What’s cookin’ at the White House?
Last updated 1-15-09 at 1:27 p.m.
House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford
White House photo by
Northwest Asian Weekly
Even the leader of the free world needs to take time out of his
day to eat a meal. So who will don a chef’s hat and feed the
Obama family for the next term?
It’s the same person who has been cooking for President George
Cristeta Comerford has been the White House executive
chef since 2005. She is the first woman to be selected for the post,
as well as the first of Filipino descent.
She also comes with a glowing recommendation. A
transition official stated that first lady Laura Bush has only nice
things to say about Comerford. Comerford creates “original
dishes with American flavor,” said Laura Bush’s office.
Michelle Obama stated, “Also the mom of a young daughter, I
appreciate our shared perspective on the importance of healthy eating
and healthy families.”
Comerford is not without her dissenters, though.
Ruth Reichl, editor of Gourmet magazine, offered to help Obama find
a new executive chef. She believes that the White House can use a
chef who cooks with more local and organic foods. Reichl cites that
this is important given the obesity crisis in the United States.
Comerford was born Cristeta Pasia in the Philippines
and grew up in Sampaloc, Manila. She completed her secondary education
at the Manila Science High School. She attended the University of
the Philippines, Diliman in Quezon City and majored in food technology.
However, she did not earn her degree because she left school to immigrate
to the United States at the age of 23.
Comerford’s first job was at the Sheraton Hotel near O‘Hare
International Airport in Chicago. She also worked at the Hyatt Regency
hotel. She then moved to Washington, D.C., and worked as a chef at
two restaurants. She additionally spent six months in Vienna as a
rotating chef. Executive Chef Walter Scheib III recruited Comerford
in 1995 to work in the White House while President Bill Clinton was
Scheib resigned as executive chef in February 2005.
First lady Laura Bush appointed Comerford on Aug. 14, 2005 to replace
She was reportedly appointed to this position due
to her handling of a large dinner that was held for Indian Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh.
Comerford lives in Columbia, Maryland, with her
husband, John, and their daughter, Danielle. (end)
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