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Editor's Note: Time for ... shrimp?

Property of SeaFood Business magazine
By Fiona Robinson, Editor in Chief
February 01, 2009

President Barack Obama's inauguration was all the buzz as this issue went to press in mid-January. Watching hordes of Americans flocking to Capitol Hill was amazing and uplifting. Once the swearing-in ceremony was over, my thoughts quickly turned to food (it was lunch time, after all).

During all the pre-inauguration excitement, what else would food writers have to blog about other than who would serve the first family at the White House? Foodies had debated for months who the president-elect and first lady should appoint as White House chef. Celebrity chef Alice Waters even wrote an open letter to Obama, noting that his eating habits could set a healthy trend for the rest of the country. Gourmet magazine's Ruth Reichl and restaurateur Danny Meyer also opined about the White House chef and what he/she should serve. All of the implications were that the cuisine prepared at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. during the George W. Bush years was not locally sourced or organic, but the critics were wrong.

The White House keeps the first family - and its cravings - private. Unlike the Web sites of the many self-proclaimed celebrity chefs across the nation, you won't find any chef biographies referenced on the White House Web site. But other sources say the White House has procured local foods, including organic foods, for years.

Gourmands seemed almost dismayed in early January, when the Obama transition team announced that White House Executive Chef Cristeta "Cris" Comerford would remain in the position as President Obama's chef. Comerford worked as an assistant chef at the White house from 1995 to 2005, and was appointed executive chef by first lady Laura Bush in 2005. Comerford, 46, was born in Manila, 
the Philippines, and was the first woman and the first minority to hold the White House executive 
chef position.

Considering the first family's privacy comes first for all White House staffers, it's unlikely the general population will soon find out whether the Obamas like seafood beyond Michelle's shrimp with linguini. Maybe Comerford will take the opportunity to add the family's shrimp dish to the regular menu? I hear shrimp prices are good now.



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