From Bay Village to the White House

Bay Village native Susan Morrison, pictured here sharing a laugh with Jill Biden, serves as the executive pastry chef at the White House.

Bay Village native Susan Morrison made history last year. That November she was appointed to executive pastry chef at the White House, becoming the first woman to hold that position.

Morrison first began working at the White House in 1995 as a contract pastry employee, and was appointed to assistant pastry chef in 2002. In addition to her other duties, she tended the White House bee hive and kitchen garden, two tasks she will carry on in her new role.

As executive pastry chef, Morrison is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operation of the pastry kitchen in the Executive Residence, as well as creating and executing dessert menus for all social events at the White House including receptions, luncheons and state dinners.

And of course, there’s the construction of the annual White House gingerbread house. This year’s structure is made of 250 pounds of gingerbread, covered in 150 pounds of dark chocolate. Morrison and her staff used another 75 pounds of sugar to create the many decorations, including trees, wreaths, Santa Claus and his reindeer.

The gingerbread house was officially unveiled with the rest of the White House’s festive decor by first lady Michelle Obama in early December. Morrison’s creation was the star of the show a week later at the annual White House congressional ball. U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur was eager to meet the chef who hails from her district and compliment Morrison on her career achievements – and the mammoth confection.

"Chef Morrison sets a wonderful example for the young people of Northern Ohio,” Rep. Kaptur said in a statement. “Her success shows how much the people of our region can achieve when we have the passion, creativity and work ethic needed to follow our dreams. And her gingerbread White House is a sight to see.”

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Volume 7, Issue 24, Posted 9:35 AM, 12.15.2015