Roland Mesnier, the French-born longtime pastry chef at the White House whose whimsical confections served five American presidents, has died at age 78, a historical association said.
The culinary master — who joined the presidential mansion’s staff in 1979 under Jimmy Carter and worked there until his 2004 retirement during George W. Bush’s presidency — died Friday “following a short illness,” the White House Historical Association said on its website.
“I have such fond memories of Chef Mesnier,” former first lady Hillary Clinton said Saturday in a Twitter post that included a photograph of her and Mesnier standing next to some of his gingerbread holiday pieces.
“He loved making people smile with his beautiful creations, including his famous gingerbread houses at Christmas,” she added. “He will be missed!”
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute also expressed condolences about Mesnier’s passing, noting he had served as White House executive pastry chef for 25 years.
“His passion, commitment, and love for his work will always be remembered,” the foundation said.
Mesnier, born in Bonnay, a small village in eastern France, died in the US state of Virginia following complications from cancer, according to The Washington Post, which quoted his son George.
Born into a modest family of nine children, he had worked in large hotels in Germany, Britain and Bermuda before first lady Rosalynn Carter hired him in 1979.