Meet the Chef Behind “Dining At The White House”
Chef John Moeller is a member of an elite corps of chefs, those who have served in the White House preparing très soigné cuisine for presidents, First Families, and their guests, including visiting Heads of State. Chef to three First Families, including President George H.W. Bush, President William Jefferson Clinton, and President George W. Bush, Chef Moeller joined the White House kitchen in 1992 as sous chef to Pierre Chambrin and later Walter Scheib, eventually acting as White House Chef in 2005. Over the course of his career in the White House, he focused on creating unique and one-of-a-kind dishes that relied on fresh and flavorful ingredients. Chef Moeller grew up in the heart of Amish country in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. What started in high school as a passion for cooking led to his decision to pursue a culinary degree from Johnson and Wales College in Providence, Rhode Island. He graduated cum laude in 1981. After working in several restaurants in the New England area, in 1984, John took a trip to France that became a two-and-a-half-year journey of discovery, working his way across the region and studying the fundamentals of French cuisine under some of the finest French chefs, including Chef M. Poinsot of Chez Camille and Michelin Star-awarded Chef Bernard Loiseau. His time in France also included a brief stint working in the Domaine Michelot vineyards for one of France’s most popular winemakers. From France, Chef Moeller traveled to St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he experimented with Caribbean flavors and ingredients to complement his mastery of classical French cooking.
He moved to Washington, D.C., in 1987, and a chance meeting led to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Many of the French-trained chefs working in the nation’s capital got together regularly for networking events. On one of these occasions at the Mayflower Hotel, he met Chef Pierre Chambrin of Maison Blanche.
Chambrin would later become a White House Executive Chef for the Bush Administration, hiring Chef Moeller as his sous chef. After President Clinton took office, Chef Walter Scheib took over as Executive Chef and retained Chef Moeller in the sous chef position. After Walter Scheib departed, Chef Moeller moved to acting White House Chef during President George W. Bush’s second term. He served in the White House from September 1992 until 2005—one of the longest-tenured chefs across three administrations.
During his tenure, he helped create and prepare meals for the First Families, for world leaders like Tony Blair and Nelson Mandela, for famous guests like Julia Child and Sophia Loren, and for holiday parties and trips to Camp David.
Throughout his career, John has developed his signature style of cuisine based on innovative menus that take advantage of fresh seasonal produce and create first-class presentations of the finished dish.
“One of my greatest satisfactions as a chef is presenting a first-class meal and seeing the enjoyment that it brings to the diners and the goodwill and friendship that it promotes.” —
Chef Moeller has detailed his journey and White House experience in a new book, Dining at the White House—From the President’s Table to Yours that will be published in September 2013. He is currently conducting a book tour and runs State of Affairs Catering in his hometown of Lancaster.
Looking to try some of Chef Moeller's exquisite fare? If you're in Lancaster, PA you can visit Chef Moeller's Restaurant and try some of his cuisine, and you may even meet
Chef Moeller himself!