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White House chefs who crafted meals for Ruto, Kibaki & Moi during U.S. state visits

Beyond Kenyan presidents, these chefs also served high-ranking global leaders who visited the White House

White House’s executive chefs Cristeta Comerford and Susan Morrison
  • State visits to the White House are marked by elaborate ceremonies and state dinners
  • Notable occasions include visits of President Daniel Arap Moi in 1980 and President Mwai Kibaki in 2003
  • Cristeta Pasia Comerford is the first woman and the first person of Asian descent to serve as the White House Executive Chef since 2005

State visits to the White House are grand affairs marked by elaborate ceremonies and, perhaps most memorably, exquisite state dinners.

Two such notable occasions were the visits of President Daniel Arap Moi of Kenya in 1980 and President Mwai Kibaki in 2003.

The culinary masterminds behind these prestigious events were White House Executive Chefs Henry Haller and Walter Scheib.

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Haller began his tenure at the White House on February 1, 1966, and continued his service across five administrations until he retired in 1987.

During this period, the White House hosted over 250 State Dinners and countless other meals for the residents and their guests.

Noteworthy among these events were two large gatherings of 1,300 guests each on the White House Lawn: a dinner in 1973 for returning Vietnam POWs and a 1979 dinner celebrating the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.

One of the notable guests he served was the late President Daniel Arap Moi, who visited the U.S. on a state visit in 1980.

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On October 6, 2003, President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush hosted President Mwai Kibaki and First Lady Lucy Kibaki for a State Dinner at the White House.

The meal for the visiting dignitaries was prepared by the then White House Executive Chef, Walter Stanley Scheib III.

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Scheib's mother had recently passed away, and he was initially reluctant to pursue a new job. Unbeknownst to him, his wife submitted his resume.

Out of 4,000 applicants for the position, Scheib was one of only five selected to audition for the First Lady.

Hillary Clinton was particularly impressed with Scheib's managerial skills and his ability to prepare hundreds of top-quality meals in a short timeframe.

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Cristeta Pasia Comerford is a Filipino-American chef serving as the White House Executive Chef since 2005.

She is the first woman and the first person of Asian descent to hold this position.

Comerford was responsible for designing the White House menu for President William Ruto and First Lady Rachael Ruto during their state visit to the United States, which includes a state dinner.

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