Fil-Am chef seen to keep White House job
Filipino American, who are famous, have made significant contributions to the American culture, politics, and society.
Filipina-American Cristeta Comerford became the first woman executive chef
at the White House, six months after U.S. First Lady Laura Bush reportedly
forced out the last organizer of President George W. Bush's state dinners.
The First Lady announced her choice of replacement in a White House
"I am delighted that Cris Comerford has accepted the position of White House executive chef," "Her passion for cooking can be tasted in every bite of her delicious creations." Mrs. Bush said. (article date: Pilipino Reporter/August 25, 2005)
The head chef earns $80,000- $100,000 a year creating menus for state dinners, holiday functions, receptions and official luncheons hosted by the president and first lady. Trained in French classical techniques and specializing in ethnic and American cuisine, Ms. Comerford has worked as an Assistant Chef in the White House kitchen since 1995. She has helped develop inventive menus that showcased American foods and wines for special White House events including the State Dinner in honor of Her Excellency, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Philippines; the Official Dinner in honor of His Excellency, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of the Republic of India; and a social dinner in celebration of William Shakespeare’s birthday.
CONCORD, New Hampshire (AP) - As tempting as it may be to see the Obama family's choice of a new chef at the White House as a competition among celebrity chefs, former White House chefs say the job is about selfless service, not star power.
Walter Scheib, White House executive chef for Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, believes there's a 90-percent chance the new administration will stick with the current chef, Cristeta Comerford, a Filipino-American.
And if the Obamas do hire someone new, it won't be a television personality or any of the celebrity names bandied about on food and political blogs, he says.
"None of these people have any idea what the job is about," Scheib says. "And they're temperamentally not suited for it. You have to be a person who has a real heart of service, and it can't be someone who needs to see themselves on camera."
Roland Mesnier, who retired in 2004 after 25 years as the White House's executive pastry chef, will never recommend a TV chef for the first family.
Celebrity chefs are entertainers
"Celebrity chefs, in my book, are not chefs. They're entertainers," Mesnier says. "All these people on TV? Forget it."
Comerford was a food technology major from the University of the Philippines.
A naturalized US citizen, she was born Cristeta Gomez Pasia in 1962 to Honesto, an assistant principal in a public elementary school in Manila, and Erlinda, a homemaker.
First female executive chef
Comerford studied at the Padre Gomez Elementary School in Sta. Cruz, Manila, and finished her secondary education at Manila Science High School.
In 2005, under the administration of President George W. Bush, she became the first female executive chef at the White House.
Ms. Comerford received her bachelor’s degree in Food Technology from the University of the Philippines and gained culinary experience serving as Chef Tournant at Le Ciel in Vienna, Austria; Chef at Le Grande Bistro at The Westin Hotel in Washington, D.C.; and Chef at The Colonnade at the ANA Hotel in Washington, D.C., where she implemented the “Culinary Arts Gallery” which showcased the best of American fine cuisine.