Marian Burros has a nice scoop today for the New York Times, reporting that “Sam Kass, a private chef for the Obamas while they were living in Chicago, is now working in the White House.” This news comes just a few weeks after the First Family opted to retain Cristeta Comerford as White House chef.
Burros points out that Kass’ appointment not only signals good news for the local/sustainable movement, but also, believe it or not, for Comerford herself. Reports Burros:
Walter Scheib, former White House chef for the Clintons and Bushes, said the decision to bring Mr. Kass to the White House to fill an open slot is “a master stroke.” It’s a tremendous resource for Cris, he said, a reference to Ms. Cristeta Comerford, the executive chef who became the first woman in that job when she was appointed in 2005.
“This will make her job much easier because she will understand better and faster what they like,” he said. “She doesn’t have to spend months reading the tea leaves.”
Other administrations have found ways to have their favorite foods in the White House. Nancy Reagan preferred the cooking of one of the White House chefs, Frank Ruta, and plucked him from the kitchen to cook in the family quarters. Mr. Ruta now owns Palena in Washington.
The Johnsons brought their family cook of 21 years with them from Texas. The cook, Zephyr Wright, made the southern food the Johnsons preferred and was famous for her tapioca pudding, one of Johnson’s favorites.
I don’t know, this strikes me as an extremely shred move on the Obamas’ part: They won’t carrying the stain of being the ones to fire the first ever female White House chef, but they also get to have their old personal chef right there in the White House, too.