Does President-elect Obama Need a Celebrity Chef in the White House?
While President-elect Obama has announced the appointment of his Chief of Staff in the person of Congressman Rham Emmanuel, he has yet to make his announcement for the new White House Executive Chef, a position that his wife and family would love to have much earlier than his other cabinet appointments.
Ronald Mesnier, a retired White House Chef of 25 years said: “Celebrity Chefs, in my book, are not chefs. They are entertainers”. Another former White House Chef, Walter Scheib thinks that the Obamas, if they so decide to have someone new, it won’t be a television personality or any of the celebrity names bandied about in food and political blogs”.
These two veteran White House Chefs believe that the White House kitchen is not a place for celebrity chefs, saying that the job is about selfless service, not star power. Scheib says, “None of these people have any idea what the job is about. They are temperamentally not suited for it. You have to be a person who has a real heart for service and it can’t be someone who needs to see themselves on camera”.
With these words from the veteran white house chefs, President-elect Obama and the First Lady are better off retaining the concurrent chef Cristeta Comerford, a Filipino-American who was chosen by First Lady Laura Bush as White House Executive Chef in August 2005. After all, Ms Comerford is very much qualified for the job.
The concurrent White House Chef is a naturalized American citizen and a graduate of the University of the Philippines where she received her bachelor’s degree in food technology. She has been working at the White House kitchen since 1995 as Assistant Chef. Prior to her present job, she worked as Chef with the Westin Hotel and The Colonnade of ANA hotel chain, both in Washington D.C.
With regards to Obama’s preference for food, he may just be comfortable with an Asian Chef at the White House. After all, he has been enjoying Asian cuisine during his growing up years in Indonesia where he had his early education. Filipino and Indonesian cuisine are basically the same
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