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White House food talk

(article, Kim Carlson)

Last week on NPR, Todd Kliman skewered chef Alice Waters for what he called "her inflexible brand of gastronomical correctness." In part, Kliman was referring to Waters' assertive attempts to influence the choice of a White House chef by the new first family.

Waters might rub Kliman the wrong way, but her efforts appear to have borne fruit. Yes, the Obamas have retained Cristeta Comerford, the White House chef since 2005. But they've also hired a second chef: Sam Kass, a private chef in Chicago who has cooked for the Obamas before, will join Comerford in the White House kitchen. 

According to the New York Times Well blog, Kass is very familiar with the movement to reform school lunches, an issue that is near and dear to Waters' heart. 

Will Kass also get the Obamas interested in planting a vegetable garden at the White House? In a December story that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Waters said she had already floated the idea past the Obamas:

bq. \[Waters\] also confides she lobbied Michelle Obama in July at the Palmer House in Chicago Women for Obama luncheon after introducing Mrs. Obama to the audience. Talking up an edible White House garden, Waters quotes her as responding, "I don't know why it hasn't been done before now."

Meanwhile, another effort is underway to elect a White House Farmer. Get your votes in by January 31.