A Lesson Learned from Chef Mesnier

Yesterday I met Chef Roland Mesnier, the retired Master Pastry Chef of the White House. He worked at the White House for 25 years and served 5 Presidents – Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton and Bush Jr. He told stories of serving the Queens, Heads of State, Senators, Congress Men and parties where over 800 were invited for dinner at the White House. What impacted me the most about him was his desire to please each President he served. He was meticulous about every detail that left his kitchen and did it with excellence for the approval of the President and First Lady whom he served.

He spoke for nearly 3 hours (while also doing a cooking demonstration). He talked about what it was like to help little Amy Carter bake cookies. He talked about Nancy Reagan’s perfectionism and how she demanded that every thing be the best. She was a difficult First Lady to please and often sent him back to the kitchen to remake dessert. Ronald Reagan was a pleasant easy going man who would tease him with his acting skills.

Then he shared about the George Bush Sr. days and how the White House was filled with grand-children and dogs and birthday parties for all the family. He baked many cakes for the family during those days.

Then the Clinton’s came to the white house and the parties went from being around 120 in attendance to up to 800. He had a small kitchen and not a lot of room to store all the desserts he had to prepare over and over for the parties. He recalled serving Bill and Hillary dessert in their private residence separately during some of their marital troubles and what they particularly craved during their down days.

Then George W. Bush Jr. came to the white house along with all the children, dogs and birthday parties again. Chef Mesnier enjoyed seeing the twins all grown up and having the family back in the White House. Laura liked him to make fancy ginger bread houses at Christmas which he worked many long hours on.

It was during the Bush Jr. administration that he chose to retire after 25 years of being at the President and First Ladies beckon call. He said it was an intense job and he saw many many chefs fired over his long career for not pleasing the President and First Lady.

The chefs love for the President whom he served was so clear and as a result he strived hard to please them. Can you imagine standing in the presence of the President and what that must have been like? Do we strive like this to please the one we serve in the same way? We serve someone greater – not the President and First Lady – but the King of Kings and one day we too will stand in his presence. What is it that you offer the Almighty God?
Romans 12:1 says “Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.”

We must make an intentional decision – a deliberate choice to change behaviors and make pleasing God our first priority. Just like weight loss – it doesn’t just happen. We have to make “on purpose” life choices to pursue God and please him. One day we will stand in our King’s presence. Oh how I long to hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matt. 25:23)

Walk with the King!



  1. What a privilege, Courtney, and what a great way to think of Whom and how we serve. Your heart for YOUR Master was alert to think in His terms. Thank you for sharing this great picture with us.

  2. oh thats neat!! I bet that was so interesting to hear him speak! What an opportunity! I cant imagine that job…I always wanted to be a pastry chef b/c I love dessert so much but I'm not nearly a perfectionist and I couldnt stand being told what to do and doing it all over again when it wasnt perfect enough like with Nancy Reagan…that would be tough! It rings true in my spiritual life too…I have a hard time just hearing something in the bible and doing what it says…I dont like to be told what to do and that I'm still not good enough…I struggle with that kind of obediance and submission (also true with my marriage)…I'm just in awe of how this man did it for that long…its a clear reminder to me to keep going and remember who I'm doing it for and why! God should be so much easier to love and serve than the presidents so why is it so hard?Thanks for this story…I enjoyed the perspective.

  3. Hey girl, that is a good photo I took of you and the Chef. hee! It was so much fun!!! Greg made me tell him all about it. He wished he could of listened to him too.

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