gallery (NAG) in Ottawa, on Friday, March 24, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Spencer Colby

Jill Biden and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau will spend Friday morning visiting the National Gallery of Canada and the Rideau Curling Club.

At dinner Friday, a mouth-watering, three-course meal will be served featuring ingredients from across the country.

The dinner includes yellowfin tuna from the East Coast, Alberta beef braised short rib, Quebec maple mousse cake and cabernet from an Ontario winery.

The meal is being prepared by Saskatoon chef Kenton Leier and the National Arts Centre catering team.

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Leier has previously cooked for celebrities, politicians and dignitaries, according to his bio.

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The guest list is not public, but past and present ambassadors, MPs, senators and Indigenous representatives are expected to attend.

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Here is the full menu being prepared for Friday night, as shared by Trudeau’s office with Global News.


Cedar salt and seaweed-crusted rare-seared East Coast yellowfin tuna

White bean hummus, cucumber, [pickled] radish and bitter greens

Flax seed cracker and lemon parsley emulsion

Main course

Alberta beef braised short rib

Butternut squash purée and Yukon gold potato Pavé

Wildflower honey-roasted carrots and fine green Beans

Pelée Island cabernet sauvignon jus

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Wild blueberry and Quebec maple mousse cake

Screech rum caramel and sweetgrass meringue

Fresh berries

Who is performing?

Food is not the only thing on the menu tonight, as number of performances from Canadian singers and bands are planned.

The reception will feature pop singer Tyler Shaw from Coquitlam, B.C., Inuit throat singers, a Métis dance group and Eagle River, an Algonquin drum group.

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Alan Doyle, Newfoundland musician and lead singer of folk rock band Great Big Sea, will also perform a song.

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After dinner, Montreal artist Charlotte Cardin will play two songs, one that is yet to released on her next album.

Who's invited?

The dinner will be attended by several prominent Canadians, as well as the “Two Michaels.”

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were freed from a Chinese prison in September 2021 after being held for more than 1,000 days in what was seen as retaliation for the arrest of a Chinese business woman in Canada at the request of the United States.

Kovrig and Spavor were freed after Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was released from house arrest in Vancouver, and allowed to return home to China after securing a deal to drop U.S. charges against her. They got a spontaneous round of standing applause in the House of Commons before Biden addressed Parliament Friday afternoon.

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Among politicians and the public service, notable guests include former prime ministers Jean Chretien and Joe Clark, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Bloc-Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, Green Party Co-Leader Elizabeth May and Chief NAFTA Negotiator Steve Verheul.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre was invited but will not attend.

Invited Canadians in the arts and culture sector include actors Eugene Levy and Eric McCormack, directors Sarah Polley and Ben Proudfoot, and musicians Alan Doyle and Gregory Charles.

Other notable guests include Olympian Diana Matheson, UNIFOR President Lana Payne, GM Canada CEO Marissa West, Knix CEO Joanna Griffiths and Moderna Canada CEO Patricia Gauthier.

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