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Roland Mesnier, who served as White House executive pastry chef for five presidents and their many guests over the years, has died at age 78.
The White House Historical Association confirmed his death on Saturday; the group said he died on Friday following a short illness, the Associated Press reported.
Mesnier was one of the longest-serving White House chefs.
Then-first lady Rosalynn Carter hired him in 1979 — and he retired during the George W. Bush administration in 2004.
In an online “Ask the White House” forum in 2004, Mesnier explained he was often tasked with preparing thousands of pastries for not just the first family but for parties, receptions and dinners as well.
White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier from Bonnay, France, poses in the State Dining Room of the White House on June, 14, 2004, in Washington, D.C. (TIM SLOAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Mesnier revealed that he planned the number of pastries he created according to those who would be in attendance.
“Over the 25 years I’ve been here, I’ve noticed that Democrats usually eat more than Republicans,” he said in that same forum.
“I’ve also observed that if the guests are mostly ladies, they will usually eat more pastries than men.”
French-born American executive pastry chef Roland Mesnier and then-first lady Hillary Clinton pose with the White House Christmas gingerbread house, Washington, D.C., on Dec. 6, 1993. (Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
During the Christmas season, he was known for making the elaborate gingerbread houses that were used to decorate the White House.
Mesnier said he always needed to make more pastries than usual for holiday parties since some tended to “disappear into pocketbooks or pockets,” often ending up as Christmas tree ornaments in people’s homes.
The chef was also known to dish on presidential tendencies in the kitchen, according to Barron’s.
Then-first lady Laura Bush stands with guest pastry chef Roland Mesnier while talking about the gingerbread White House creation he made for the State Dining Room during a media preview of the 2006 holiday decorations at the White House on Nov. 30, 2006, in Washington, D.C. (TIM SLOAN/AFP via Getty Images)
He admitted that former first lady Nancy Reagan was a “total perfectionist” — while former President Bill Clinton was a major dessert fan, despite the fact that he was allergic to flour, sugar and chocolate.
Administrations in Mesnier’s past reacted to his death with sadness and admiration.
The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library mourned Mesnier’s passing on Twitter, sharing a photo of the chef surprising some of the Carter family with a “character cake.”
Former President Clinton memorialized Mesnier as a “master chef and a delightful man” in a tweet posted on Saturday.
“His endless list of unique creations made every White House meal special, from State dinners to family birthdays to evening meals with desserts he knew Chelsea, Hillary and I loved,” he wrote.
“His life and work were blessings to many.”
The Reagan Foundation and Institute also tweeted out condolences on Saturday.
“His passion, commitment and love for his work will always be remembered,” they said.
The chef grew up in the eastern French village of Bonnay, in a family of nine children, and began his career as an apprentice at age 14, the AP reported.
White House archives indicate that Mesnier left home with a cardboard suitcase and five francs to begin his apprenticeship at the Patisserie Maurivard in Besançon, France.
He later worked in Paris and the German cities of Hanover and Hamburg before landing a job at the Savoy hotel in London.
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White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier puts the finishing touches on a 50-pound chocolate Easter egg for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on April 13, 2001, in Washington, D.C. (Mark Wilson/Newsmakers)
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White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier presents his creation, a 40-pound semi-sweet chocolate Easter Egg decorated with the first family’s pet dogs Barney and Spot in the White House kitchen on March 29, 2002, in Washington, D.C. (Manny Ceneta/Getty Images)
In 1967, he became a pastry chef at a hotel in Bermuda and met his future wife — a vacationing schoolteacher from West Virginia — while living on the island, the AP also noted.
While working at The Homestead resort in Virginia a decade later, he heard the news that the White House was looking for a new pastry chef.
In a 2013 television interview, according to Barron’s, Mesnier shared how Rosalynn Carter asked the chef what he planned to cook before he was hired.
As the first lady was “very pretty” and “very slim,” Mesnier answered that he’d prepare lots of low-calorie desserts.
White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier (at far right) joins onlookers on a White House balcony to watch President George W. Bush return on Marine One on July 29, 2004. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
For the next nearly two-and-a-half decades, Mesnier was committed to serving the White House and the American people.
“You don’t think about free time, spare time, etc., because your time is at the White House,” Mesnier said when asked about working in the White House in 2004.
White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier holds up a dessert called Mango Coconut Lei during a preview of the State dinner for Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo at the State Dining Room of the White House on May 19, 2003. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
“It could be Christmas day, Easter, your birthday, your mother’s birthday, your child’s birthday — you are going to be at the White House if you are needed,” he added.
“The White House always comes first.”
Mesnier is survived by his son, George Mesnier, the AP said.
The Associated Press contributed reporting to this article.
Angelica Stabile is a lifestyle writer for Fox News Digital. Follow her on Twitter at @atstabile.