Signed in as:
- Rooms & Suites
- Photos & Press Office
- Our Team & Local History
- The Inn & film shot here
- The Wedding Barn
- Our World Charity Work
Signed in as:
Learn about the rich history of Chef Quan (of the US Navy) to numerous Presidents of the United States of America and First Families. See his city of Canton, from which he fled when invaded by the Japanese, and the burning of his home and Uncle's restaurant at the beginning of WWII - then see Canton today. This exhibition is expanding by committee and will encompass LIVE eating events, video production, white papers, and web presentations with social link-sharing.
Beginning in 2025, this research program will study President H.W. Bush, Taylor, & Harding, as well as air and water systems in the White House. In the future, this section will link to the special digital side of the research.
In 2027, a ten-year grant is launching into 2037 to showcase more about the flavors and spices of India. We plan to showcase a number of recipes and dishes served in the White House as well as Naan Bread Making. In the future, this graphic will link to the new showcase.
Executive Chef Lee Ping Quan
"It is furnished more like a Fifth Avenue mansion than a ship’s cabin, containing as it does a piano, settees, lounges, writing tables, etc. The work is executed in oak, carved, and painted white in Louis XVI style. Adjoining this apartment is a stairway which leads to six commodious staterooms for guests. Next to these is the library, finished in oak in Louis XV style and containing 2,000 volumes.” The Daily Republican
Our July 2023 Starting Committee for this exhibition consists of Alya Lei, Fong Chua, Marti Mongiello, Stormy Mongiello, Michael Chen, Johnson Hor, Dr. Miguel Rodriguez, and many others considering helping with Chinese American history.
Amidst the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, the US Navy acquired the vessel Mayflower from the famed Goelet estate. The yacht became a part of Admiral Sampson's fleet stationed in Havana harbor, engaging in activities such as capturing enemy ships, engaging in naval confrontations, and aiding in enforcing the blockade. Following the conflict, Mayflower assumed the role of Admiral Dewey's flagship before transitioning into a presidential yacht.
In August 1905, the USS Mayflower played a significant role in another notable global event: the Portsmouth Peace Treaty. With the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 reaching a standstill, President Theodore Roosevelt intervened to mediate peace negotiations.
Notably, USS Mayflower served as the initial meeting place for Russian and Japanese envoys in Oyster Bay, off the Long Island coast near Roosevelt's residence. The parties then traveled separately to Kittery, Maine, with the Russians aboard USS Mayflower and the Japanese on USS Dolphin. Accommodations were arranged at the Hotel Wentworth in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, while negotiations persisted at the Portsmouth Navy Yard in Kittery. Throughout the process, Mayflower hosted various social gatherings. Fortunately, the two nations reached a consensus, ultimately ending the conflict and earning President Roosevelt a Nobel Peace Prize in 1906. He is also the only President in history ever to receive the Medal of Honor.
You can learn more about USS Mayflower‘s role in the Portsmouth Peace Treaty here, and about Roosevelt’s Nobel Prize here. And see the New York Times article featuring Chef Quan of the USS Mayflower and President Coolidge for his 58th birthday cake and party here!
After enlisting into the US Navy in the early 1900s, this 1880s-born horse and carriage, candle-using homestead family would see their son become so famous by 1922 in the American Navy that he would be appointed to its highest position of what we now call the White House Staff Mess (WHSM) working for the White House Military Office (WHMO) essentially first created under President Rutherford B. Hayes (1877 to 1881). He would wait many years to finally be able to see trans-Pacific cables laid under the keel of his ships before being able to call his loving family.
