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2015 Winter Issue 2 (January 23, 2015)

White House “Crust Master” Shares Recipe for Success

January 24, 2015
By Jessica Lartigue

Between January 15-18, Bill Yosses, former White House Ex- ecutive Pastry Chef, nicknamed “the crust master,” hosted two events on campus “Baking for Presidents” and “Cooking, Science and Extraterrestials: A Menu for Aliens”, alongside Firebellies. Although Bill has worked closely with the White House staff and Michelle Obama, he decided to direct his attention towards food education, especially with young people.

Vayu Maini Rekdal ‘15, president of Firebellies, met Bill this past summer while doing biochemistry research at Harvard. After meeting up and talking, they realized that they had a common interest: using cooking as a means of communicating scientific concepts and methods while advocating for healthy eating.

“I reached out to him and we agreed to collaborate in planning what might have been by far the tastiest residency in Carleton history,” Rekdal said.

Over the weekend, over 100 people, including students, faculty, and staff attended the baking workshop in which Bill taught the techniques for making the perfect pie. At Saturday’s public lecture, over 300 people showed up from all over Minnesota.

“It was wonderful to see the mix of people and understand how relevant food is to each one of us. And through our many meetings with Bill, Firebellies, Young Chefs, and all the faculty and staff who support our organization, we catalyzed many new relationships and built important partnerships for the future. To see that Firebellies has grown from an informal gathering of foodies to a large organization like this confirmed for me that it’s only our own imagination that will limit how far the organization will go,” said Rekdal.

He continued, “Aside from enabling tremendous culinary and creative experiences for students, faculty, and staff, this visit [helped] people understand just how interconnected science and cooking is, and that understanding food on the molecular scale can have universal implications. More broadly, this represents an important starting point for integrating Firebellies into a broader network of scientists, chefs, and social entrepreneurs who are working towards the same goal; to change the way we consume and think about what we eat.”

Similar to Rekdal, Yosses’ passion for culinary arts is also interconnected with science and self-expression. His departure from the White House has opened up a way to impact people in other ways.

“In hindsight, it is a journey that I could not have predicted but looking at it now makes sense. I studied French language in college and loved the way language revealed our deepest roots and the mechanics of our personality, culture and expression. Those same messages are what brought me to food,” Yosses said. “Although I had studied art and literature I came to believe that the so-called chemical senses, smell and taste, could also be powerful mediums to communicate. So taste and smell became my vehicle for expression and particularly through desserts, the most memorable of foods.”

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