The List May 2005

White House Chefs

More

Before he quit, in February, Walter Scheib III had been White House chef for a decade. Hired by Hillary Clinton to replace longtime chef Pierre Chambrin, Scheib left as he had arrived —amid controversy. Rumors swirled that he and Laura Bush had clashed over style. Drama is nothing new in the White House kitchen, which has gotten awfully hot over the years. Here is a sampling of chefs who have stirred the White House pot.

1. Franette McCulloch. In 2000, claiming that executive pastry chef Roland Mesnier punished her with menial tasks for refusing sex, this assistant pastry chef sued Mesnier and his boss, President Bill Clinton, for $1 million apiece. The suit was later dropped.

2. Sean Haddon. An assistant chef, Haddon claimed that his interracial marriage led to discrimination and denied him a promotion to sous chef in 1992. After he filed a formal complaint (which he lost), rumors circulated that he had threatened to poison the First Family. A Secret Service polygraph test exonerated him of wrongdoing.

3. Pierre Chambrin. Fired by the Clintons in 1994 for refusing to drop his fat-laden French menu for a healthier American one, Chambrin later claimed to have been let go because he was overweight and spoke with a thick French accent.

4. Henry Haller. Recruited by the Johnsons from New York's Sheraton East in 1966, this Swiss-trained chef served five presidents over twenty-one years. His most famous meal may have been President Nixon's last: one poached egg with corned-beef hash followed immediately by one letter of resignation.

5. Rene Verdon. Hired by the Kennedys to infuse White House dining with French elegance, Verdon, the first official White House chef, resigned in 1965 when President Johnson demanded that he cook Texas-ranch style.

Jump to comments
Presented by
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Is the Greatest Story Ever Told?

A panel of storytellers share their favorite tales, from the Bible to Charlotte's Web.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Health

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In