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White House Chef: Eleven Years, Two Presidents, One Kitchen
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White House Chef: Eleven Years, Two Presidents, One Kitchen

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  150 ratings  ·  43 reviews
"An engaging book about life at the Executive Mansion. . . . Hillary Clinton had charged this fiercely competitive, meticulously organized chef with bringing 'what's best about American food, wine, and entertaining to the White House.' His sophisticated contemporary food was generally considered some of the best ever served there."
--Marian Burros, New York TimesWhite House
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Hardcover, 336 pages
Published December 29th 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 260)
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Kristin
Thank you, President Bush, for having the palate of a three year-old.
Michelle
I liked the inside look at the white house through unexpected eyes. The logistics of preparing food for so many people at one time is overwhelming, add to that the need to serve it outside at times, glad it's not my job. I was surprised that he would remain through 2 different administrations. I assumed that each new president would bring in their own domestic staff. I would love to have my own personal chef to make me exotic meals even for lunch and keep track of calories etc. for me. It was ea ...more
Michelle Smart
Oct 11, 2007 Michelle Smart rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: cooking enthusiasts
This book was full of inside stories of White House staff life. It was told from the foodies' perspective, naturally, and I ate it up. :)
Alina
Feb 10, 2008 Alina rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: foodies
I enjoyed the content of this book -- seeing the White House from a different perspective, getting to know the First Families' food tastes, learning more about cuisine and picking up new recipes, etc -- but I must say the writing was quite dry at times. The anecdotes were short and seemingly out of place, in the midst of almost list-like writing of what happened and what dinner was next.
I did enjoy the difference in writing style between his descriptions of cooking for the Clintons v cooking for
...more
Sarah
I love politics and I love cooking -- combine the two and I'm a happy reader! The book describes in detail life in the White House kitchen during the Clinton's two terms and W's first term. Favorite White House and first family recipes are intermixed with fun stories about what goes on behind the scenes in the big house. (President Clinton sneaking Porterhouse steaks and nachos while Hillary wasn't looking...President Bush's love affair with cheese sandwiches made with Kraft singles and white br ...more
Marianne Fanning
I enjoyed this book - the recipes were over the top and very few "normal" people would attempt to make these. The ingredients alone are insane.

The book was incredibly telling on many levels. It is very apparent that the writer preferred the Clinton's - they threw lavish parties - increased the size of the outings to a ridiculous level. George Bush would host a state dinner which would include 125 people ... Hilary Clinton would host the same type of dinner and invite thousands. The Bush Adminis
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Carrie
All you foodies, beware! This book offers a very practical approach to revealing the inside secrets of the first family's dining habits, from teaching Chelsea Clinton to cook vegetarian meals at college to ordering custom-built, military-style kitchen trucks to serve picnics on the White House lawn. It includes some coverage of the decision-making power of Daniel Shanks, the White House Wine Cellar manager (who happens to be a big fan of Ancien Wines!). History, recipes, and personal anecdote al ...more
Brooke
Loved this little peek into the life of a Chef at the White House. Amazing to read all they did and do and yet their main responsibility is serving the family which included 3 many days but thousands on many occasions too. Quite astonishing to see how the Clintons revamped the White House kitchen and how things changed again with the Bush Family(not surprising but intriguing). I can only imagine what the O'Bama Chef is doing these days, I hope he/she writes a book about it too some day. This Che ...more
Emjay
What a talent and expertise to be able to feed two very different presidents, their families, staff and thousands of guests! There's neither political observations ('not my business') nor dirt ('one does not violate the trust of a former employer'). This is a fascinating look at the inside workings of the White House kitchen & the families that headed the House in the 1990s & 2000s. Chef Scheib has respect for the Bushes but his heart belongs to the Clintons. &, yes, lots of good rec ...more
Erino
I'm giving this 3.5 stars mostly due to the interesting trivia I learned about the day-to-day workings of the White House and political leaders as well as the numerous artifacts included, like Hillary Clinton's lunch menu. Still, I found the writing to be poor at times and the chef co-author was not likable. I also wanted stronger closure, like hearing about what the author did when he left the White House (in addition to writing this) and what he learned from his time there. Instead the book st ...more
Katie Boston
Chef Walter Scheib recently made an appearance at the resort where I work, and I couldn't resist buying a copy and getting it autographed! This book is very interesting to me, as someone who works 'behind the scenes' in the hospitality industry. We host large events, but nothing on this scale. The stories are amazing!
I also bought a copy for my father, who is a retired Colonel and loves to cook. I haven't tried any recipes yet but I love reading about the White House events.
Kristen
This is an interesting look inside the kitchen of the White House. The difference between even the eating styles of the Clinton's and Bush's seemed to be indicative of their overall styles (but who am I to talk... I'm sure my taste impresses no one).

