First woman hired as White House executive chef
WASHINGTON – After a six-month search, First Lady Laura Bush announced Sunday that the new head chef at the White House will be Cristeta Comerford – the first woman to take the top spot in the executive kitchen.Comerford has been an assistant chef at the White House for 10 years, working under former executive chef Walter Scheib III, who resigned in February.Mrs. Bush has been trying out applicants for the job in recent months, asking them to prepare test meals at special functions and private meals at the residence.Comerford developed the menu for last month’s honorary dinner for Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The 134 dinner guests dined on chilled asparagus soup and lemon creme; pan-roasted halibut, ginger-carrot butter, basmati rice with pistachio nuts and currants and herbed summer vegetables; and salad of Bibb lettuces and citrus vinaigrette.”I am delighted that Cris Comerford has accepted the position of White House Executive Chef,” Mrs. Bush said in a statement. “Her passion for cooking can be tasted in every bite of her delicious creations.”Comerford has a bachelor’s degree in Food Technology from the University of the Philippines. She has worked at Le Ciel in Vienna, Austria and at restaurants in two Washington hotels – the Westin and the ANA.While being executive chef at the White House has its share of prestige, the job also can be grueling. As many as 2,000 guests per month are fed there, and Mrs. Bush has signaled her intent to do more entertaining than in the first term, when the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks curtailed festivities.The head chef is responsible for designing and executing menus for state dinners, social events, holiday functions, receptions and official luncheons hosted by the president and first lady.Hillary Clinton hired Scheib, a California native and graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, in April 1994 because she wanted to feature American cuisine after years of French cooking ushered in by Jacqueline Kennedy.Mrs. Bush’s statement said Comerford has been trained in French classical techniques and specializes in ethnic and American cuisine and has experience working with chefs in San Francisco and the California wine country.—On the Net:http://www.whitehouse.govVail, Colorado
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