Authorities in New Mexico has said this morning that the body of a former head chef at the White House was found off a hiking trail in the Taos area Sunday night, after he had disappeared for more than a week.
Walter Scheib, a 61-year old chef who served under Bill Clinton and George W. Bush at the White House, was found dead by a search party who was looking after him since Wednesday. The former White House head chef had disappeared at the end of the previous week, with his abandoned car found near the start of the trail being the only indication of his whereabouts.
New Mexico State Police have not offered an official cause of death yet, waiting for the searchers to gather enough details about circumstances in which Scheib died. Scheib went hiking on June 13th and didn’t return, prompting his girlfriend to report his disappearance to the police.
His vehicle was found parked at the beginning of the Yerba Canyon trail, a 4-mile trek which takes hikers through the bottom of a canyon gradually climbing to over 3,700 feet over the sea level. Search and rescue parties were sent out immediately in the area, with air surveillance offered by the New Mexico National Guard and U.S. Air Force proving difficult to execute due to the constant mountain peaks and spread out vegetation.
Walter Scheib became head chef at the White House in 1994, after he had previously graduated at New York’s Culinary Institute of America and held a similar position at luxurious hotels throughout Florida and West Virginia. He was personally appointed in the position by then First Lady Hillary Clinton.
During his tenure as the White House head chef, Scheib focused its kitchen on American recipes, adding seasonal ingredients to them. As he was in charge of preparing meals for formal dinners, his dishes were served to a wide range of world leaders including Boris Yeltsin, Nelson Mandela, Jacques Chirac or Tony Blair.
After leaving the White House in 2005, Scheib worked mostly as a culinary consultant, sometimes appearing on chef shows or preparing meals for fundraisers. He wrote a book about his time at the White House which was published in 2007.