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All the President's Menus

Cover of All the President's Menus

All the President's Menus

White House Chef Mystery, Book 8

It's an old adage that too many cooks spoil the broth. But when a tour of the White House kitchen by a group of foreign chefs ends in murder, it's Olivia Paras who finds herself in the soup...

Due to a government sequester, entertaining at the White House has been severely curtailed. So executive chef Olivia Paras is delighted to hear that plans are still on to welcome a presidential candidate from the country of Saardisca—the first woman to run for office—and four of that nation's top chefs.

But while leading the chefs on a kitchen tour, pastry chef Marcel passes out suddenly—and later claims he was drugged. When one of the visiting chefs collapses and dies, it's clear someone has infiltrated the White House with ill intent. Could it be an anti-Saardiscan zealot? Is the candidate a target? Are the foreign chefs keeping more than their recipes a secret? Once again, Olivia must make sleuthing the special of the day...

It's an old adage that too many cooks spoil the broth. But when a tour of the White House kitchen by a group of foreign chefs ends in murder, it's Olivia Paras who finds herself in the soup...

Due to a government sequester, entertaining at the White House has been severely curtailed. So executive chef Olivia Paras is delighted to hear that plans are still on to welcome a presidential candidate from the country of Saardisca—the first woman to run for office—and four of that nation's top chefs.

But while leading the chefs on a kitchen tour, pastry chef Marcel passes out suddenly—and later claims he was drugged. When one of the visiting chefs collapses and dies, it's clear someone has infiltrated the White House with ill intent. Could it be an anti-Saardiscan zealot? Is the candidate a target? Are the foreign chefs keeping more than their recipes a secret? Once again, Olivia must make sleuthing the special of the day...
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  • From the book CHAPTER 1

    As executive chef at the White House, I was responsible for feeding the First Family and—whether they be friend or foe—all the home's guests. I took my duties to heart, and was exceedingly proud of my team and the small part we played in shaping our country's history.

    My role at the White House had evolved over the years, much to the Secret Service's dismay. Through no fault of my own (well, most of the time) I'd been entangled in situations involving enemies of the president, international assassins, and those who attempted to conspire against the United States. Armed with stubborn tenacity and more than a bit of good luck, I'd had a hand in seeing justice served, and even saved a few lives in the process.

    It had been suggested, more than once, that President and Mrs. Hyden find less of a troublemaker to head up their kitchen. But the First Family liked me and what I brought to the table, both literally and figuratively.

    Several months ago, Special Agent in Charge, Leonard Gavin—Gav—and I had gotten married in a surprise ceremony here in the White House. Surrounded by friends and family as we exchanged vows, my life changed forever. After the ceremony, during the sweet reception that my assistants, Bucky and Cyan, had arranged for us, I'd endured countless good-natured barbs about how, now that I'd "settled down," perhaps my terrorist-fighting days were over.

    And maybe they were.

    Since our wedding day, life had been very, very quiet. And truly, I had no quarrel with that. If I never went into hand-to-hand combat, if I never faced another barrel of a gun, if I was never again left bound and gagged with no chance of escape, well, I wasn't about to complain.

    I rested my chin in one hand, elbow perched on the White House kitchen's gleaming countertop. The fingers of my other hand beat out a non-rhythm of impatience against the shiny stainless steel.

    It's not that I craved life-threatening adventure. Not at all. But right about now I would have appreciated a little diversion.

    Unfortunately, however, we were in the middle of a government sequester. State dinners had been delayed, parties canceled, and visitors put off until our country's leadership got its act together.

    Staring at the clock, waiting for Bucky to return from an errand, I reflected on the boredom that loomed ahead. I longed for a challenge. I hungered for the excitement that came from planning a state dinner—the kind that kept guests talking for years, regaling envious friends with descriptions of mouthwatering appetizers and luxurious entrees. I ached to collaborate with the florist, the sommelier, and of course, Marcel, our executive pastry chef who could dream up a dessert that was as spectacular as it was sweet.

    My skin practically crawled, itching for the president and First Lady to announce that a hundred guests were expected for dinner tomorrow night. I wouldn't have minded, even if they demanded we serve a seven-course meal. I would have gone insane with preparation, of course, but that was far more appealing than the doldrums we were facing now.

    Most of all, I wanted Cyan back.

    Until the country's situation improved, a number of "nonessential" members of the White House staff were on furlough—among them, Cyan. I certainly didn't consider her nonessential. Quite the opposite. But when the government decided to slash salaries, they neglected to seek my counsel.

    Bucky and I were doing our best to keep the kitchen operating efficiently, which—to be fair—wasn't difficult, given the ripple effect the sequester was having on entertainment. I thanked my lucky stars Bucky...

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White House Chef Mystery, Book 8
Julie Hyzy
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