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All the Presidents' Pastries : Twenty-Five Years in the White House
by Roland Mesnier and Christian Malard and Louise Rogers Lalaurie


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.  Read more...

 
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More About All the Presidents' Pastries by Roland Mesnier; Christian Malard; Louise Rogers Lalaurie
 
 
 
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.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9782080305596
  • ISBN-10: 208030559X
  • Publisher: Flammarion
  • Publish Date: February 2007
  • Page Count: 343


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Personal Memoirs
Books > Cooking > Methods - Baking

 
BookPage Reviews

A quarter-century of gingerbread White Houses and other feats

Reading master pastry chef Roland Mesnier's All the Presidents' Pastries: Twenty-Five Years in the White House, you can't help but wonder how the last five presidents still managed to fit into the Oval Office by the end of their terms. Surprisingly, Mesnier's life before he got to the White House was at least as interesting as the years he spent satisfying the dessert palates of the world's leaders.

Following in his brother's footsteps, Mesnier left his small village at age 14 to enter the traditional French apprenticeship system. With an incredible drive to master new skills, he moved on to some of the world's finest hotels and pastry shops. He cooked in the legendary kitchen of London's Savoy, discovered how to create sugar sculptures despite the intense humidity in Bermuda, introduced an entirely new set of pastries at one of the oldest hotels in the U.S. without the staff even realizing that they'd been "retrained" and began winning award after award for his work.

From this illustrious beginning, Mesnier moves on to describe the events, the desserts and the people he encounters throughout his White House tenure. Aside from a couple of near-misses (one with a marzipan figure of a "sleepy" Mexican), Mesnier successfully created extravagant desserts reflecting national cultures, cuisines or historical events, from a chocolate military aircraft carrier for George W. Bush's birthday to "five white doves made from lemon sorbet placed on a nest of fresh fruit, each with a sugar olive branch in its beak" served to Yitzhak Rabin to signify the Oslo accords. Packing 25 years of desserts into one book can occasionally begin to read like a laundry list, and it's slightly odd to hear someone wonder if a planned barbeque will be cancelled when discussing the early hours of 9/11. But being executive pastry chef at the White House is no ordinary job and Mesnier follows his own golden rule to a tee: "Never forget where and for whom you are working."

Megan Brenn-White graduated from the chef's training program at the Natural Gourmet School of Cookery and is the author of Bake Me a Cake (HarperCollins).

 
BAM Customer Reviews