Skip to comments.Bush 'no gourmet' (G.W. prefers burgers to salads)
Posted on 05/09/2006 7:45:30 AM PDT by SoFloFreeper
Washington - It used to be that people who sought to share in the fare of the White House had to become large political donors and court the favour of the president.
But no longer. A former White House chef is now whipping up meals for paying customers like the ones he served the Bushes and Clintons, using exclusive White House recipes. The price is much less than normal donors shell out, and politics needn't be part of the transaction, although anecdotes from the centre of power are served with every course.
Walter Scheib, 52, who cooked at the White House for 11 years under the Clintons and the Bushes, charges $250 to $300 per head - plus the cost of food and wine - for the honour of making and serving the White House fare and spreading White House lore outside the famous presidential home.
"It's not cheap," Scheib admits. But he says he serves a "well-educated, food-aware clientele" and everything is unique. "I don't want it to be OK, but fabulous," Scheib says.
Won't spill the beans
Scheib loves to dish out anecdotes from the White House, but it's all above board and in good humour. No nasty words about the habits of the presidential family cross his lips. He has rejected hundreds of offers that would have required him to spill the beans about the presidential families.
"It's like a bond of honour," he said. "You know things but you don't talk about them."
But he does allow himself a chance to poke some fun. Pulling down one corner of his mouth to imitate the way President George W Bush speaks, Scheib says, "Cookie, what's cooking?" sounding a lot like the most powerful man in the world. "Cookie" - a common pet name for a cook - is what Bush liked to call Scheib, who said Bush would walk through the kitchen sweating after a midday workout and peek into the pots.
It's well known that Bush is not exactly a gourmet. He generally likes a hearty meal, like his predecessor, Bill Clinton, who has been singing the praises of vegetables and salads only since his post- presidential heart bypass operation.
By contrast, Laura Bush is avidly organic, Scheib said, recalling the times when Bush would come into the kitchen and see the fresh food being enjoyed by Laura and her friends, and turn away saying it wasn't for him.
Nachos instead of salmon
"Burger or sandwich, please," is what he would say. When Laura was away travelling, an order quickly arrived from the inner sanctums of the White House to change the menu.
"Then there was chili and nachos instead of salmon on arugula," said Scheib with a knowing smirk.
Scheib recounts this and other tales at his culinary White House evenings, which are typically arranged in hotels for large groups, or in a client's kitchen. He has cooked, for example, for a society of bankers and for other board of director luncheons in Washington, often when someone wants to impress friends who have gourmet tastes and a yen to impress others with them.
Another group of clients included three sisters in Rhode Island who wanted a real presidential chef to cook for their mother as a present for her 80th birthday.
As the food is being served, Scheib starts recounting the occasions for which a particular dish was created, and people feel close to the power of the president and his numerous illustrious guests, Scheib says.
First female chef
Scheib served buffalo steaks to the president of Mexico, for example, and a raspberry dessert that became Chelsea Clinton's favourite.
Scheib also doesn't waste any time talking about the abrupt end of his career at the White House early last year. Rumour had it that there were too many scallops on the menu for Laura Bush's tastes. That's all nonsense, says Scheib. There was never a request to take scallops off the menu. If there had been, he would have done so immediately.
Laura Bush just wanted to put her own touches on food served at the White House. Scheib actually was more Hillary Clinton's cook because she brought him to the White House in 1994.
Laura Bush decided to hire Cristeta Comerford, the first female White House chef and an assistant to Scheib for many years.
"I take it as a compliment because I recommended Cristeta," said Scheib. - Sapa-dpa
I'm sure that will change...
Because when I hear "gourmet". I think "salad"
""Then there was chili and nachos instead of salmon on arugula," said Scheib with a knowing smirk. "
I automatically dislike anyone who smirks.
As soon as I saw how much he liked Mexican food I thought "Here they come..."
I prefer burgers to salads, too, except I weigh a lot more than the President. I keep forgetting the "and he works out" part...
It's no surprise he wants NACHOS put on the menu. Must remind him of his best friends, the Mexicans.
>"Then there was chili and nachos instead of salmon on arugula," said Scheib with a knowing smirk.
Where your palate is, there your heart is also.
Furthermore, what can you EXPECT, I ASK you, of a president who is known to believe in God and eats Beef? He actually prefers it to aragula! I mean, no WONDER we're at war and everybody hates us!
(Psst: How'd I do? Was I convincing?)
" A salad isn't food, a salad is what food eats."
A great salad goes well with the perfect bacon cheeseburger. And a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale completes the trio.
In Before the Bush Bash!
Pray for W and Our Freedom Fighters
Another one of those silly articles that tries to portray Bush as "out of touch" when in fact he's in tune with ordinary Americans. Waaa, why can't Bush eat foie gras and caviar?
Bush and Clinton both enjoy hamburgers. The difference between them? Bush exercises a lot and stays impressively fit, so a few burgers now and then dont threaten his health. With Clinton, its a whole different story.
That's because he's a man and not a rabbit.
I believe this former White House chef will be on Iron Chef America sometime this season on Food TV.
So he's the one who daily threw the freshly slaughtered animal carcasses and entrails into her trough?
I think he was briefly pictured and quoted over the weekend. It would be a great idea for him to be on Iron Chef America. I think he could have a good chance : )
As for the President's tastes, they run to mine. I like a salad, but just as an appetizer. I want medium rare beef for the entree!
$250 to $300? Thanks...but, no thanks.
It only took 7 posts for a border comment...
But it makes snarky fun of him because he is no "gourmet". They can't seem to help themselves. If he did like such food, they would portray him as a rich elitist out of touch with the common man.
"No nasty words about the habits of the presidential family cross his lips."
Then why mention a sweating Bush peeking into the pots in the kitchen? I would rather have a sweating GWB in my kitchen than blubbery Billy Jeff, yuck!!!!
I'm with W; I'd rather have a burger than a salad, any day of the week.
Can you imagine these people seething every time they pass a Mexican restaurant, or see some Mexican beer on the shelf at the store? LOL
Taco Bell must drive them crazy...especially that little dog...lol
< Is that a "Big Kahuna" burger? >
Are you sure it's not a "Cheese Royale?
We must repel the imperialist Corona-bearing invaders.
That IS a tasty burger!
I disagree. I read the article as being about the service this man does - and the fact that the chef has enough class to offer only good-taste in his stories to go along with good taste in his food.
I find the story about Laura traveling and Dubya asking for texican foods in place of the regular menu funny and endearing. How many married men eat differently when the wife is away than what they eat when she's at home? I know I do - when I can!! ;-P
It is a silly article, but I found it entertaining (and not demeaning to the President).
Just my $.02...
there was no underlying meanness
I went to my friends one night and he and his wife actually served a grilled salad. Does that meet with your approval?
Darn! I always forget that part. Okay, just add this:
"And besides, Dubya is just a big doodyhead!"
(hitching up gun belt) There, THAT oughta settle him!
Give it time!!
Put my salad on my burger. Lettuce, tomato onion, jalapeno,with Mayo. A slice or two of bacon to go with it.