I gasped when I read the headline about former White House chef, Walter Scheib. He was swept away in late June in a flash flood north of Taos, New Mexico.
I rarely repeat posts, but in Walter Scheib’s case, it’s worth an exception. If you’re looking for an addition to your Summer book bag, I highly recommend “White House Chef: Eleven Years, Two Presidents, One Kitchen,” Scheib’s memoir of his time working for the Clinton and Bush administrations. “White House Chef” is about politics in every sense of the word – the business of being in service to those who govern as well as the intrigue of handling the most tense personal situations with diplomacy.
I was really struck by the outpouring of love for Chef Scheib on Twitter. Colleagues remembered him as “a great mentor and teacher,” “innovative”, and someone “who cooked beautiful food.” You will find the same warmth in “White House Chef.”
One of my favorite stories was about the kitchen receiving a casual call from the Clinton residence one afternoon. “Chelsea has friends over and the girls want to make cookies, but they don’t know how. Can you send something up?”
Chef Scheib scribbled out a basic chocolate chip recipe in minutes. However, he sent measuring spoons and cups along with the raw ingredients. He wanted the girls to enjoy the art of cooking, rather than having everything pre-measured. His quick thinking, and the cookies, were a hit.
As Americans celebrate July 4, I am remembering the life and legacy of Walter Scheib. Bon appetit, Chef!