G20: Hangzhou


G20: Hangzhou

It's your talent that matters, says the woman who cooks for Obama

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 11:38am

Like Barack Obama, Cristeta Comerford broke new ground when she went to work in the White House. Obama moved in as the first US black president, but Comerford got there long before him as the first Philippine-born American woman to head the White House kitchen.

The executive chef says that working in a male-dominated trade is a blessing. 'It's a big encouragement to other women chefs. Gender should not be an issue, it's your talent that really matters,' said Comerford (pictured), who's worked in the White House kitchen for 14 years since being recruited to work for the Clintons.

The Obamas were 'awesome and cool' to work for, Comerford said.

She is among 25 chefs who cook for royalty, presidents and governments in town for a Club des Chefs des Chefs event - a sort of G20 culinary summit.

Invited by the Mandarin Oriental, the chefs were brought to town for the club's annual meeting, which started on Tuesday and ends tomorrow.

'[The Obamas] are healthy eaters, very open to trying different food, and of course they love Chinese food,' she said.

Comerford also shared some tips for young hopefuls. 'Follow your passion, be focused and always keep the right attitude.'

You also need a strong sense of duty if you want to cook for a world leader.

'Protecting [the first family] is our first and foremost duty. I have to be very knowledgeable and careful about the things we buy from suppliers,' she said.

'We are there just for the presidency and not for any political affiliations.'