No, White House pastry chef didn't quit because Michelle Obama is anti-cream

Some of the headlines announcing the departure of the White House pastry chef have given the impression that Bill Yosses is tired of Michelle Obama forcing him to cook healthy food.

Evan Vucci/AP
White House Executive Pastry Chef William Yosses holds a dessert tray during a press preview in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Feb. 10, 2014, ahead of the State Dinner for French President François Hollande.

Did the White House pastry chef quit because he’s tired of Michelle Obama forcing him to cook healthy food? That’s the impression you’d get if you looked at some of the headlines announcing kitchen-meister Bill Yosses’s departure. We won’t name names, but a number of publications have run some variation of “White House pastry chef resigns: ‘I don’t want to demonize cream, butter, sugar and eggs.’ ”

OK, that one came direct from The Daily Caller, we admit.

The story goes on to note that Mr. Yosses did begin replacing some dairy-based ingredients in his confections and has used new-style ingredients honey and agave in the Obama White House years. But it also says he was never fully invested in this new policy, and it has the “demonize” quote from above.

But that’s only part of the reason the chef is leaving. And the full story kind of belies the narrative of the “demonize” frame. It’s just one example of how in today’s Twitter-fueled media, themes arise quickly to fit partisan narratives.

Yosses has been White House pastry chef since 2007. President Obama’s nickname for him is “Crust Master.” He gave a lengthy phone interview to Marian Burros of The New York Times upon the announcement of his departure. Its lead notes that the first lady is indeed the reason – but because she’s piqued his interest in the relationship between food and health.

Yosses said he’s moving to New York after he departs the White House in June and hopes to put together a foundation or some sort of organization that promotes "delicious food as healthy food,” according to the Times. There are also family reasons for the change: His husband of three years, Charlie Jandusay Fabella Jr., lives in New York.

Yosses said that he thinks food knowledge, as in the culinary arts, should be taught in schools. He added that for formal occasions, 20 percent of desserts are still old-style cream-heavy and that he does not want to “demonize” the ingredients that go into those, given their tastiness. But he has worked with Mrs. Obama to add fruit purée and other healthier ingredients that are still appetizing.

“She has done it with humor and goodwill, without preaching,” Yosses told the Times.

Does that sound like somebody leaving in a huff because doughnuts are forbidden? TheBlaze, Glenn Beck’s media venture, does not think so. Blaze writer Oliver Darcy did a quick rumor check and decided that Yosses's admitted fondness for cream was not why he’s leaving.

The first lady is to blame only in that she’s inspired him, as he said, according to the Blaze.

“If evidence exists that Yosses left for other reasons, none has been presented thus far,” Mr. Darcy writes.

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