Former White House Pastry Chef Champions Kumquats

mesier2In the decade since he left his executive pastry chef post at the White House, Roland Mesnier has become renowned for divulging former first families’ culinary peccadilloes and second-guessing the executive kitchen’s current staff members, so it’s no surprise he favors fruit with bite.

“We are here to celebrate the famous kumquat!,” Mesnier proclaimed at the outset of a recent Southern Season cooking class.

Mesnier’s demonstration dessert menu included strawberry soufflé and Bailey’s Irish Cream ice cream (a recurrent hit at the White House, which made a big deal about St. Patrick’s Day even before a Chicagoan was in charge.) But it was the glazed kumquats preparation which allowed him to expound on his lifelong avoidance of artificial ingredients.

“I don’t like extract,” Mesnier said. “Don’t mention extract to me.” Continue reading