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Jun 14, 2019 Washington, D.C.

This fall, the White House Historical Association will release, Creating the Sweet World of White House Desserts: A Pastry Chef’s Secrets, by former White House Executive Pastry Chef Roland Mesnier and pastry assistant Mark Ramsdell.

In this new book, Mesnier, who served five presidential families from 1979-2006, reveals the secrets of his pastry techniques and shares his celebrated recipes. Mesnier makes professional desserts possible for cooks of all abilities.

“Those of us who came to know Chef Roland Mesnier following his retirement from the prestigious position of Executive Pastry Chef at the White House, know him best as a prolific writer, a dynamic speaker, and a larger-than-life personality,” said Stewart McLaurin, President of the White House Historical Association. “But, because we never witnessed Mesnier, the artist at work, it is difficult to fully comprehend what made his talent so extraordinary. Finally, with this book, we learn many of the chef’s secrets for the first time. He shares his collection of antique and hand-made molds, the secrets of sugar work, key recipes for beautiful cakes and exotic sorbets, and opens a new world of possibilities—some even attainable—for professionals and home chefs alike.”

Mesnier and Ramsdell both share insights into the accomplishments of the White House Pastry Shop - including steps for constructing the extravagant sweet displays that were often the centerpieces of White House events. Their notable masterpieces included a flock of blown sugar trumpet swans and a life-sized chocolate American eagle. Creating the Sweet World of White House Desserts expands upon Chef Mesnier’s initial publication, The Sweet World of White House Desserts published in 2011.

Creating the Sweet World of White House Desserts will be available for purchase this fall at shop.whitehousehistory.org, and in the Association’s retail stores: The White House History Shop at 1610 H Street NW, Washington D.C. 20006 and the White House Visitor Center at 1450 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20006.

About the Authors

Roland Mesnier was chief pastry chef at the White House from 1979 to 2004. During his 25-year tenure, he served five United States presidents and their distinguished guests. He is the author of a number of books including, The White House in Gingerbread: Memories and Recipes and The Gingerbread White House: A Pop-Up Book.

Mark Ramsdell has been a pastry chef and instructor for more than 30 years. In 1982, he began an eight-year professional pastry apprenticeship with Roland Mesnier at L’Academie de Cuisine and served as its director and head instructor from 1990 to 2008. Chef Ramsdell worked at the White House as pastry assistant to Chef Mesnier during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. He coauthored, The White House in Gingerbread: Memories and Recipes and The Gingerbread White House: A Pop-Up Book.

To request a review copy of this book, or to interview Chef Mesnier, please contact Jessica Fredericks, Director of Communications, at jfredericks@whha.org.

P.D.F. Resources

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About the white house historical association

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. She sought to inspire Americans, especially children, to explore and engage with American history and its presidents. In 1961, the White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the Association has given more than $50 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.

To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit WhiteHouseHistory.org.

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