Born into a family of nine children in the tiny village of Bonnay, France, Roland Mesnier discovered his vocation by accident on a summer day at the age of twelve. Apprenticing to his older brother Jean, Roland began working at the local patisserie in exchange for room and board. From there he was hired as the pastry sous chef at the iconic Savoy Hotel in London, then was hired as the Executive Pastry Chef at what is now the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris. He then spent nine years at the legendary Princess Bermuda resort where he met his wife, Martha. Chef Mesnier came to the U.S. in April 1976 as Executive Pastry Chef at The Homestead, a venerable resort hotel in Hot Springs, Virginia.
Hired in 1979 by first lady Rosalyn Carter, Roland Mesnier became the first ever non-American to serve in the White House and went on to become the longest tenured chef ever – pastry or culinary – in the history of the White House
He developed and taught the first professional Pastry Arts Program at L’Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda, MD – currently ranked in the Top 10 Culinary schools in the U.S. Chef Mesnier has won 18 Gold medals, 4 Silver and 3 Bronze for his pastry creations in competitions around the world. He is a member of the Academie Culinaire de France and the recipient of many awards and accolades which include: the French Legion of Honor in 2005 – the highest honor bestowed on a French citizen; that same year he was inducted into the Chocolate and Pastry Hall of Fame. He was awarded a Doctorate of Culinary Arts from the prestigious Johnson & Wales University in South Carolina. He is the author of three books, Dessert University, Basic to Beautiful Cakes and All the Presidents Pastries: A Memoir. He is currently at work on a fourth book, A Sweet World of White House Desserts, this one in conjunction with the White House Historical Association, scheduled for release in fall of 2011.
While Chef Mesnier retired from the White House in 2006, he still travels the U.S. and around the world giving speeches, judging pastry competitions and participating in fund-raising events and book signings.
Visit his website www.chefrolandmesnier.com for more information, pictures of his work and to subscribe to his monthly newsletter.