What’s it really like to cook for the President?

What’s it really like to cook for the President?

0 Comments 📅June 5th, 2012, 16:04

Knoxville Convention Center Executive Chef Chris Moore knows first-hand. He was honored to be selected to help prepare meals for President Obama and several thousand international diplomats gathered for the recent 2012 NATO Summit at the McCormick Center in Chicago. Here is his fascinating story:

“I was surprised and honored to be one of three executive chefs selected from among SMG-managed properties to help Executive Chef Vincent Lai and his staff with this huge conference in Chicago. Over three days, we cooked nearly 19,000 meals.

The sheer size of the McCormick Center is amazing. It is the largest convention center in the country, with 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space. On our slowest day, my pedometer clocked us doing 15 miles of walking as we prepared and served food for the event. Sometimes it took us nearly two hours to transport the meals from the kitchen to the meal venue. It was like off-site catering inside a single facility. We had to make sure we had everything we needed, and plenty of extra food, because we couldn’t go back for anything.

Then there was the issue of incredibly tight security to deal with. It is quite a feat to learn your way around the facility, roughly eight times the size of the Knoxville Convention Center. We would map out the route to the next meal venue, and then Secret Service would come in and block that route, or have us move our staging area, to clear a path for the president to slip in. It was tricky having to work around the Secret Service directives.

In addition to the Secret Service, the White House’s Executive Chef was on hand in the kitchen to make sure the food was up to the President’s standards. The FDA also had representatives on hand, randomly testing food to make sure it was free of anything that may cause any illness.

With nearly 100 cooks in the kitchen, you would think it would be total chaos. But we all came together well as a team. I was assigned duty as pastry chef for most of the weekend. It was a great experience to be a part of such an important event. I especially enjoyed being able to network with some of my peers and compare notes on menu ideas and the farm-to-table concept.”

We are so proud that Chef Moore was selected for this assignment. It’s a special chef that gets to cook for the President, and we have always known we have one of the best. Now his talents are known in high circles around the world.

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