From blown-sugar baskets to gingerbread houses, a pastry chef remembers
By Roland Mesnier
Foreward by Gary Walters, Chief Usher, The White House 1986-2007
In this memoir, Roland Mesnier, pastry chef to five presidents, recalls the stunning desserts he created for White House State Dinners, formal events, and family celebrations. A Sweet World of White House Desserts, (White House Historical Association; October 15, 2011; $35.00 casebound with dustjacket) features full-color images of the one-of-a-kind creations and Chef Mesnier’s stories about the people and places that inspired them.
The famous gingerbread White House, a frequent State Dining Room holiday showcase, grew out of the simple models Mesnier crafted for the first family’s Christmas celebrations. Together with his blown-sugar confections and molded chocolate sculptures, they are a unique chapter in the history of dining in the President’s House.
Mesnier was born in rural, post-World War II France and was one of nine children. He began his career as a pastry apprentice at the age of 12 and made his way up, working at many of the world’s prestigious hotels. He came to the White House during the Carter administration and remained until his retirement in 2004.
Among the treasury of illustrations included in A Sweet World of White House Desserts are:
- “The Tequila Mousse with Kiwi and Coconut Sorbet” served at a dinner honoring The President of Mexico and Mrs. De La Madrid
- “Pistacio Marquise with Fresh Raspberries” served at a dinner honoring Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
- “Play Ball!” dessert served at a luncheon in recognition of members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame
- Lingonberry and Vanilla “Nordic Snow Drift” served at a luncheon honoring the Viking exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.
The White House Historical Association, established in 1961, is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to enhance the understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the White House. All proceeds from the association’s trusts, publications and other items are used to fund acquisitions of historic furnishings and artwork for the permanent collection, to assist in the preservation of public rooms, and further its educational mission.
A Sweet World of White House Desserts
By Roland Mesnier
White House Historical Association
Casebound with dustjacket
144 pages, 136 images
8 ½” by 11”
To order: Visit WhiteHouseHistory.org or call 1-800-555-2451.