All the Presidents' Pastries: Twenty-Five Years in the White House

Overview

This extraordinary success-story-told by the hero himself-of a young French pastry chef who climbed his way to the top, embodies the great American dream. After working at the Savoy in London, the George V in Paris, the Princess in Bermuda, and the Homestead in Virginia, Roland Mesnier took on the job of a lifetime as pastry chef to the White House. He provides behind-the-scenes insight into the characters, tastes, and obsessions of the five presidents and first ladies he served during his 25 years in Washington....

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Overview

This extraordinary success-story-told by the hero himself-of a young French pastry chef who climbed his way to the top, embodies the great American dream. After working at the Savoy in London, the George V in Paris, the Princess in Bermuda, and the Homestead in Virginia, Roland Mesnier took on the job of a lifetime as pastry chef to the White House. He provides behind-the-scenes insight into the characters, tastes, and obsessions of the five presidents and first ladies he served during his 25 years in Washington. Having witnessed major world events from the hub of the world's superpower, Mesnier has unique perspective on both crises and celebrations. He recounts stories such as Carter's incessant battle for the return of American hostages in Tehran, the aftermath of the attempt to assassinate Reagan, Bush senior's doubts after the war in Kuwait, and the shock of September 11. He uncovers intimate details such as Mrs. Reagan's bad moods and Prince Charles's embarrassment at not knowing how to use a tea bag. Fiercely loyal to each of the first families, Mesnier's bipartisan message is positive and inspirational. Twelve easy-to-follow recipes include the favorite desserts of presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Mesnier (Dessert University) takes us through his early days of climbing the pastry ladder, an adventure that eventually landed him in the White House kitchen. Readers will gain insights into the world of cooking and food preparation in some of the world's finest restaurants. Reflecting on his years of service in the White House (beginning with the Carter administration through the current Bush administration), Mesnier includes observations not only of the eating habits of our First Families but also of what it's like to live in presidential quarters and how the dynamics of each family differ. Included are recipes for some of the favorite desserts mentioned (carrot cake for Bill Clinton; pecan bourbon pie for the Carters; rhubarb parfait for the G.W. Bushes). Mesnier's specialties—spun sugar desserts and petits fours—come to life through his descriptions. This is not a tell-all book but a rather gentle regaling of the author's unique experiences with these special people. An entertaining, insightful, and informative slice of American life; recommended for public libraries.
—Elizabeth Rogers

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9782080305596
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Publication date: 2/13/2007
  • Edition description: Translatio
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.27 (w) x 9.35 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Roland Mesnier, a Frenchman and naturalized American, has experienced the highest echelons of power firsthand. Born into a working-class family in France and one of nine children, Mesnier is a self-made man par excellence. Christian Malard, who co-wrote the book, is a journalist for France Télévision and an expert on international relations.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A true memoir

    I bought the book under the impression it was a cookbook and instead found myself reading a fascinating story. Chef Mesnier wrote of his beginning as a pastry chef and the determination it took for him to rise to his position as pastry chef at the White House for 25 years. I found it a book where one learns not only about determination but how to find a passion and follow that passion by always learning and honing a true skill. He had his dream and followed it through. Chef does include favorite presidential recipes that are easy to follow. I recommend it highly. Do not be put off by the four stars. The story more than makes up for it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2011

    I couldn't put it down

    Roland's life story is amazing, and one of determination. His stories are fascinating! If you like food, food history, learning from a consummate professional, and diplomatic personalities - then this is a book for you. I really couldn't put it down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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