« February 2009 Table of Contents
Editor's Note: Time for ... shrimp?
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
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.