Serves: 5



All my life I wanted to follow the two hundred year old Hanny tradition by becoming part of it. I wanted my name indelibly stamped on our restaurant and its fine reputation.

My family owned restaurants in the Buffalo area for that many years and being the eldest I was expected to follow those before me. My Father and Grandfather both agreed if I were to succeed I must become a Chef. And become one I did. Many years of training, starting at 14, hopping a bus after school to Dad’s La Marque Restaurant on Delaware Avenue—then the garden district of the city— to work with some of the finest chefs in the country.

My apprenticeship started with my father’s Executive Chef, Jean Citheral, and his Sous Chef Klaiber Prequoxe. When finished for the night I would quietly climb the back stairs to the office and do my homework, then Dad would drive me home. This lasted for years and years until finally I earned the privilege of the title of Master Chef. I was twenty years old. When I add up the years it had taken I could have acquired a medical degree quicker. The difference being I wanted to be a chef and a restaurateur.

Back in ’62 at the age of twenty three I was invited to the White house by the Canadian Food Journal to interview President and Mrs. Kennedy and their Chef Rene Verdon. I raced to Toronto for a meeting with the editor at the time, a Mr. George Rogers, who was interested in me as a contributing journalist. He had heard about my hobby—collecting the likes and dislikes of foods of different heads of state, kings and queens, plus a few dictators thrown into the mix—and felt it would make for an interesting story. So off I went to see the President and I never wanted to come back, but had to because of responsibilities back home with my family’s business. I therefore settled to becoming a visiting Chef at the White House for several years, mostly with Presidents Kennedy and Johnson.

A visiting Chef is someone who is called when needed, or someone who knows the likes, dislikes and possible strange eating habits of the honored guest. I helped with both. I would fly back and forth when requested, and enjoyed the best years of my life.

My interest in the White House, the Presidents and their history has never waned. As a matter of fact I love it “more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow.” I will never get enough of the protocol, the pomp and circumstance, and the priceless reward—the great feeling that I always enjoy at the end of the day.

My other interest is in writing. Hence “SECRETS FROM THE WHITE HOUSE KITCHENS”, “ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL”, and soon to be released, “THE THIRD OPTION”, and “LUCIFER’S TROPHY”.

“SECRETS” however is my first book and my first love. It was awarded the National Press Club’s book selection of the year. This revision is even better than the first thanks to some real pros who have added exquisite color photos and additional information for your enjoyment. Working with these talented people was a real honor and I will not forget them. Please enjoy the recipes and food and, as importantly, the Presidents I served—Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton. Enjoy too stories about, and the food served to, those Presidents I met through the pages of history books, newspapers, magazines and television.

Bon Apetit!

John R. Hanny

This Forward recipe is from the Secrets from the White House Kitchens Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

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