D.C.

Chef John Moeller tells all about his time in the White House

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Chef John Moeller served presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush during his tenure at the White House, an honor bestowed on only a select few culinary masters.

Now, with a new book out titled "Dining at the White House - From the President's Table to Yours," Moeller is sharing special memories from each administration.

In his 13 years in the White House kitchen as a sous chef, he prepared daily meals and helped create menus for state dinners and special events.

"You kind of pinch yourself sometimes and say, 'Wow, am I really up here?'" he said.

With an emphasis on healthy eating, Chef Moeller served up lots of fresh vegetables, soups and lean proteins. It was his chicken enchiladas and chicken tortilla lime soup, though, that was a hit with people on both sides of the aisle.

"Well-made comfort food is a pleasure to anybody, Democrat or Republican," Moeller said.

Clinton, specifically, raved about his Dutch-style chicken pot pie, always under the watchful eye of Barney, the family dog.

"He was leaning over the platter and eating it, and he looked up, gave me the thumbs up (and said) John, this is the kind of food I like," he said.

Meanwhile, Clinton always would remind the chef that feeding the dog was off limits.

"All of a sudden, he would ram his nose into my ankles," Moeller said. "He'd yell back, 'Nobody better be feeding Barney back there.'"

Other times during the Clinton administration, it was the first daughter that would stop by, but his made-from-scratch macaroni and cheese wasn't the biggest hit for Chelsea Clinton.

"She said, 'That was all well and good, but next time can I have the one from the box?'" Moeller said.

A decade later, Moeller recalls his time in the White House with pride. He says he did his best to keep the first families happily fed and safe - even acting as the de facto "last line of defense."

"We serve the presidency, we don't serve a president," he said. "We're just there to make their time as comfortable as possible."

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