It seems hard to believe that, until the 1950s, food in the White House main kitchen was prepared in fireplaces. Even though the location of the main kitchen on the ground floor of the White House has not changed since the 19th century nothing else remains the same. The kitchen is now a model of efficiency with six ovens, a 16-foot stove, eight refrigerators, five dishwashers, a soup kettle, meat grinder, a 30-gallon ice cream freezer and a deep fryer. The kitchen pantry is equipped with two dumbwaiters that lift the food up to the butler's pantry on the first floor where the State Dining Room is located. All this equipment assures that the staff can turn out food for a 5-course State dinner of 135 people served in exactly 55 minutes, or prepare appetizers for 1,000 people.
The White House employs five chefs to oversee all this activity and also prepare meals for the President and his family. And, there is a Chocolate Shop where the White House pastry chef works his magic creating chocolate confections and other pastries.