Swede named in White House chef speculation

Swede named in White House chef speculation
Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson, founder of New York’s acclaimed Aquavit restaurant, is among those being tipped as possible candidates to prepare meals for Barack Obama at the White House.

In an interview with the AP news agency, Tim Ryan, who heads the Culinary Institute of America, named the Ethiopian-born Swede as one high-profile chef the incoming president may consider to cook for certain state dinners.

“Chefs are great performers. So to take a page from [former President John F.] Kennedy’s playbook and recognize the artistic performances of the culinary greats, each state dinner could be organized by different high-profile chefs,” Ryan told AP.

He added that including Samuelsson in the line-up of top chefs called in to prepare meals for special occasions would allow president-elect Obama to “capture some of the star power but in a practical and realistic way”.

Samuelsson, who was raised in Gothenburg, traveled to New York in 1991, and within a few years had risen to be Aquavit’s executive chef at the age of 24.

While confirming he was aware of the speculation about a job at the White House, Samuelsson through a spokesperson declined to comment further on the matter to the Metro newspaper.

Other names circulating as possible White House chef candidates include Art Smith, Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef and Rick Bayless, whose Topolobampo restaurant in Chicago is one of Obama’s favourites.