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White House Guessing Game: Who Will Cook for Barack?

Posted by on November 10 2008 in Celebs, Politics, TV

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With the epic campaign season finally concluded, Washington has moved on to that quadrennial guessing game that has the corridors of power all abuzz: Who will the president-elect bring with him to the White House?

We here at ES could care less about some hard-hitting chief of staff or misogynistic treasury secretary candidate. The real burning question is: Who will Obama appoint as White House Chef? All we know for sure is that some serious change is in need after Bush’s eight years serving BBQ and hohos at official state dinners. Here are the leading candidates, along with our exclusive odds, and a few additional people we think P-E Obama should put on his short list.

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WaPo’s Tom Sietsema says the frontrunner is definitely Art Smith. The chef at Capitol Hill’s new Art and Soul restaurant, Smith has both the inside DC knowledge the new prez needs, and the down-home Chicago background he loves  (he was Oprah‘s personal chef for 10 years). Smith’s upscale-downhome specialties (caviar and horseradish hoe-cakes, red eye gravy pork chops) would deliver a hearty slice of Americana to visiting heads of state. Odds – 3:1 

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Or maybe Obama wants to skip the in-between and go fancy-fancy. Barack and Michelle’s first meal out after winning the presidency was at Chicago’s Spiaggia, the same place the first couple celebrated their anniversary and Michelle’s b-day this year. That’s quite the endorsement! A native of Kenosha, Wisconsin (swing state!), chef Tony Mantuano offers high-end Italian cuisine featuring dishes that even foodies can’t decipher, like STRANGOZZE VERDE CON LUMACHE, AGLIO E PANE GRATTATO. Yum! (I think). Mantuano would bring a touch of class back to the Oval Dining Room. But then again, Barack might not be too enthused about Italian lately. Odds – 7:1

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BHO could show an important display of bipartisanship by asking current White House chef Criseta Comerford to stay on in his administration. Hand-picked by Laura Bush in 2005, the Philippines-born Comeford is the first female to lead the White House kitchen, thus allowing Barack to hang on to the Hillary vote. Plus, then he could get rid of Gates. Odds – 8:3

So those are the most likely bets. But honestly, none of these choices would bring the radical change and hope Obama promised us. Let’s forget the Washington insiders and shake things up a little bit, Barack! Here are our alternative recommendations:

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No-nonsense Michelle is known to be a “get-it-done-efficiently Rachael Ray type, they say, not given to elaborate Martha Stewart-like efforts.” So why not bring RayRay herself to the White House kitchen? If nothing else, it would get her overexposed mug off the airwaves. Plus, the thought of Queen Elizabeth or Vladimir Putin sitting down for a meal of “sammies” is reason enough. Odds: 50-1

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The most embarrassing gaffe of the campaign wasn’t John McCain forgetting how many houses he lives in, but Cindy McCain’s repeated recipe-pilfering.  Why not give Cindy a shot at redemption and let her prove herself in Washington? We’ll even let her bring a cheat sheet. Odds – 100:1

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We all know it never would have even gotten started for Obama without Iowa. And the endorsement that clearly but him over the top in the Hawkeye State was from Duffy Lion, the farmer famous for sculpting cows out of butter for the Iowa State Fair (and Butter Harry Potter and even Butter Barack). So come on, Obama, let’s send a true American to Washington–Endless Simmer officially endorses Duffy Lion for White House Chef. Odds – Even

Lead Photo: HuffPo

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15 Responses leave one →
  1. November 10, 2008

    um, why isn’t padma lakshmi on this list!

  2. Maidelitala permalink*
    November 10, 2008

    because she’s a spokes model, not a cook

  3. November 10, 2008

    list, M, if mrs. mccain is on this list, padma, a cookbook author (!) can be on here too!

  4. Moon permalink
    November 11, 2008

    For some distinct feeling, I think Obama will have a healthier staple for the mainstay meals. After all, in Italy, Arugula is nothing more than a green and eaten by peasants….and it’s healthy for you. Only in America are greens considered gormet or elite. Aren’t we ridiculous?

  5. November 12, 2008

    Carmelo’s personal chef???

    “Also mentioned as a possibility: Daniel Young, who cooked for Obama at the Democratic National Convention and is personal chef to Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets. ”

    http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/food/dishing/2008/11/yes_we_can_cook.html

  6. Leah permalink
    November 12, 2008

    Um, so last night, I was at a restaurant in Chicago and overheard the convo next to me…and I’m betting the chef is coming from Chicago… (or at least that’s what the convo next to me lead me to believe)

  7. November 12, 2008

    I’m also betting the chef will come from Chicago (which is getting quite an impressive foodie reputation).

    From what I’ve read, Obama prefers to eat healthy most of the time and isn’t a big fan of sweets, so I’m guessing the next White House Executive Chef will have to be on the same wavelength.

  8. Carly C permalink
    November 13, 2008

    I say Rachael Ray – Not only will she cook good tasty family food – she would add a big smile to the white house everyday and she might even teach the kids to cook – and she even comes with ‘Nutrish’ for the puppy- I say Rach is like she likes to say – ‘One stop shopping’ to the white house! Go Rach, Go Rach!

  9. November 15, 2008

    Not to quibble, Simmer, but Duffy spells her last name as “L-Y-O-N” – but you got it right that without her endorsement including radio ads in Iowa, Barack Obama may have never made it to the White House. (And as a sidenote, I’m looking forward to Christmas dinner with Duffy and Joe!)

  10. SashimiLeath permalink
    December 3, 2008

    What about Grant Achatz? Alinea is located in Chicago and is highly regarded. However, is molecular Gastronomy an automatic DQ for the white house?

  11. December 16, 2008

    I personally think he will be well pleased if he and Michele selected Gerry Garvin.

  12. December 29, 2008

    I AM CARLON JOHNSON AND WILL LOVE TO TRY OUT FOR A COKKING POSITION FOR THE WHITE HOUSE I AM A GREAT COOK AND MY PASSION IS COOKING IN ALL TYPE OF AREAS INVOLVING IN COOKING ALL TYPES OF CUISINES… I HAVE BEEN COOKING FOR 20 YEARS NOW AND I HAVE THE EXPERTISE IN BLOWING YOUR MINDS. GIVE ME CHANCE TO COOK FOR THE PRESIDENT AND FAMILY AND FREINDS. I AM A BLACK AND SPANISH AMERICAN AND DESERVES THIS POSITION YOU CAN CONTACT ME AT 317-291-0230 OR WRITE TO ME AT 5643 QUAIL RD, INDIANAPOLIS IN. 46278. I JUST NEED A CHANCE IN THIS WORLD TO ACHIEVE WHAT I HAVE PERTETE. I HAVE WORKED HARD ALL MY LIFE AND NEED A BREAK TO SHOW WHAT I CAN DO THANKS FOR LISTENING AND MAY GOD BLEESS YOU ALL MR. PRESIDENT AND YOUR FAMILY.

  13. rachel permalink
    September 7, 2010

    i love ur food rachael

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