In 'Bittersweet' Move, White House Pastry Chef Quits

Image: In 'Bittersweet' Move, White House Pastry Chef Quits White House Pastry Chef Bill Yosses explains his design for the nearly 300-pound gingerbread house of the White House on Nov. 28, 2012.

Wednesday, 19 Mar 2014 06:14 AM

By Elliot Jager

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The White House executive pastry chef, Bill Yosses, is calling it quits, in part because first lady Michelle Obama has discouraged his creativity in working with full fat, sugar, and eggs, The New York Times reported.

"I don't want to demonize cream, butter, sugar and eggs," Yosses told the Times.

Editor's Note: Dr. Ben Carson: It's Time to Stand Up - Get His Vision for America

Old-fashioned "20 percent traditional desserts" make White House appearances only on special occasions. On Thanksgiving, "the Crustmaster," as President Barack Obama calls him, was authorized to make different kinds of pies, and on Christmas he has created a detailed gingerbread version of the White House.

When German Chancellor Angela Merkel came in 2011 for a state dinner, Yosses created his own version of phyllo strudel with a plethora of farmer's cheese, raisins, and apple. When French President Francois Hollande came in February, Yosses was permitted to prepare chocolate pastries without fretting about fat and sugar.

As a general rule, however, desserts in the Obama White House swap butter and cream with fruit purée, and honey and agave replace sugar. The first lady has a definite view on desserts — smaller portions, less sugar, more healthy.

Yosses, now 60, was brought on board by Laura Bush in 2007 when decadent desserts were more welcome. With the arrival of the Obamas, Yosses found himself picking more ingredients from the White House garden, including strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple sage.

He describes his pending departure as "bittersweet" and was gracious in his assessment of the first lady's food policies.

"She has done it with humor and goodwill, without preaching, just the way you would hope the 'Mom in Chief' would do," Yosses told the Times.

He said she was "an inspiring boss, a combination of spontaneity and seriousness."
Yosses will be moving to New York in June. As for his own eating habits, on occasion he'll have a healthful apple, kale, spinach and ginger smoothie instead of his morning doughnuts.

He plans to get involved in food education. "Food knowledge should be part of a complete curriculum. We used to learn about food as a part of everyday growing up, but I think we’ve lost that. I think it has a place in schools," Yosses said.

Editor's Note: Dr. Ben Carson: It's Time to Stand Up - Get His Vision for America

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