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Old 07-02-2005, 04:46 PM
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"Jack Campin - bogus address" wrote in message
Posted by Earl Evleth to,

-- begin quote --
The last line says it all. The Bushes have a limited food imagination.
It is what I imagined.



"While it is an honour to serve the first family," he said, "it is
the same thing, night in and night out, over an extended period. And
it's time for me to be exploring all of my creative abilities and not
limiting myself."

AFTER cooking for two US presidents over 11 years, White House chef
Walter Scheib has been fired, he told The New York Times today, adding
that his ouster followed the appointment of a new social secretary to
serve the first family. "We've been trying to find a way to satisfy
the first lady's stylistic requirements," Scheib, 50, told the paper
in a telephone interview, "and it has been difficult. Basically I was
not successful in my attempt."

Scheib, who was hired 11 years ago by then first lady Hillary Clinton,
said he was asked to resign on Thursday, a few weeks after White House
social secretary Cathy Fenton was succeeded by Lea Berman, the wife of
a wealthy contributor to the Republican Party.

The change, he said, did not bode well from the start.

"Clearly with the new social secretary, there is a new set of eyes and
a new vision.... She is a very hands-on social secretary, very involved
with all aspects of food, flowers and decor. She clearly has a mandate,"
he said.

Scheib will stay on his job until at least the end of the month, the
newspaper said, adding that a search was under way for a new White
House chef.

While miffed at having been fired - "I hate to lose, because I am
super-competitive," Scheib said he was not worried about the future
and looked forward to a change in life.

"While it is an honour to serve the first family," he said, "it is
the same thing, night in and night out, over an extended period. And
it's time for me to be exploring all of my creative abilities and not
limiting myself."
-- end quote --

While it's been so long since Earl has regularly dined in the US (except for
his daughter's table and Disneyworld on his anuual visits) and his political
perspective is skewed beyond even the fringes of the US spectrum, I'd hardly
consider him an objective commentator on US or White House dining.

There are basically three different areas of "food service" at the White

The bottom rung of the culinary ladder is the "White House Mess" open to
privileged employees and selected guests. As with the House dining room,
the ambience and attraction are of place not food. Better than Horn &
Hardart once was, but nothing to rave about.

Then there's the family quarters, served mostly not by the "White House
Chef" but by Mess Stewards (in the new rate name) from the USNavy.
Outsiders are few, kin folks or some the rare non-kin overnight guests.
House specialties are of the "To order" genre and rumor has it that the
family menu runs to a high level of "comfort foods", many of them
traditional American or Southwestern/Tex-Mex, since the Prez gets more than
his fill of "composed" dishes and elaborate menus.

Then comes the WHC's part, the fancy dining, from state dinners to
receptions, drama, appearance and selection. Rumor, again hazy in origin,
has it that the social staff of the first term were in many cases directly
or indirectly personally connected to the "First Family" and less concerned
with gourmet repute than getting dinner served and finished on time, the
President being a tough master when it comes to time.

The Clintons had been even more notorious for their limited personal
culinary horizons, but came with a staff of more grandiose aspirations.

Now, in term 2, the Bush Presidency seems likely to fill some of the social
and scheduling slots with wealthy or connected Republicans used to high
style dining. I suspect the current WHC's departure has more to do with who
hired him originally than with his menus or culinary skills.

Direct info (not rumor)....

A "close personal friend" is a member of the President's local - Central
Texas - golfing foursome, and he and his wife - among my spouses closest
friends - have been to "Dinner" at the ranch. Hamburgers cooked outside,
all the traditional condiments, onion, lettuce and tomatoes, to add,
apparently a regular choice for dining "en famille" or whatever the term is.

I await some response as to the menu favorites of your current sovereign. I
can only hope that you have informants among the kitchen staff at Balmoral
or another of the water holes which she frequents. I suspect that hasa list
of "comfort foods" too...