There are lots of recipes that are supposedly made a little easier, but still more complicated than anything I make. It is still interesting for the view of how things work at the White House.
Jody Shee
Walter Scheib was the White House chef from 1994 to 2005, serving the Clintons and Bush's. His life in that position is fascinating all by itself, but add to it the insight you get from learning more about the personal lives of the First Families, and it's that much better. Throughout, he includes recipes, which for me, weren't necessary, though others might look at it as a value-added.
Denise
Loved the political inside story, especially the tone set by each of the first families (the Bush family versus the Clintons). Made the Clinton's onion rings, Chelsea's chocolate chip cookies & a pear and chicken salad that was really, really good. Hmmm......wonder if Hillary returns to the White House if she will resurrect her relationship with him as the White House chef?
Journeywoman
One of the best memoirs I have ever read.

This was a fascinating look at the Clinton and Bush administrations from the kitchen. I loved learning about this side of them. It made me like the Clinton's more and find something redeemable in the Bush's. (Which I had been having problems with.)

I look forward to trying the recipes and highly reccomend the book.
Anita Byler
Mostly, I liked this book.
I loved reading the recipes mixed in throughout the book. It took me awhile to get to like the author, for some reason.
Dara
I didn't read this for the recipes (which were beyond my skill!) I love stories about the support people (ushers, cooks, florists) at the White House. The people who often serve several presidents. They have such an interesting perspective. I loved all the behind the scenes details of state dinners and what Sept. 11 was like for the White House employees.
Becky
I enjoyed this book because it was interesting in parts. Overall, the author came across as somewhat whiny by the end. As much as he loved the Clintons, he had to know that his experience with the Bushes would be different. I am amazed he made it all the way through George W.'s first term since he was a much more boring eater than Hillary.
Stephanie
Some interesting anecdotes and recipes; you can tell the author really loved the Clintons and Hillary's approach to food. (And was somewhat less impressed with George W. Bush and his desire for peanut butter and honey sandwiches with chips on the side, heh.)

I was reading this book the night the Penguins won the Stanley Cup!
Rachel Rogers
Another book about cooking and another about cooking in the White House. Hmm. Not sure what that says about me. Interesting, intimate look at the people who live in the White House and how things work there. Gave me increased respect for the Clintons and diminshed (if that's possible) my feelings for the Bushes.
Cathy
I found it very interesting to hear about the behind the scenes at the White House via the Kitchens. Walter wrote from a personal experience in dealing with the good and bad of his White House years in a down to earth manner. I am excited to try some of his recipes for my own entertaining.
Heidi
A fascinating look inside the White House kitchen during the Clinton and G.W. Bush years, from how meals were planned and executed to details on various parties and state dinners held during this period. The story is interspersed with actual recipes used in the White House.
Mickey
The "West Wing" of cookbooks, the mediocre writing is barely noticeable between eye-opening anecdotes, tempting recipes, and interesting sidebars. The comparison between the Clinton years and the Bush years makes for even more interesting food for thought. (Cookbooks; 400+)
Linda
After meeting the chef at the Celebrity Chef Tour in Eggleston, I thoroughly enjoyed reading these excepts that give an informative and humorous look to the white house happenings. The recipes are very interesting and I look forward to testing some in our kitchen.
Elaine
This is a great book because the chef's career in the White House spans several presidencies. It is interesting to learn about the culinary likes and dislikes between the different presidents and their families and to read about the chef's day to day challenges.
Effie
This was a fun look at the White House chef for the Clintons' last seven years of office and the Bushs' first term. More goes into cooking for the First Family and all of those events than I would have thought about. And some great recipes, to boot.
Jo
Interesting perspective on the Clinton & Bush White Houses (most of Clinton years & Bush's first term). Plus recipes. Would probably rate higher if I could eat more of the recipes (gastroparesis => limited diet). Lots of recipes.
Minnow
This book doesn't offer the most luxurious prose or all the sordid details you'd like but it's pretty entertaining to learn what Bush has for lunch (grilled cheese sandwiches and hamburgers, mainly) or that he disdains all green food.
Craig Jorgensen
Interesting look into what goes on in the white house kitchen. Lots of recipes if you are into that kind of thing. And... just in case you care, the Clintons had much more refined palates than the Bushes.
Deni Johansson
I love reading about life in the White House, and this was esp interesting, telling about life as Chef in the kitchen under the Clintons and Bushes, two totally different families. Good Read!
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