Every year, Vincent Horville, Executive Chef of The Metropolitan Club of the City of Washington (D.C.), features this fire-roasted salmon and red curried sweet potato soup as a tribute to his friend and former White House Chef, Walter Scheib, who died in 2015.
Horville worked closely with Scheib during their eleven year tenure in the White House and admired how Scheib treated each member of his culinary team as an equal. The two were constantly challenged to create new, unique dishes for the first families they served.
“There was a lot of clarity in [Scheib’s] visions,” says Horville. “He could see the final product and articulate directions, simply and clearly. Because of him, we were able to accommodate new requests and modifications with ease.”
When President Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea became a vegetarian, for example, dishes needed to be flexible and adaptable.
“During state dinners, everyone is served the ‘same’ dish,” says Horville. “Each, however, is adapted to the diner’s preference, whether vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free. The substitute had to look and taste exactly like the original dish.”
According to Horville, the salmon and soup are perfect examples of the team’s perseverance and creativity.
“Both of these dishes remind me of my friend and of the team I had the honor of being part of,” says Horville. “They are also the basis of two of the five dishes [Scheib and I] cooked when we won the Iron Chef America competition in 2006.
“They are cameos of an era in my culinary career that I’ll never forget or relive,” he adds. “That’s why I continue to menu them and teach my team about them. They’re a ‘wink’ to my past and a nod to an old friend.”