The government shutdown that starts today results in temporary pink slips to “nonessential” government workers, begging the obvious question: Are the White House chefs essential?
The Obamas are known to eat quite well, at least in public, where they can be seen frequenting trendy spots around Washington and landing in over-priced restaurants aimed at vacationers when they’re in Hawaii and Martha’s Vineyard. At home in the White House, a team of chefs plans menus for the Obamas and prepares an endless series of tasty meals.
But the government shutdown presents the terrifying prospect that the Obamas may have to defrost a package of Lean Cuisine or open a can of meat ravioli.
The Obamas have two de facto chief chefs: Cristeta Comerford is a leftover from the Bush years who is formally the White House Executive Chef and whom the Obamas decided not to get rid of; and Sam Kass, who was imported from Chicago by the Obamas and whose title is Executive Director of Let’s Move! and Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy.
Kass came in as Comerford’s “assistant,” but with his current involvement in the first lady’s food projects, it’s not known how often he still whips up a meal. Nevertheless, it’s not clear if the Senior Policy advisor for Nutrition Policy is essential. But Kass is also a frequent golf partner of the president’s, which may increase his “essentialness.”
Also present on the grounds is an Executive Pastry Chef, who is exclusively in charge of dessert, and perhaps a lobster pot pie or two.