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Clintons to bid au revoir to chef

Wanted: chef to feed family of three, sometimes 130-plus guests. Must cook American. Must please the nation's first lady. Apply immediately at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

The White House says it already is working from a short list to replace French-trained chef Pierre Chambrin. He will step aside at the end of the month to make way for someone who specializes in American cuisine.

"He is an expert in French cuisine," Clinton spokeswoman Dee Dee Myers said of Chambrin. "That's not what we serve here at the White House."

Not any more, she means.

French food has been standard at White House official dinners for 30 years. Now, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton wants to "showcase American food, the very best of America," said her spokesman, Neel Lattimore. She's even serving American wine.

What Mrs. Clinton has in mind is new-style American _ fancy stuff with funny names and mostly homegrown ingredients. Take for example, the official dinner served to 135 people during a visit by South Korean President Kim Young-sam: It began with Atlantic shellfish roll with peekytoe crabmeat and featured marinated pan-seared beef tenderloin, artichoke bottom with acorn squash, and basmati rice pilaf with bell pepper.

That was Chambrin's work. So why is he leaving?

"I have a different concept of food," Chambrin told USA Today. "I'd rather not go into it."

Chambrin, who came to the White House in 1990 to cook for the Bush family, said he was resigning voluntarily.

His three assistants were told to resign, but they will be encouraged to interview for a job with the new chef, Lattimore said.