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White House Historical Association

Roland Mesnier has been pastry chef for five presidents. One of nine children born to a family in rural, post–World War II France, he began his career as a pastry apprentice at the age of twelve and made his way up, working at the world’s most prestigious hotels. In 1979, First Lady Rosalynn Carter hired him as head pastry chef at the White House. During his twenty-five years there, he created stunning desserts for more than forty queens, kings, princes, princesses, and heads of state, and he was beloved for his famous series of gingerbread houses displayed in the State Dining Room each Christmas holiday. He continues to educate expert and novice bakers about his craft with his books, and he travels around the world teaching pastry techniques and sharing fond memories of life at the White House.