Pastry and Politics: Hail to the Chef
When Arizona governor Fife Symington III found himself in political hot water, he opted to switch rather than fight. Careers, that is. And now the only hot water in the former politician's life is the water melting chocolate for his signature pastry creation: The Governor, a "low-tax, high-taste" chocolate cake with a hint of coffee. Though he eventually was cleared of the fraud charges that derailed his political career, Symington has no regrets about pursuing his pastry chef career.
Scratching the Itch for Pastry Chef Training
Symington confessed a lifelong "mild interest" in cooking, telling the New York Times, "I kept coming back to culinary school." While still governor, he contributed a lasagna recipe to a governors' cookbook. Like so many second-career pastry chefs, Fife Symington finally acted on the cooking instincts that had been simmering on his back burner for a long, long time.
Chef School Turns Politico into Pastry Chef-Restaurateur
In order to transition from politics to pastry chef, Symington earned his culinary arts degree, opting to include restaurant management training as well. His schooling took the fairly standard 15 months. Then, like so many pastry-chefs-in-training, he chose an internship, working at an Italian restaurant managed by an old friend. Hence, his mascarpone cheesecakes and amaretto creme-filled Florentine meringues.
Pastry Chef: A Popular Second Career
Fife Symington was a fifty-something career changer who, like so many others, sought out a new, more satisfying life creating pastry. According to the pastry chef-restaurateur, there's "something about working with a wonderful group of people in the kitchen. Some would hate it. I think it's magic." To insure the magic would continue, Symington turned co-owner of his own restaurant, Franco's, and even opened his own chef school. In spite of his business commitments, chef Symington creates four or five desserts daily for his restaurant's menu. Hail to the chef!
- Fife Symington III, AZ Plugged-in
- "From Politics to Pies: Former Arizona Governor Hails New Life," by Michael Janofsky. The New York Times online (Apr 6, 2003).