In part, Hamilton Hotel Washington D.C. is deliciously marking its 100th birthday with a former White House pastry chef.
Bill Yosses served in this culinary role during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. Now in late 2022, Yosses will serve in a “Centennial Confectioner Residency” with the Hamilton Hotel and will participate in two culinary events in December.
On Thursday, Dec. 8, from 5 to 7 p.m., Yosses will lead a baking class at the hotel titled “Sweeten the Season.” Guests can chat with Yosses at a meet and greet following the event. He will then also sign copies of his latest book, “The Sweet Spot: Dialing Back Sugar and Amping Up Flavor.”
For Hamilton Hotel’s annual hot cocoa table, from December 12 through December 16, 2022, Yosses will share the history of chocolate and sweet facts about the process of chocolate making. He will also share some holiday recipes.
In 2006, Yosses moved to our nation’s capital and lived a block over from the hotel on McPherson Square in downtown Washington, D.C.
“I was contacted by the hotel when they were planning their 100h anniversary,” said Yosses. “I was connected to the White House and to the history of the area. And I’m a history buff myself. So, on a personal level as well, I felt very flattered to be asked to join this particular residency.”
His residency at Hamilton Hotel kicked off in early November 2022. To mark the occasion, Yosses created a miniature Scottish Dundee cake as a turn-down amenity of all of the hotel’s guests staying onsite on the night of November 1st.
“The guests were given one as they checked in,” added Yosses.
Yosses has much experience in baking for guests. He was the White House Executive Pastry Chef from 2007 to 2014. He succeeded his predecessor, the late Roland Mesnier, who held this role for just over 25 years and for five presidents. Roland Mesnier retired from the role in 2004.
Being considered for this job was a bit of a surprise for Yosses. He said that was contacted for the position and then participated in a baking tryout when he added he was chosen for the job.
Yossess explained that his job responsibilities as White House Executive Pastry Chef involved planning and preparing desserts for occasions ranging from presidential banquets and state dinners, to daily meals for the presidential families.
In his seven-year role, Yossess said his biggest challenge was not to repeat a dessert. “Every event had an original dessert in some way,” he recalled. “It was adapted to be personalized for the people who were coming that day. So you have to remain very creative, get a lot of input, [and] do a lot of research.”
For Yossess, his greatest test would involve presidential state dinners. “You want to satisfy the visitor, and their idea of what maybe a dessert would be, but also you want to be attentive and mindful of the American repertoire of desserts. So often we would combine American traditional desserts with an ingredient from the visiting country.”
President Barack Obama’s first presidential state dinner welcomed His Excellency Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of the Republic of India, and his wife, Mrs. Gursharan Kaur. Yossess remembered making a spiced pumpkin pie with ingredients such as garam masala.
While at the White House, he worked closely with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative to improve health outcomes related to food issues and was responsible for managing the First Lady’s South Lawn garden.
His resume also includes The Dressing Room in Westport, Connecticut and the Bouley Restaurant in New York City. He was also the owner and chef of the restaurant Palais, also in New York City. He authored three books and co-hosted the Hulu TV series, “Baker’s Dozen.”
Now residing in New York, Yossess is presently the chief nutritional officer of One World One Kitchen. He also works at Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, involved in educational trips and workshops centered on healthier eating choices for children.
In addition to this partnership with Yossess, Hamilton Hotel will offer a Centennial Celebration Package with rates as low as $19.22 – an homage to the property’s opening in 1922. Rates start at $19.22 for the first 10 bookings and then $100 for the subsequent 20 bookings. It also includes complimentary birthday cake martinis from the hotel restaurant, Via Sophia, and a glass of bubbly upon check-in.