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Aug 12, 2020 Washington, D.C.

Today, the White House Historical Association released the August episode of The 1600 Sessions podcast, “Recipes from the President’s Ranch.” This episode features a conversation with Matthew Wendel, former chef for President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush, and a special look into his new cookbook, Recipes from the President’s Ranch: Food People Like to Eat, published by the White House Historical Association.

More than just recipes, Wendel’s book and the podcast episode include insights into the behind-the-scenes experiences unique to a chef who served the President and First Lady of the United States.

The 1600 Sessions conversation follows Wendel’s 15 years with the Bushes, from the Governor’s Mansion to the White House, Camp David, and the president's retreat at Prairie Chapel Ranch. Wendel discusses some of the Bushes' favorite foods and meals, including Tex-Mex, fresh and healthy salads, and desserts that satisfied the forty-third president’s sweet tooth.

“When people ask me 'What’s the president’s favorite food?' I always answer dessert, because he loved dessert. And I believe that he ate his meals so fast so he could get to dessert,” Wendel remembered.

“It’s more than a cookbook. [Wendel] gives us the inside perspective of the people, the personalities, the story that went along with the food. It also includes [his] personal story and role, and the evolution of [his] relationship with the Bushes,” said Stewart McLaurin during the episode.

Buy Recipes from the President’s Ranch by Matthew Wendel here.

The 1600 Sessions

In this podcast series, White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin interviews luminaries, historians, and eyewitnesses to history about America’s most famous residence and office—the White House. Each episode includes a prominent guest or guests to discuss varying facets of White House history, including insights from former staff and many other topical issues.

The 1600 Sessions is available on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and Spotify. To hear the full episode, visit

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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 nonprofit, nonpartisan 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

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