Jason Atherton took to the pass at Downing Street to produce lunch for two of the most powerful offices in the world earlier today (4 June), feeding both President Trump and prime minister Theresa May.
The Michelin-starred chef served the two world leaders following trade talks in the prime minister’s residence. Attendees of the Downing Street meeting, which included senior government figures from both the US and UK, dined on a starter of Paignton Harbour crab, turnip and chilled crab bisque, followed by Lake District beef fillet with aubergine and roasted garlic.
Atherton told The Caterer: “I’ve cooked for David Cameron in the past when he was prime minister – then Theresa May’s office asked me if I would cook for President Trump, too. It’s rare that a boy from Skegness gets to cook for an American president and a British prime minister. They kindly donated a small amount to one of our chosen charities and it was a really special day.
“President Trump shook my hand and congratulated us on being the only UK-based restaurant group with a Michelin-starred restaurant in New York. It was a real privilege.”
Trump’s approach to cuisine has regularly received scrutiny – particularly his penchant for fast food. The US figurehead has been known to regularly eat from KFC and McDonald’s, with senior aides claiming he would eat two Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fish sandwiches and a small chocolate milkshake in one sitting. It is also reported that he has had a button installed on his desk to call staff to deliver cans of Diet Coke – occasionally drinking up to 12 a day.
In the notorious book on the early days of his administration, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, it was alleged that the president’s penchant for fast food came from a fear of being poisoned, with author Michael Wolff noting that McDonald’s was the safest option as “nobody knew he was coming and the food was safely premade”.
During Trump’s visit last year, Downing Street is believed to have been prompted to produce “unthreatening dishes, such as beef, and hearty puddings of ice-cream or lemon meringue pie”, according to reports from The Guardian.
Today’s lunch follows the president’s state banquet the previous evening, a white-tie event where he sat alongside the queen in Buckingham Palace with political and royal dignitaries from both sides of the Atlantic. The dishes, prepared by royal chef Mark Flangan and his brigade, included halibut with watercress mousse, asparagus spears and chervil sauce; saddle of new season Windsor lamb with herb stuffing, spring vegetables and port sauce; and strawberry sable with verbena cream.
Wines at the banquet included Windsor Great Park 2014, Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru “Morgeot” 2014, Domaine Duc de Magenta, Monopole Clos de la Chapelle Louis Jadot, Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1990, 1er Cru Classe Pauillac and Hambledon Classic Cuvée Rose NV.
Despite the prestige of the wines on offer, the pairings will have had little impact on the president, who is teetotal.