Chefs seem to come and go, but Ward endures...although he almost left when, several years ago, the former President's staff considered him for the White House chef position. Indeed, he was one of three finalists selected from more than 15,000 applicants. Oh, and he did take a three year hiatus to run an award-winning restaurant in New England and spend some months cooking at Taillevent, a Parisian destination bearing three Michelin stars.
But he and his restaurant, Mercury, have become Dallas institutions, picking up top ratings from the likes of Zagat, Gourmet magazine and Food & Wine.
With that kind of work ethic, no wonder Ward manages to keep his favorite snack--barbecued potato chips--out of the kitchen...
1. The President didn't hire you as White House chef, will you still let them in your restaurant?
With open arms.
2. Did you get a chance to work in the White House kitchen?
Yes, I worked in it several times. The one in the residence is small and compact so it is challenging to prepare dinners for large parties.
3. Which foreign leader would you like to cook for?
I enjoyed cooking for Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan and ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher [the latter a $25,000 per plate event] but would love cook for the sitting Prime Minister of England.
4. When you named your restaurant, did you know mercury was poisonous?
No, but then I didn't know Orson Welles is a cinematography group. I do know Mercury is a planet and a famous Roman god.
5. What is your favorite junk food?
Barbecue potato chips
6. Do you keep any stashed at the restaurant?
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7. How come all things that are bad for you taste good?
I like raw tuna but they say it has mercury in it. I think it is interesting from when I lived in France for months working at Taillevent, all French people clean their plates but rarely do you see a fat person in France.
8. If not a chef your dream job would be?
I used to say airline pilot but the world isn't what it used to be.
9. If you could have a super power, you'd pick?
The same one as Nostradamus
10. Would you use it for good or evil?
Good, of course.