The man who served as the White House’s pastry chef for five presidents died last month at the age of 78.
Last week, the White House Historical Association confirmed that Roland Mesnier died on August 26 following a short illness.
First hired in 1979 by then-First Lady Rosalynn Carter, Mesnier was one of the longest-serving White House chefs in history, spending more than 25 years creating desserts for White House parties, receptions, and state dinners.
It was Mesnier who created the elaborate gingerbread houses that were featured in the White House’s Christmas decorations every year.
Mesnier was born in France and began his career as a pastry chef at the age of 14, when he became an apprentice at the Patisserie Maurivard in Bescançon, France.
He then worked in Paris and the German cities of Hamburg and Hanover before joining the Savoy hotel in London. In 1967, Mesnier was working as the pastry chef in a hotel in Bermuda when he met a vacationing West Virginia school teacher who later became his wife.
Ten years later, Mesnier was working at a resort in Virginia when he learned the Carter White House was looking for a new pastry chef.
He retired from the White House in 2004.
Shortly after his retirement, Mesnier said in an interview that during his time in the White House, he learned that Democrats eat more than Republicans and women eat more pastries than men.
Mesnier is survived by a son.