Interview with White House pastry chef: Bill Yosses

If there’s one guy who knows about pastry in America, I’m pretty sure it’s Bill Yosses. Serving as White House pastry chef for 5 years now, Bill knows what sweets people dream of eating. In addition to his position at the White House, Bill wrote a cookbook called “The Perfect Finish,” sharing some of his genius with the rest of us. I spoke with Bill to get all the details from what President Obama’s favorite dessert is to what his thoughts on feeding America are. This is what he said.

How did you get started in the food world?

“I was a student of French in college and my French friends used to cook dinner and invite me.  The food was so good, I wanted to learn how to cook. When I went to France, I was amazed at the variety and deliciousness of the foods, and how everybody talked about food ALL THE TIME!! Then I understood why – it is the most important thing we do all day!”

When it comes to food, what inspires you?

“Like many chefs, I am most inspired by ingredients, by well-made or well-grown food.  If I see a gorgeous peach, I first think that I can not ever make something so delicious as a peach, but perhaps I can think of a way to enhance and present that peach without ruining its flavor.  Like doctors, our first rule is : “Do no harm.”

What’s your position at the White House like?

I really love my job at the White House. I cook for the President and Mrs Obama and their family, and guests when they have them.   They are wonderful caring people who love to eat good food. Sometimes there a lot of guests, such as for State Dinners or other receptions and parties that take place here at the White House. We try to make each menu special and we choose local and seasonal ingredients, and sometimes fruits and vegetables from our own garden here on the South Lawn of the White House.”

What’s the most popular dessert over at the WH?

“Our most popular dessert is pie.  Who doesn’t love a good pie?  And we make them in all the fruits that are available this summer – plums, nectarines, peaches, cherries, apples and even apricots.”

What’s your favorite dessert to make?

“I love making pies but my most favorite thing to make is a Wedding Cake.  It is just so majestic and beautiful, but I don’t have much chance to make those here.”

How do you feel about sugar? Do you use healthier substitutes?

“I feel that desserts and sugar in general can be part of a healthy life, but we have to keep in mind moderation and even more importantly, the source of the ingredients we use, I like to use natural ingredients from the farmers’ market to make my desserts, and I don’t use any processed foods. We don’t have desserts every day – only on weekends or special occasions. Otherwise, everyone tries to keep a healthy approach.”

What’s the biggest surprise about working there?

“I was surprised how much each department works together to make the White House experience special.  The guests of the President and First Lady are special people and we all try to make them as welcome and happy as possible.”

What’s the president’s favorite dessert?

“The President has said that his favorite dessert is pie, no question about it. He loves them and we love making them for him.”

Thanks, Bill!

Image Via Zimbio

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