Meet the Woman Preparing Tonight’s State Dinner
Cristeta Comerford is a Filipino American chef who has been the White House Executive Chef since 2005. She is the first woman and first person of Asian descent to hold the post. She grew up in Sampaloc, Manila and attended the University of the Philippines majoring in food technology. She left school before completing the degree when she emigrated to the United States at the age of 23. Her first job was in Chicago at the Sheraton Hotel near O'Hare International Airport. She later moved to DC and worked as a chef at two restaurants. She also spent six months in Vienna as a rotating chef. Comerford was recruited in 1995 to work in the Clinton White House and was appointed by First Lady Laura Bush in 2005 to the position of Executive Chef. Tonight she is serving up a three-part spread. The first course will feature a goat cheese gateau, tomato jam, buttermilk biscuit crumbles and young variegated lettuces. The main course: a rack of spring lamb and a New Orleans-inspired Carolina gold rice jambalaya -- scented with celery, peppers, and onions, and spiced with herbs from the South Lawn. Finally, the denouement will come in the form of a nectarine tart dessert infused with White House honey and accompanied by crème fraîche ice cream. Bon appétit! More about her here.