Not really. I explained to Iris last night that a new President has to hire a team, and the most important member of that team is the White House chef.
Now, by all accounts, Cristeta Comerford is doing a great job, and I would probably keep her on. But perhaps she is loyal to the outgoing administration. Then I would have a tough choice.
I would want to hire a chef who is comfortable with a variety of world cuisines. They should be able to cook from high end to hot dogs. Furthermore, in recognition of our nation’s relationship with Asia and my mouth’s relationship with Asian food, the new White House chef should be comfortable with Asian cooking (Comerford is, by the way; she’s Filipina). In the end, I’ve narrowed my search to three candidates.
James Peterson. Peterson is the bestselling author of a jillion cookbooks, including Cooking, Glorious French Food, and Splendid Soups. The guy can cook everything, plus he has real restaurant experience.
Andy Ricker. Chef-owner of Pok Pok in Portland, OR, Ricker is a frequent traveler to Asia and has the near-magical ability make Southeast Asian dishes that taste like they do on their home turf. He’s also an alumnus of Zefiro, the most popular Portland restaurant of the 90s, so he can do high-end, too.
Sophie and Eric Banh. This brother-and-sister team runs Monsoon in Seattle (and soon another Monsoon in Bellevue) and two locations of Baguette Box. They continually change their menus to take advantage of local ingredients. Their sandwiches are legendary; if we had to hold some kind of tedious economic summit, Baguette Box sandwiches would spur a breakthrough in negotiations. Plus, they’re from Seattle, so this would be a shout-out to the 98102. I’m not sure what Seattle would do without them, though. Peter Kuang from Green Leaf would have to expand his empire, quick.
So, in the end, I think I’m going to go with the Banhs. When I’m president, I want a drunken chicken sandwich for breakfast.