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    [John F. Kennedy]. Chef René Verdon's White House Menus. Contained within a large blue-green binder, Chef René has documented and dated nearly every official luncheon or dinner from March 5, 1961 (when he began dating his menus) through December 5, 1963. On each menu he has included the occasion for the meal, number of guests, and wine list.

    Of note is the last official dinner Kennedy held at the White House before his fateful trip to Dallas, Texas. Occurring on the evening of November 20, 1963, the "dinner" was a judicial reception for 600 guests and included hot hors d'oeuvre, a platter of cold meats, raw vegetables, bread, fruits and pastries, and to drink, rum or grape punch. On the preceding page is a list of all food to be served at the reception and quantity.

    Also of interest are two pages handwritten by Jackie Kennedy, on White House stationary. The pages are undated, but are located between pages dated September 25 and October 2, 1962. The first page, 5" x 8", written in blue ink, to Chef René is a planned meal for six persons for a Tuesday night at 7:15. The first lady has included all details of the meal, mostly in French, from cocktails to dessert. The second page, also 5" x 8", is directed to "Mr. Rundle - Please tell This to ask our Tues nite guests for 6:45 Have caviar canapes & champagne served at cocktails. Here is menu - Our best wishes - " She then gives the full menu, this time in English.

    Chef René Verdon (1924-2011) served as the head chef in the White House from 1961 to 1965. He is praised with having elevated the bland institutional fare previously prepared by naval stewards and caterers. His menus received much media attention showcasing the sophistication of the Kennedy household and solidifying Jackie's reputation for being a Francophile with refined tastes. Verdon first met the Kennedys while working as assistant chef at the Carlyle Hotel, where the Kennedys had a penthouse apartment. Once the Kennedys moved into the White House, Jackie hired Verdon on a temporary basis to provide additional support for the many special events and luncheons following the election. After a few months, he was given a permanent position. After Kennedy's assassination, Verdon stayed on with the Johnsons for two years. Verdon's post-White House years including the publishing of several cookbooks and the opening of a highly regarded restaurant, Le Trianon, in San Francisco in 1972.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2012
    4th-5th Thursday-Friday
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