Sunday, December 6, 2015

Praline Bakery & Bistro Hosts Book Signing for "The White House in Gingerbread"

From our friends at Praline Bakery & Bistro...

The White House in Gingerbread

Former White House Chef Roland Mesnier to appear for book signing & demo

Former White House Executive Pastry Chef, Roland Mesnier, along with Chef Mark Ramsdell join Praline Bakery & Bistro for a book signing of their The White House in Gingerbread (White House Historical Association - September 29, 2015. ISBN-13: 978-1931917476) on December 19, 2015 from 3-5:00 PM. Reservations are required, as the event is limited to 50 guests. Click here to make your reservation.

The program will include Roland Mesnier’s stories of White House Gingerbread Houses he’s built, co-author Mark Ramsdell’s demonstration of Gingerbread House building, anecdotes from the chefs and mini pastries created by Praline Bakery and Bistro’s owners, Patrick Musel and Susan Limb, who worked with Chef Mesnier in the White House Pastry kitchen. Hot chocolate, tea and coffee will also be served. The event is priced at $25 without the book included; $55 per person, which includes a copy of the book which can be autographed by the chefs as well as a DIY take home Gingerbread House kit.

In The White House in Gingerbread, a memoir and cookbook, Roland Mesnier, executive pastry chef to five presidents, tells the story behind each of the holiday gingerbread houses he created for display in the White House State Dining Room. Chef Mesnier also provides step-by-step instructions and templates for constructing and decorating a gingerbread house in the home kitchen. During the holidays, thousands of guests are served freshly made cookies and desserts at buffet events and private receptions. More than thirty of Chef Mesnier's White House favorite holiday recipes are featured, including such cookies as coconut chocolate squares and linzer stars and trees; traditional desserts such as buche de Noel, fruit cake, and egg nog; cakes and soufflés such as orange sabayon, spice cake, and gingerbread soufflé; and lastly, meringues, mousses, fillings, frozen desserts, and fresh fruit.

Roland Mesnier has been pastry chef for five presidents. One of nine children born to a family in rural, post-World War II France, he began his career as a pastry apprentice at the age of 12 and made his way up, working at the world's most prestigious hotels. In 1979, First Lady Rosalynn Carter hired him as head pastry chef at the White House. During his twenty-five years there, he created stunning desserts for more than forty queens, kings, princes, princesses, and heads of state, and he was beloved for his famous series of gingerbread houses displayed in the State Dining Room each Christmas holiday. He continues to educate expert and novice bakers about his craft with his books, and he travels around the world teaching pastry techniques and sharing fond memories of life at the White House. Among his many books is A Sweet World of White House Desserts published by the White House Historical Association in 2011.

Mark Ramsdell has been a pastry chef and instructor for more than thirty years. In 1982 he began an eight-year professional pastry apprenticeship with Roland Mesnier at L'Academie de Cuisine and served as its director and head instructor from 1990 to 2008. Chef Ramsdell worked at the White House as pastry assistant to Chef Mesnier during the William Jefferson Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, when he assisted with the construction of the annual gingerbread showpiece and the preparation of the holiday desserts. His continuing work to design and produce gingerbread showpieces has included models of Mount Vernon and the White House as well as pastillage centerpieces for events at the French Embassy. He now researches nautical cooking and continues to develop instructional texts on large gingerbread showpieces, architectural pastillage, and petits gateaux.

About Patrick Musel:
Patrick Musel, co-owner of Praline Bakery in Bethesda, MD first knew he wanted to be a pastry chef at the young age of six, when he saw a Napoleon pastry in the window of pastry shop on his way to school. He went on to Les Diguieres in Grenoble, France, where he earned his CAP and BEP in Culinary Arts. He had numerous positions as pastry chef throughout Europe, including the renowned  Negresco Hotel in Nice, France, working under Jacques Maximin, the Hotel du Rhone in Geneva, Switzerland and the Casino in Cannes, France. He came to the United States in 1979 and was immediately recognized as a talented pastry chef and hired by Philippe Laurier at Palais des Friandise. From there, he moved onto renowned French restaurants of the time, such as Lion d’Or, Maison Blanche, and Place Vendome as well as the French Embassy. Patrick was then hired by the Ritz-Carlton Hotels as Executive Pastry Chef in Laguna Nigel, California. During his tenure there, the hotel earned a Five Star Five Diamond rating by AAA. After the Ritz-Carlton Hotels, he went on as Executive Pastry Chef at Sutton Place Gourmet, which at the time had six retail stores in the region. While at Sutton Place, he was called by White House Executive Pastry Chef, Roland Mesnier to work part time at the Executive Residence. While working at the White House, he met Susan Limb, his current business partner, and they opened Praline Bakery in Bethesda 2006.

About Susan Limb:
Susan Limb is co-owner of Praline Bakery & Bistro in Bethesda, Maryland. She graduated from the University of California, Irvine and was attending graduate school at Georgetown University, when she decided to attend pastry school at L'Academie de Cuisine. It was while learning to make croissant that she decided to make pastry her career. After graduating from Georgetown and L'academie, she went on to work for Roland Mesnier at the White House. There, she met her business partner and co-owner Patrick Musel. Susan worked with Patrick in various kitchens such as Marvelous Market and Filomena Ristorante in Georgetown until 2006 when Praline opened.

Praline Bakery & Bistro is located in The Shops at Sumner Place at 4611 Sangamore Road in Bethesda. It is open for lunch Monday-Friday from 11 AM to 2:30 PM; Dinner daily from 5-9:30 PM and for Saturday and Sunday brunch from 10 AM to 3 PM. The bakery is open Monday-Friday from 8 AM to 8 PM and Saturday and Sunday from 8 AM to 7 PM. For further information or reservations, call (301) 229-8180 or online at Praline Bakery will be opening in Virginia’s Mosaic District later this year.