A political post

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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

As for the White House pastry chef, no way are you going to get me to decide between Dana Cree and Neil Robertson. Forget it.

12 thoughts on “A political post

  1. matt wright

    Matt, you would make a great politician.. You already seem OK with screwing over Seattle for your own personal gain (taking away the Banh’s, for your own personal pleasure!).

    Mamster for next President. At least school dinners would undoubtably get sorted. And pork fat would get a government subsidy.

  2. dana

    At least Neil and I like each other well enough that you could bring both of us! And selfish me would love to have a pok pok hut set up somewhere on the whitehouse lawn.

  3. ian

    An excerpt from an interview with Obama:

    “For instance, who’s your favorite movie or TV president? You know who was a great movie president? Jeff Bridges in The Contender. That was a great movie president. He was charming and essentially an honorable person, but there was a rogue about him. The way he would order sandwiches — he was good at that.

    Is that one of the things you’re looking forward to? Confounding the White House kitchen staff with obscure sandwich requests? Absolutely. I want to test them. I want to see if I can get any sandwich I want.”

  4. Marisa

    Woo hoo! I love that my cousin Andy is such a culinary rock star that he made your Presidential chef list. (His food is amazing.)

  5. Susann

    I totally hear you when it comes to food as a breakthrough in negotiations. The world’s most perfect rye bread comes from Orwasher’s on E. 78th St in Manhattan, and the first time I tried it, I was convinced that I had found the answer to world peace.

  6. Kelly

    Oh, I absolutely vote for James Peterson. His cookbook “Vegetables” is one of my all time favorites. However, it is obvious that Obama likes his Chicago connections, so I think he should go with Rick Tramonto for chef and Gale Gand for the pastries.

  7. Kelly

    I think Bayless is kind of overrated. Too bad he’s one of Obama’s favorite chefs —I don’t think he should get the job! If not Tramonto, then maybe Bruce Sherman from North Pond Cafe. He cooks French-American by way of India and Southeast Asia.

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