After retiring from the Navy, around April of 1929, Quan moved to New York City and rebuilt the inside of the yacht underground, like going down into a ship, complete with red leather upholstered wall seats and brass portholes, a green light on Starboard and a red lantern for port and holystoned floors they said you could eat off of - he designed it to resemble the luxurious yacht at #28 West 51st Street! What a fascinating and creative brain of genius design and all while serving the same stories and dishes served to world leaders. Each story had a dish, and President Coolidge loved Curry of Veal, made by dicing a lean Veal Chop into small pieces and, rolling it with a beaten egg, salt & pepper, and fried in hot deep fat for three minutes. Later the rice and Curry Sauce would join in. The Coolidge's also enjoyed Caviar in Eggs on Toast, Almond Cookies, anything with Walnuts, homemade candies, Fried Shrimp with Russian Sauce, Cantonese-Style Chop Suey, and Roasted Chicken with Currant Jelly. And that's just getting started. The President and First Lady sent a very nice letter on opening day that brought cheer to everyone's hearts. It was a super kind act. By December, Lee Ping was bankrupt across the newspapers, and when the furniture repossession began with threats - he told the reporters, "All I want in here is the letter the President and First Lady sent me!" His next major chessboard move? By 1939, he published his masterpiece book that took the papers by storm. Today, a single copy sells for $1800.00 on the internet. You can read his book only in the finest of libraries.
While cruising on the USS Mayflower down the Potomac to Mount Vernon with guests cheering, the Navy chefs would roll out Lichee-Nut Fruit Cup as an elegant first dish. This was often the beginning of the Chef's 20-course dinners that were mind-blowing and left guests stunned and shocked. But Lee Ping was not a stickler for Chinese food, he made people so happy by cooking what they loved, and that often meant large, dinner-plate-sized griddle cakes (something that angered the President finally one day at the White House due to the Chef making cute, small, matching pancakes) with Vermont Syrup shipped in monthly by five-gallon tins (Chef Quan respected and loved the stories about Calvin being the best syrup maker in his family) and thought these things were fun to learn and make his guests happy. Vermont Country Pickles, Coolidge Pickle Sauce for Ham, Chicken Chow Mein (with a hint of mint due to his growing chickens mistakenly on top of Teddy Roosevelt's former Mint Garden, oops!), and Sailors in Hammocks (an outrageously funny lobster, mushroom, celery, onion, shrimp mixture laid down to sleep in a pancake and the rolled up for night-night and finished by broiling). It's all about getting onto your employer's agenda - not your own, like some snotty Chef. That means his fave of Pork Apple Pie (a dessert), Custard Pie, Grace Coolidge's Lemon Pie, Maple Walnut Cookies, and Apple Pie. Of great note are President Coolidge's famous antics and rude comments about food (sometimes), his wife's and the White House Chef's cooking, during meals - or after. He had the long-term Estate Manager at the White House fired (Mrs. Jaffray). Once one begins studying, one will notice a number of anger-based episodes and jokes delivered stone cold and deadpan - like the time Grace made an apple pie with handmade crust and the President commented loud enough for the servants to write it down, TO GRACE IN FRONT OF THE FAMILY: "Don't you think a road commissioner would be willing to pay something for this pie-crust recipe?" (1) These are the type of comments some wives would punch a President in the throat for. A reporter asked him if he had any hobbies. To which he responded: “I hold office.”
Grace was the educated woman light of his life who designed the Sky Parlor on the third floor (we now call this the Solarium at the White House) and always brought kindness and happiness upon every stone they tread. The staff adored her. The First Lady, Grace, adored cooking Chinese food with Chef Quan, which was one of the main reasons they shipped out so often! It was a cooking class with friends! He was so accommodating and filled with joy that he always got things right for the President. And therefore, Calvin, at 5' 10", a Cancer, was all quite happy to head out onto the water, where eating was also fun. Sometimes, the ship would catch a slew of fish and cook them up! This was a bonus joy for guests. Despite the deaths of his mother at an early age, his sister when he was 18, and losing a son, Calvin, with a blister due to no socks on - infected on the White House tennis courts (he would die, regrettably), the President and Secret Service agents would enjoy a pet raccoon on campus as well as riding a mechanical bull for exercise (much to the servants' joy, as well).
