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Recipes from the President's Ranch: Home Cooking as Diplomacy

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Friday, November 5, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0178
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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Matthew Wendel

Chef Matthew Wendel spent many years working for President George W. Bush and his family at Camp David and at their Texas home, Prairie Chapel Ranch. His signature hot cinnamon rolls and fried chicken were Bush family favorites, and while smoked beef tenderloin, stacked enchiladas, hot rolls, soups, and plenty of fresh salads were staples for the Bushes, cheeseburgers became a tradition for their luncheons with world leaders at the ranch. Providing wholesome, delicious, comforting food to guests was their way of saying "Welcome. We're glad you are here."

In a program that features a film about Wendel, a live interview, and an extended audience Q&A session, he shares recipes, photographs, stories, and memories of daily life as the personal chef and personal assistant to the president, as well as a career in which he served in positions at the State Department and the Office of Presidential Advance.

He also gives a behind-the-scenes look at how he prepared for visits by heads of state and shopped for the Bushes, providing a unique window into the hard work, detail, and protocol involved in working for the first family and how the president welcomed world leaders using both his home and the power of sharing a meal in an intimate setting as a bridge-building diplomatic tool.

Wendel is currently assistant chief of protocol and general manager of Blair House. His new book, Recipes from the President's Ranch: Food People Like to Eat (White House Historical Association) is available for sale.

Book Sale Information

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