As we enter President Trump’s first week in office, hundreds of administration positions currently remain unfilled, including a high-profile job in the White House kitchen. While speculation has run rampant since just after Election Day, no announcement of a new chef has been made. But in a brief interview yesterday, one notable chef sounded interested in taking the job.
Talking to the Hollywood Reporter, David Burke, who has opened more than a dozen restaurants in the last 25 years, including the BLT Prime in President Trump’s new D.C. hotel, expressed a willingness to work at the White House. “I already have a restaurant in D.C., so I could put someone in place and oversee things,” Burke said. He also noted some positive aspects of a job serving at the pleasure of the president: “It’s not a restaurant, so you don’t have to make money and just think of the resources—you could get anything you want. It could be a great learning opportunity for cooks. We could start an apprenticeship program for young chefs and get D.C. restaurants and hotels involved!”
Burke’s apparent enthusiasm is notable alongside statements from other chefs who could be on Trump’s short list. Jean-Georges Vongerichten, whose eponymous restaurant occupies the ground floor of Trump Tower, said “I have to focus on my restaurants and I have them globally, including in China. I would be concerned about being perceived as political.” And Black Tap’s Joe Isidori, who worked as executive chef at Mar-a-Lago, demurred with a similar explanation: “I want to focus on my restaurants and it would be too difficult to do both.”
According to reports from CNN this weekend, the Obamas' kitchen team has remained in place to “[stock] the fridge with the Trump family’s favorite snacks.” So while chef Burke waits to see if a job offer is forthcoming, President Trump will just have to have Cristeta Comerford, who has served as executive chef since 2005, burn his steaks for him instead.