President Coolidge brought forth his version of what he stated America needed, "A solemn-ass President." And chef Quan never minded. He ushered in one of the greatest periods of economic and financial boom, flappers, dancing, speakeasies, joy, women's rights taking hold, and massive prosperity, silencing the scandals of President Harding (which included open sex in broad daylight in Central Park with Nan Britton and DNA-verified evidence of having sex all over the White House, including claims of in a closet, and fathering a child with her that despite "lunatic, pervert woman, and smear scams" that included massive denials by the party and President - were proven in 2015 to be true with grandchildren and medical testing via Ancestry). As soon as Coolidge arrived - he put a stop to this level of filth and disgrace. Once he left and Hoover took over - things were NOT the same. Lee Ping saw it all.
The Coolidge Foundation reminds us of what the well-fed and cared-for President echoed: “In these days of violent agitation scholarly men should reflect that the progress of the past has been accomplished not by the total overthrow of institutions so much as by discarding that which was bad and preserving that which was good; not by revolution but by evolution has man worked out his destiny. We shall miss the central feature of all progress unless we hold to that process now. It is not a question of whether our institutions are perfect. The most beneficent of our institutions had their beginnings in forms which would be particularly odious to us now. Civilization began with war and slavery; government began in absolute despotism; and religion itself grew out of superstition which was oftentimes marked with human sacrifices. So out of our present imperfections we shall develop that which is more perfect. But the candid mind of the scholar will admit and seek to remedy all wrongs with the same zeal with which it defends all rights.” (2) (2.a.)
The overarching legacy of Chef Lee Ping Quan can rarely be shadowed by President Coolidge and his amazing gifts to the world. As an immigrant, veteran, blue-collar worker, and Chinese American - we now know his entire entrepreneurial story. It is one of back-breaking, hard work that caused pain in the spinal cord, legs, and arms during his entire life of working on his feet. He certainly was not a desk job, paper pusher that gave speeches for a living behind podiums and on stage.
The 35 years of lost money he poured into his family and property in Canton was completely erased when the Japanese Officers raped women from the country clubs and wealthy families in society. The middle and lower classes were given to the enlisted soldiers to rape as "comfort women physically," and their homes were lost in fire and destruction. This legacy would never be forgotten by him. The giving of himself to the American people and country to become a military veteran and citizen helped build our land into what it is today. In celebration of America250, it is notable to see he re-volunteered at the outrageous onset of WWII for Americans and the unprecedented bombing of Pearl Harbor. Appearing at the recruiting office at 61 years old was covered across the USA newspapers and radio. His zest for hard work, business opportunity, and ethics in opening a restaurant business risked everything to excel at his craft and publish a book about his life in the human race. His resolve and family values taught to him by his uncle's and father's restaurant staff allowed him to succeed beyond bankruptcy, failure, and collapse in the "city that never sleeps" of New York, New York. His power came from the poetry of his bloodline and famed Chinese writer, Ling Po, as Chef Quan wrote a legacy that re-exploded across the news in 1972, some 30 years after his death! As an enduring and timeless visionary - Chef Quan will certainly reveal some of his additional recipes with photographs of finished dishes in the years to come. His star upon all American citizens is far from finishing the business of his life as an inspiration to us everyone.
Professor Martin CJ Mongiello, MBA, MA, MCFE - copyright 2023 ©
A minor set of references, comparative to my typical university papers and ten published books that contain footnotes, endnotes, and up to 200 references:
(1) Cannon, P., & Brooks, P. (1968). The Presidents' Cookbook: Practical Recipes from George Washington to the Present. Funk & Wagnalls.
(2) Coolidge, C. (1919). Have Faith in Massachusetts: A Collection of Speeches and Messages. Houghton Mifflin.
Addl: Commencement Address, Holy Cross College, on June 25, 1919.
A minor bibliography comparative to my typical university papers that contain as many as ten pages of books listed in APA format:
Chen, Y. (2014). Chop suey, USA: The story of Chinese food in America. Columbia University Press.
Chen, Y. (2017). The rise of Chinese food in the United States. In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History.
Coe, A. (2009). Chop suey: A cultural history of chinese food in the United States. Oxford University Press.
Colman, E. M. (1927). White House Gossip: From Andrew Johnson to Calvin Coolidge. Doubleday, Page.
