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Last Updated: Friday, 4 February, 2005, 22:25 GMT
White House seeks new head chef
File photograph of two hamburgers and fries
From State Dinners to TV dinners, the White House chef oversees it all
Top chefs across the US are frantically dusting off their CVs - the White House has announced it is looking for a new executive chef.

The coveted post has been held for 11 years by Walter Scheib, who is packing up his white toque to pursue "other opportunities".

Mr Scheib was hired by former First Lady Hillary Clinton from a resort in West Virginia popular with politicians.

He is known for a contemporary style which emphasises regional produce.

The office of the First Lady, Laura Bush, will be overseeing the appointment of his successor.

However, spokeswoman Rachel Sunbarger told the BBC News website that the position would not be advertised.

Asked how candidates would be selected and whether foreign chefs would be considered, she said: "I cannot comment on the selection process."


As executive chef at the White House, Mr Scheib's duties include preparing all menus and meals for the First Family and their private entertaining, as well as office and State Dinners.

Grilled scallops with herbed polenta with corn and pancetta sauce
Smoked ribeye steak with pinto bean chipotle ragout
Whipped sweet potatoes and fall vegetables
Mache, avocado and tomato salad with lemon-thyme dressing
Cherry savarin with honey-vanilla ice-cream
In an online chat on the White House website, he said he cooked casual food such as hamburgers, french fries and barbecues for Mr and Mrs Bush.

All food - bar condiments, oils and vinegars - are made from scratch. US produce is used whenever possible.

Planning for a State Dinner takes two months, he said, starting with a tasting dinner for the First Lady, after which the menu is revised and a second tasting may or may not be held.

A list of guests' individual and dietary food preferences are sent to the kitchen in advance.

"Typically, we try to highlight the best and most interesting in American food, wine and entertaining," he said.

"American cuisine consists of influences from all countries, so we try to feature flavour combinations or cooking techniques from the guest country as part of the State Dinner menu," he added.

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