National: Is There Change On The Menu?

It’s been two days since Barack Obama won the election, and he is already in the process of populating his cabinet and White House staff. So far, only Rahm Emanuel has been announced as a definite staff member, but the next few weeks are bound to be filled with news of Obama’s latest picks. Political picks are exciting, but what of the domestic side of things?

The White House Executive Chef typically weathers changes in administrations, but it’s always possible that the Obamas will decide that they want someone else in charge of the kitchen. After all, Walter Scheib presided over the kitchen from 1994-2005, but was asked to leave by First Lady Laura Bush. Why? A 2005 Washington Post article about the change in guard had the following tidbit

Scheib, who had been hired in 1994 by Hillary Rodham Clinton, was told to pack his whisk and go – a decision he said reflected Mrs. Bush’s desire to have her own person in the kitchen. “For better or worse, I’ll always be identified as Mrs. Clinton’s chef,” he said.

Scheib was replaced by the current White House Executive Chef, Cristeta Comerford, who is not only the first ever female to occupy the position, but also the first person of Filipino descent to fill the role. (Perhaps you disagree, but this actually seems very fitting for the new administration.) The same WaPo piece includes Comerford’s menu for a dinner with the Indian prime minister which featured chilled asparagus soup and halibut and basmati rice with pistachio nuts and currants, among other things.

Actually, that sounds like something the Obamas might go for! After all, it’s well known they are into healthy food and also that their taste skews ‘elitist’. Still, with reports swirling that some of their most loyal Chicago friends and family members are going to be making the move to Washington with them, we can’t help but entertain fantasies about a Chicago chef following them as well. (There have been rumors about Rick Bayless, chef at Topolobampo, a restaurant that the Obamas often frequent.)

Chefs aside, there are bound to be food and dining changes with the Obamas in town. These past two days, we have read quite a few articles about how the Washington social scene will undergo a transformation. For one, per an article in today’s New York Times, Michelle Obama is “a get-it-done-efficiently Rachael Ray type […] not given to elaborate Martha Stewart-like efforts.” Also, alcohol will be admissible anew, since our President-elect is not a recovering alcoholic. (The Baltimore Sun had a blog post earlier this week about the “return” of beer to the White House.)

Toque of the Town: White House Names 1st Female Executive Chef [Washington Post]
Striking a Balance While Becoming a First Family [New York Times]
Topolobampo [MenuPages]
Topolobampo [Official Site]

[Photo: via PhiLAWdelphia]

National: Is There Change On The Menu?