White House pastry chef quits: Can’t ‘demonize cream, butter, sugar and eggs’

The White House pastry chef is leaving and Michelle Obama has no one to blame but herself.

“It’s a bittersweet decision,” Bill Yosses told the Washington Times.

Yosses was hired by Laura Bush in 2007 to make his trademark cookie plates and sugar sculptures. He was known in New York for the raspberry and pear soufflés he created at restaurants like Montrachet and Bouley, according to The Times. But in 2009, Mrs. Obama came in and ordered Yosses to convert his desserts to healthier plates in smaller portions.

WH Pastry Chef Bill Yosses
Photo credit: Chris Greenberg

Yosses said he has been inspired by the White House garden and its fresh fruits and herbs, saying that it, along with the first lady, will have a “lasting impact on his eating habits.”

Yet he admits he can’t abandon what he loves.

“I don’t want to demonize cream, butter, sugar and eggs,” he said.

Yosses admitted that for White House visitors, healthy did not take over the entire menu.

“For special, nostalgic occasions, we still make 20 percent traditional desserts,” he said. “Coconut cake with seven-minute frosting, lemon steamed pudding with layers of custard, mousse and cake, sticky toffee pudding, and every kind of chocolate dessert possible.”

Yosses earned the nickname, “The Crustmaster,” from President Obama, who was the beneficiary of “five or six different pies” for Thanksgiving.

Mrs. Obama released a statement saying she was “incredibly sad to see Bill Yosses go,” according to The Times, adding, “I am also so grateful to him for his outstanding work, not just as the White House pastry chef, producing the most delectable creations for everything from birthday celebrations to state visits, but also as a key partner helping us get the White House kitchen garden off the ground and building a healthier future for our next generation. I wish Bill and his husband, Charlie, all the best in their future endeavors.”

Yosses will leave in June, his successor yet chosen.

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