A National Security Aide’s Departing Wish: Cooking for the State Dinner

The former White House official resigned on April 8, but came back 16 days later

Michael Anton had one last wish before leaving the White House for good.

Former National Security Council member Michael Anton resigned from his position at the White House on April 8, but before he left, he made one last request — to be allowed to come back and help cook President Trump’s state dinner for French President Emmanuel Macron. Although he was puzzled at first, John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, gave his colleague the green light.

According to The New York Times, Anton — a classically trained chef with a love for French cuisine — was deeply inspired by the recipes in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” which he pored over during graduate school at St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. The now-48-year-old sharpened his skills while working in the Bush White House, but it wasn’t until the Obama era that he enrolled in classes at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. He also labored for free at the institute’s restaurant, L’Ecole, which has since been closed.

“You got yelled at for screwing up,” Anton told The Times. “But I liked the fact that they didn’t let you get away with things.”

This only thickened his skin for the Trump White House, which The Times claims “can mimic the high-decibel chaos of Gordon Ramsay’s kitchen.” But Anton wanted to immerse himself into the madness for one last night. So on April 24, for 45’s first state dinner, the former security aide returned to the White House as a line cook in the kitchen, where he helped prepare lamb racks and jambalaya. The menu emphasized American specialties rather than classical French cuisine, but it was a step up from Trump's favored burgers and Diet Coke.

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