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Roland Mesnier: 25 Years as America's Pastry Chef

Although born in France, Roland Mesnier's is a story of the American dream. Mesnier's first job with a pastry chef began as an apprentice at a pastry shop in near his hometown of Bonnay, France.


In postwar France, and with eight other brothers in the family, Mesnier's job with a pastry chef afforded the family some security. They knew that at least, they would not starve.

The Pastry Chef Job of His Dreams

Luckily, Mesnier had a knack for the kneading, sugar spinning, and chocolate molding, and he worked in kitchens all over the world. Mesnier's career as a pastry chef finally led him to the Homestead Resort in Virginia.

Mesnier applied to the White House on a whim and to his surprise, when the decision was made about who would be the new White House pastry chef, the job was his.

From Gingerbread Houses to Sushi Bowls

Mesnier's decided that his first critical job as pastry chef was to set the precedent that all sweets would be made in-house. He was adamant that not even a single cookie or chocolate chip would be brought in from the outside.

He also determined that during the duration of his pastry chef career, he would never repeat a dessert at a state dinner. Despite his tiny staff and his even tinier kitchen, he made good on his goals.


In his distinguished presidential pastry chef career, he has created, from scratch, desserts for thousands. He has served sugared sushi bowls to Japanese dignitaries, as well as overseen the production of the Christmas gingerbread house each year.

Mesnier will certainly be impossible to replace. He has certainly left behind a sweet legacy.