Bush thanks Philippines for Pinay White House chef

(I guess we should be proud that the person who heads the White House kitchen is Pinay. Still, we can’t help this feeling of ambivalence and simply be amazed at the reach of our overseas ‘domestics’. Tsk tsk. Like we said, we’re a bit torn on this piece of ‘good news’.)
(AP) HANOI, Vietnam: There was much that U.S. President George W. Bush had to thank key anti-terror ally the Philippines for, but there was one thing that literally was close to his heart — or is that the stomach?

During discussions Saturday with seven Southeast Asian heads of state, the talk drifted from terrorism to bird flu, trade, Thailand and Myanmar until Bush broke the seriousness.

Returning thanks from Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for various areas of help, Bush praised the robust ties between the U.S. and its longtime ally, then cheerfully disclosed the reason for the slight bulge around his midsection.

“It goes beyond that,” Philippine Trade Secretary Peter Favila quoted Bush as describing the robust ties between Manila and Washington.

“Even the one who cooks for me in the White House is a Filipino and I’m very, very proud of this person,” Bush said.

“If you’ve noticed the paunch, it’s because the food is very, very good,” Bush was quoted as saying by Philippine presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye. Arroyo and the other leaders broke into laughter.

Bush was talking about Cristeta Comerford, a naturalized U.S. citizen from the Philippines who worked for a decade in the White House’s kitchen until Laura Bush announced her promotion to chief cook last year.

Mrs. Bush said then that Comerford’s “passion for cooking can be tasted in every bite of her delicious creations.”

Comerford, the first female White House chef, made her official culinary debut in October 2005 when she prepared lunch and three dinner courses for Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, who made their first visit to the United States after tying the knot a few months before.

cromford232.jpgThe Pinay chef mentioned is Cristeta Comerford, the executive chef at the White House.

The 42-year-old Comerford, a veteran of the White House kitchen for 10 years, was selected last August by US First Lady Laura Bush after screening hundreds of applicants for six months.

She was described as even-tempered and unflappable by her predecessor Walter Scheib.

Comerford was born Cristeta Gomez Pasia on Oct. 27, 1962. Her father, Honesto, was an assistant principal in a public elementary school in Manila while her mother, Erlinda, was a homemaker.

She finished grade school at the Padre Gomez Elementary School in Sta. Cruz, Manila and her secondary education at the Manila Science High School.

Comerford studied food technology at the University of the Philippines in Diliman in 1979.

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