Cristina Pacia Comerford (b. 1962 - ) is the first woman and first Filipina to serve as executive chef in the U.S. White House.
Early life and education
Christina was born and raised in Sampaloc, Manila. Her father, Honesto, was a school principal who came from Cuenca, Batangas and her mother, Erlinda, was a dress and uniform shop owner who hailed from San Rafael, Bulacan. She is the second youngest of 11 children. She graduated high school from the Manila Science High School She studied Food Technology at the University of the Philippines-Diliman but was not able to finish her course due to her family's emigration in the United States.
Christina's brother Juanito was the first one to migrate to the U.S. and petition them to join him. She now lives in Columbia, Maryland with her husband John, and their daughter Danielle.
Comerford first worked in Vienna, Austria as a “revolving chef” at Le Ciel before going to the U.S. and pursuing a professional career in cooking. She worked as a chef in Chicago' Sheraton and Hyatt Regency hotels. She then moved to Washington D.C. While in Washington, she worked as a chef at Le Grande Bistro Restaurant at the Westin Hotel and also at the Colonnade at the ANA Hotel.
White House Chef
In 1995, she was discovered by then President Bill Clinton's chef, Walter Scheib and was hired as an assistant chef for the White House. Ten years later, Scheib resigned and then First Lady Laura Bush appointed Comerford as executive chef. When President Bush's term of office expired, speculations on who will take over the White House Kitchen. It came as a surprise when President Obama, current President of the United States, chose to retain Comerford as the White House executive chef.
"Cristeta Comerford brings such incredible talent to the White House operation and came very highly regarded from the Bush family. Also the mom of a young daughter, I appreciate our shared perspective on the importance of healthy eating and healthy families. I look forward to working with her in the years to come." -- Michelle Obama
"Her passion for cooking can be tasted in every bite of her delicious creations." -- Laura Bush
"I cannot miss the chance to talk about one export that has risen to the top of her game and does the Philippines proud -- Cristeta Comerford, who is now the most visible chef in the world as the new Executive Chef for the White House in Washington, DC. Congratulations, Cristeta!" -- Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
- Successful Immigrants Immigration.about.com (Accessed on 29 July 2009)
- Comerford Cooking for the Chief in the White House Pinoyoverseas.net (Accessed on 29 June 2009)
- Cristeta Comerford Hawaii.gov (Accessed on 29 July 2009)
- Cristeta Comerford to remain as White House Chef Huffingtonpost.com (Accessed on 29 July 2009)
- Cristeta Comerford Mahalo.com (Accessed on 29 July 2009)
- 20 Global Pinoys. Metro Magazine. June 2009