Coolidge, C. (2021). The Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge. Open Road Media.
Coolidge, C. (1924). The price of freedom: Speeches and addresses. C. Scribner's sons.
Hicks, G. (1997). The comfort women: Japan's brutal regime of enforced prostitution in the Second World War. WW Norton & Company.
Gilbert, R. E. (2003). The Tormented President: Calvin Coolidge, Death, and Clinical Depression. Greenwood Publishing Group.
Johnson, R. E. (2013). Far China station: the US Navy in Asian waters, 1800-1898. Naval Institute Press.
Lee, J. B. (2008). The fortune cookie chronicles: Adventures in the world of Chinese food. Twelve.
Lee, P. Q. (1939). To a President’s Taste. Rodale.
Liu, H. (2015). From Canton restaurant to panda express: A history of Chinese food in the United States. Rutgers University Press.
Lu, S., & Fine, G. A. (1995). The presentation of ethnic authenticity: Chinese food as a social accomplishment. The Sociological Quarterly, 36(3), 535-553.
McLean, B. D. The US Lighthouse Service and the Spanish American War.
Pell, J. (1930). The Enigma of Calvin Coolidge. The North American Review, 229(5), 513-517.
Solomon, P. (1933). A Study of Calvin Coolidge. Law Soc'y J., 5, 3.
Yoshimi, Y. (2000). Comfort women: Sexual slavery in the Japanese military during World War II. Columbia University Press.
Weekly, A. S., & God, H. L. A. (2012). An active life. 100 American Crime Writers, 315.
Each of the Presidents that Executive Chef Quan planned for and served would encompass 30 people dining onboard. As a Master Provisioner, adept planner, plating expert, and fantastic cook, he led his skilled team to success across numerous presidencies and world guests!
Lee was first hired and enlisted in the US Navy in 1901/3 (some reporters vary from credible newspapers like the Evening Independent and NY Times and say 1908, but this is highly impossible since he served with Ensign Nimitz (NHHC)) and was adored by Ensign (later, Admiral) Chester Nimitz (he would later go on to become the Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet and WWII fame despite having been court-martialed as an Ensign, run a ship aground, and reprimanded.) Lee served onboard the USS Decatur, DD 5. He was later Chief Steward and the Executive Chef of the Presidential yacht, USS Mayflower, from 1922 to 1929 when she (the ship) was formally decommissioned. He died on a Saturday afternoon in Bellevue Hospital, NY, at the age of 63, on January 18, 1943. After Pearl Harbor occurred, he tried to enlist in the US Navy again and wrote requesting permission from Admiral Nimitz so he could serve again. New York Times.
Professor Martin CJ Mongiello, MBA, MA, MCFE - copyright 2023 ©
COMING UP FOR AMERICA250:
Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, USN, served as her Commanding Officer from 1 November 1907 to 29 July 1908, and he has signed this photo.
Chef Lee Ping Quan (possibly far right) in photo with Chester Nimitz onboard. Destroyer DD 5 in 1907. Title: USS Decatur. Description: (Destroyer # 5) Ship's Officers and Crew on deck in 1907. Collection of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph. Catalog #: NH 62727
See Chef Quan's former home of Canton, China in 1930.
See Chef Quan's former home of Canton, China as it is now.
The Inn of the Patriots, LLC
301 Cleveland Avenue, Grover, North Carolina 28073, United States
The Inn of the Patriots™, LLC, Presidential Culinary Museum®, Presidential Service Center® - All Rights Reserved©. The United States Presidential Service Center, 301 Cleveland Avenue, Grover, NC 28073, USA or The United States Presidential Service Center, 1301 7th Street, Suite 320, Washington, DC 20001. Web design & graphics by MA Marketing Agency. Over 600 room nights, classes, tours, & funds donated to charities since 1993, and $567,000.00 WAS RAISED IN ONE NIGHT FOR CYSTIC FIBROSIS. A disabled & injured SDVOB 100% US military veteran-owned company committed to ADA accessibility as disabled owners.
Mongiello Holdings™, LLC and it's DBA's.