The Unexpected Tool Roland Mesnier Couldn't Work Without

Roland Mesnier was the White House pastry chef for five U.S. presidents, including Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George W. Bush, and his August passing has shaken the food world. That said, his work has left an indelible mark on his peers, the next generation of pastry chefs, and those who had the privilege of enjoying his delicious desserts and sugary confections. The French born chef spent 26 years in his esteemed role, serving royalty and celebrity alike, per an interview with Erin Bakes, and the New York Times reveals Mesnier's "his butter-rich cakes, cream-infused mousses and elaborate pulled-sugar desserts" were the talk of every dinner guest lucky enough to score an invite to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

But Mesnier never let celebrity go to his head and remained humble, especially when it came to the advice he would offer those who hoped to follow in his footsteps. Mesnier said told Erin Bakes, "Don't try to reinvent the wheel like many chefs are doing today. And stop congratulating yourself. Let the customer do that. That's where the real congratulations will come. That's the advice I would give a young chef today." 

This down to earth trait even spilt over to a rather unexpected tool Mesnier said he could not work without.

Roland Mesnier uses it for his blown sugar creations

Roland Mesnier's must have tool might give you some "Fast & Furious" vibes. The late pastry chef told Erin Bakes he used a rather unconventional tool in the kitchen for five decades and it wasn't for his favorite strawberry shortcake sheet cake dessert he made for a White House picnic. Mesnier said, "There is one tool that has followed be around the world, one that I have been using for 50 years: A brake line to a car. It's roughly the size of a pencil in diameter and 8-inches long. I use it to make my blown sugar." 

How did Mesnier use this odd piece of gear? We don't know for certain, but according to Pie of the Tiger, a copper pipe could be used in place of a sugar pump, which is used to blow air and create air bubbles. Maybe the brake line served the purpose of the sugar pump. Or perhaps it was the tool Mesnier used to help create the blown-sugar giraffes that garnished a dessert for President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya. It could have even assisted Mesnier in shaping the woven baskets made of pulled sugar that held sherbet shaped pears for a White House meal with King Juan Carlos of Spain (via New York Times).