Obama thanks FilAm chef for lumpia, adobo in White House

Chef Cristeta "Cris" Comerford prepares a meal inside the White House kitchen in this July 17, 2002 photo.

MANILA  — It seems that United States President Barack Obama has been enjoying Filipino food even before he set foot on Philippine land on Monday.

Obama said the US and the Philippines have a shared pride in the millions of Filipino-Americans who contribute to the US every day.

But he made special mention of Cristeta Comerford, the White House executive chef born in Manila. Obama said he is grateful to the Filipina-American for her services.

“Thanks to her, we in the White House enjoy the occasional lumpia and adobo,” Obama said in a short speech as he offered a toast during the televised state dinner in Malacañang.

Obama also said that Americans feel their spirit in their friendship with the Philippines “that expresses itself in so many ways.”

He cited the US and the Philippines’ mutual obsession with basketball and the shared admiration for Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao.

“Even if sometimes he’s playing against Americans that doesn’t turn out the way we like,” Obama said without elaborating.

Obama said that as a treaty ally, the US has an “iron-clad” commitment to defend the Philippines’ security and independence.

“On behalf of the American people, we are honored and proud to call you an ally and a friend,” Obama said in front of about 300 guests that included Philippine officials.

The American leader was also served with Filipino food during the