Symposium Review meets
The Symposium Review Club met recently in the home of Martha Carole Nichols. Her co-hostess was Linda Jennings. They served a delicious lemon pie dessert with coffee and sodas.
The meeting was called to order by the vice president, Elizabeth White, due to the president’s absence. The secretary’s report was read and approved. The treasurer said that the report remains the same as last month.
Under old business, the plans for the May meeting were changed. The year-end meeting committee announced the meal was to be in the lovely home of Mary Elizabeth Nohsey, with Sandy Edmunston catering. This change was unanimously agreed upon.
It was mentioned that the club needs to thank Fredricka Schleifer for writing the Letter to the Editor in The Messenger about the misunderstanding in the recent Southern Living magazine concerning the Kiwanis Park and the fountain. Everyone agreed.
Elizabeth White then announced the officers for the upcoming year. The president will be Elizabeth White, the vice president Paula Chapman, the secretary Elizabeth Kendall and the treasurer Beverly Hunt.
The meeting was then turned over to Linda Lu Harding, who gave the program on the book “The White House Chef” by Walter Scheib. Scheib’s mother used her own funds to send him to culinary school because his father was not sure this was the right profession for his son. After completing culinary school, he worked as a chef in several restaurants and then was hired by The Greenbriar Hotel. While working there, an opening was announced that the White House was accepting applications for a new chef. Unknown to Scheib, his wife sent in an application to the Clintons to be considered for the chef position.
An excerpt was read from the book about Mrs. Clinton’s interview with Scheib. She and her husband were looking for a chef who prepared more American cuisine. The previous chef was French and this wasn’t their taste.
Before being hired, he had to prepare a meal and serve the Clintons and their staff. This meal he had to mostly prepare at The Greenbriar because he didn’t have full access to the White House kitchen. When he arrived to put the finishing touches to the meal, Scheib was amazed at how outdated the kitchen equipment was. So he just did the best he could and served the meal. Needless to say, the meal was a success. After this, Mrs. Clinton started talking about what she wanted and gave him her list of goals for the new chef position:
1. American cuisine showcased.
2. Make restaurant-caliber food (the best of anyone) and serve this for both state dinners and other special functions.
3. Develop more nutritional, low-fat, healthy food for staff with a minimum amount of red meat.
4. Nutritious and informal meals for family and the staff.
5. Receptions at the White House will have more eclectic and interesting meals.
6. Start a rooftop garden in order to grow own vegetables and herbs to use in the family meals, as well as for big events.
7. Upgrade the quality of food purchased for all meals.
8. Think about the role the chef plays in the history of the White House.
9. Develop a guest chef series.
After all this, Scheib spoke up and said that no one had offered him the job. Mrs. Clinton said, “Well do you want the job” and he replied, “Yes”.
Scheib began right off upgrading the quality of the food. Secondly, he upgraded the kitchen equipment and remodeling the area of work. And then he went on to begin the herb and vegetable garden.
Throughout the book he tells about the state dinners, the G-8 dinners and all the elegant events he catered. He also includes many of the recipes.
After the Clintons left office, he stayed on for the first Bush years. The menu style changed to less social affairs and he added some Tex-Mex flavoring to the meals.
With 9/11 happening came a change in the chef’s job. He had to pay more attention to where the food came from and that things were not poisoned or tainted.
The club vice president thanked Mrs. Harding for her program and also thanked the hostess and co-hostess.
Published in The Messenger 5.16.08