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National Restaurant Association - NRA’s Sweeney, ProStart educator, remember Walter Scheib

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NRA’s Sweeney, ProStart educator, remember Walter Scheib

The National Restaurant Association remembered former White House chef Walter Scheib as not only a great chef but a mentor to students and up-and-coming chefs.

“Walter served as a trustee for our Education Foundation for several years and was a revered and respected judge for our National ProStart Invitational,” said Dawn Sweeney, the NRA’s president and CEO. “His kind manner and deep experience was valued by all of us, and he will be sincerely missed.”

Scheib, 61, accidentally drowned during the week of June 13, while hiking in the New Mexico mountains. His body was found June 21.

A 1979 graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., Scheib had a storied career, first as executive chef at a Hilton hotel in Washington, D.C., then at the Boca Raton Resort and Club in Florida, and at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va. From 1994 to 2005, he was White House executive chef under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Following that stint, he appeared on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America competition in 2006 and authored “White House Chef: Eleven Years, Two Presidents, One Kitchen” in 2007.

Hoping to encourage future generations of professional chefs, Scheib, in addition to serving as an NRA Educational Foundation trustee, was a judge for the organization’s National ProStart Invitational in 2013 and 2014. ProStart teaches high-school students the culinary and hospitality management skills needed to pursue further education and careers in foodservice.

“Walter brought a vast amount of experience to the judging team,” said Greg Beachey, the NRAEF’s senior manager of education and training. “Because he had an incredible amount of culinary knowledge, he appreciated well-executed fundamental skills. With his global perspective and knowledge of regional cuisines, he was able to interact with our students and respect the dishes they demonstrated.”

Beachey said the students enjoyed hearing stories about Scheib’s time at the White House and that he was well-respected by the other members of the judging team.

“He brought a distinct level of professionalism to the contest,” he said. “Walter often spoke about the importance of planning and proper preparation as being the keys to success. The advice he gave will no doubt help many future chefs as they move on to professional careers of their own.”

In recent years, Scheib, a Pennsylvania native, moved first to Sanibel Harbor, Fla., and then Taos, N.M. He was a successful consultant and motivational speaker for his company, The American Chef.

He is survived by two sons from his first marriage, Walter S. Scheib IV of Denver and James Prince of McLean, Va.; his father, Walter S. Scheib Jr. of Oceanside, Calif.; and a brother.

Pictured, top right: Scheib was remembered as a great chef and mentor to up-and-coming industry professionals.

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