Ex-White House Chef Missing

Published: June 21, 2015

Ex-White House Chef Missing, Authorities resumed a search by air and ground Saturday in a New Mexico mountain range for a former White House chef who has now been missing for a week.

New Mexico State Police spokeswoman Elizabeth Armijo said the agency plans to exhaust all resources to conduct an extensive search for 61-year-old Walter Scheib, the White House chef for 11 years under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush

Scheib recently moved from Florida to Taos and reportedly went for a hike June 13 in the mountains near the Taos Ski Valley. His girlfriend reported him missing the next day. Taos police found his vehicle Tuesday parked at the Yerba Canyon trailhead. The 4-mile trail follows a canyon bottom before climbing to 3,700 feet in elevation, according to the U.S. Forest Service website.

The U.S. Air Force and the New Mexico National Guard are assisting in the search. An air search has been made difficult with the presence of high mountain peaks, deep canyons and dense vegetation. The rough terrain has also made the ground search harder.

Scheib, who graduated from New York’s Culinary Institute of America in 1979 and later worked at grand hotels in Florida and West Virginia, became White House executive chef in April 1994 when First Lady Hillary Clinton hired him.

He was in charge of a full-time staff of five and oversaw a part-time staff of 20. Scheib was known for refocusing the White House kitchen on distinctly American cuisine with seasonal ingredients and contemporary flavors. He was responsible for preparing everything from First Family meals to formal State Dinners.

Last month, Scheib cooked dinner for a cancer charity’s fundraiser at a hotel in Scranton, Pennsylvania. He told the Times Leader newspaper that preparing meals at the White House had required him to have a different outlook on food and cooking.

“When you’re working at the White House, it’s not a hotel or a restaurant, or a private club. It’s a personal home,” Scheib said. “Our goal wasn’t just to cook food at the White House, it was to give the First Family an island of normal in a very, very crazy world.”

His creations were served to many world leaders including Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac, Vicente Fox, Nelson Mandela and Boris Yeltsin.

Scheib left the White House in 2005 when Laura Bush let him go. He became a food consultant and speaker, often entertaining guests with anecdotes from his time at the White House. He also appeared on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” show in 2006.

Scheib also wrote a book about his experiences entitled “White House Chef: Eleven Years, Two Presidents, One Kitchen.” It was published in 2007.

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