All the Presidents' Pastries: Twenty-Five Years in the White House, A Memoir Hardcover – Feb 13 2007
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About the Author
Roland Mesnier, a Frenchman and naturalized American, has experienced the highest echelons of power firsthand. Born into a working-class family in France and one of nine children, Mesnier is a self-made man par excellence. Christian Malard, who co-wrote the book, is a journalist for France Télévision and an expert on international relations.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Several things stood out for me in this book. The first was how interesting his early life was.. how he grew up with basically nothing, became an apprentice, perfected his craft, and continually pushed himself to become better and better--even during his later days at the White House. He never once rested on his laurels, although he easily could have.
The second thing that stood out for me was how he regarded each of the "first families" he worked for. He clearly grew very attached to whoever he worked for, and through his eyes I was able to see the various Presidents and First Ladies as the normal human beings they are. That's an interesting perspective you don't usually see.
Thirdly, I could barely keep my mouth from watering while reading about all the amazing desserts that were prepared over Mr. Mesnier's 40-something year career! Note: don't read this if you are hungry.
One last note: One of the reviewers mentioned a left-leaning slant to Mr. Mesnier's politics. I simply did not see that. In fact, he seemed particularly attached to the family of Bush Sr. And when the Iraq war was looming, he was in full support of it, so much so that he couldn't believe that his home country of France was against it. There are many other examples, but the point is, Mr. Mesnier was very loyal to whomever he served, whether Democrat or Republican.
of White House power through the eyes of its renowned former pastry chef. For those of
us outside the concrete street barriers of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and the cocktail
circuits of policy wonks, pundits, and political celebrity, his memoir makes
us feels privy to select secrets of the rich and famous even as he respectfully shrouds
prominent indiscretions and missteps. They were there, and no doubt they would offer
tantalizing fodder for curious gossip mongers. Instead Mesnier's enthusiastic recollections
of his White House adventures read as delectably as President's Reagan's favorite
chocolate mousse tastes rich, but without the bite and heat of the crystallized ginger
melded within the mix. For those seeking to recreate executives' favorites, there is a
small collection of recipes at the end of the book.
Similar to Mesnier's first successful book, Dessert University, one discovers within the pages of All the President's Pastries, a mind that thrives on continual challenge, creates success through extensive thought and preparation, and moves on when an occasional snag clutters his mindscape. In preparation for Tony Blair's White House visit in 1998, Mesnier envisioned London's parliamentary clock, Big Ben, as the dessert's stunning chocolate centerpiece. Unaware that logistics and time would become formidable obstacles to execution of the Big Ben replica, he "decided to take the bull by the horns and invent a new way of molding chocolate." In his characteristic humility, Mesnier shares that he and his staff "pulled off this minor tour de force thanks to a great deal of extremely fast work"; therefore, saving themselves from a metaphorical Go Straight to the Tower of London jail card.
I hope you all will enjoy reading Mesnier's Upstairs/Downstairs disclosure of White House anecdotes to discover the convivial yet complex Roland I know.