Cristeta Comerford, a Filipino-American and 10-year veteran of the White House kitchen became the first female White House executive chef Sunday after a lengthy selection process.
After trying out a number of restaurant chefs and other candidates to replace former chef Walter Scheib, the White House settled on an insider in Comerford. She was promoted from assistant White House chef, a job she has held since 1995.
Ethnic and American cuisines are Comerford's specialties but she also knows the French classical cooking that her predecessor did well, Reuters says.
During tryouts in which she had applicants prepare test meals at special functions and private dinners, Mrs. Bush had hoped to find someone whose tastes were more in sync with hers and those of her husband.
President George W. Bush is known to enjoy cheeseburgers but the Bushes, who are both health conscious, are also fond of upscale Tex-Mex cooking with light, spicy accents.
During their first four years, the Bushes have hosted just four state dinners. The president's father, former President George Bush and first lady Barbara Bush hosted four in their first six months in the White House.
The first lady has said she intends to do more entertaining than in her husband's first term.
Laura Bush, the American first lady, said she was delighted that Ms. Comerford, who has been an assistant chef in the White House since the mid-90's, had accepted the job. "Her passion for cooking can be tasted in every bite of her delicious creations," Mrs. Bush was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
"This is great news," said Evan Garcia, deputy chief of mission at the Philippine Embassy in Washington. "Ms. Comerford obviously has reached the pinnacle of her profession and she does all Filipinos proud. Maybe she can start offering lumpias in the White House."
Lumpias are a popular Filipino version of egg rolls, Garcia explained.
Comerford, 41, who immediately left on vacation with her husband, was unavailable for comment but had said in an earlier interview that she was very pleased to be considered.
Ms Comerford succeeds Walter Scheib III, who left in February, apparently after disagreements with Mrs. Bush.
In the months that followed, top chefs including Patrick OЃfConnell, of the Inn at Little Washington, and Eric Ziebold, of CityZen at the capitalЃfs Mandarin Oriental Hotel, are said to have spurned the White HouseЃfs overtures.
They may well have decided that they can get more money, publicity and independence staying put.
The salary is $80,000 (Ѓ’44,000) to $100,000 and the executive chef is barred from book contracts, making television appearances and giving endorsements.
Rescuers found the pilot of one of the two Su-34 fighters that had collided in midair in the Far East on January 18