Does the White House have a kitchen where the first family can make their own food?

In the TV show House of cards, season 3, at numerous points they show a full sized kitchen and breakfast table that is supposed to be somewhere in the white house.

Here’sa shot of what it looks like.

In this shot, the President is chopping himself an apple, and in another scene, the First Lady was cooking a couple of eggs.

Does it really work this way? I had the impression that the White House was more like a hotel, where the President and his family would receive every meal as room service, cooked by the official chef or one of his assistants. I mean, obviously in the fictional universe where Kevin Spacey is president things could be different, but does this kitchen even exist in the real executive mansion?

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/print/2009/01/president/bumiller-text
This article says that the first families don’t do much cooking for themselves.

There is indeed a family-sized kitchen in the residence of the White House. Presidential families have varied considerably in how much they used it. The Carters were said to use it more than most.

I read Bill Clintons autobiography and have a fuzzy memory of it being mentioned. (Sorry not slogging through the umpty-million pages of that doorstop to look it up.)

The TV show the West Wing had a small informal kitchen as a set in the later seasons as well. The DVD special features talked about how they got extended White House tours and tried to be very true when building the sets. At the time it was (still was?) The biggest sets and sound stages ever made for a TV show.

As mentioned, the First Family has their own apartment within the White House where they actually live and it has a kitchen plus everything else they desire. The rest of the White House is a combination of a governmental center, security bunker, and tourist attraction.

The First Family can certainly cook on their own if they wish but there is little need to. They have a full-time kitchen that can bring them anything they want 24 hours a day. They can’t just go grocery shopping like normal people do either. Undercover Secret Service agents do their shopping for them at random times and places to minimize the possibility of food poisoning.

My ex-wife is an executive in the gourmet foods business for things like exotic cheeses. She gets calls from the White House kitchen staff sometimes to deliver certain items at very specific times like St. Patricks Day for Irish cheeses. It has to be sealed and go through special handling every step along the way. The security is intense and isn’t really profitable for them directly but they do it for the marketing factor.

In summary, the First Family could cook if they wanted to but why would they when they have excellent chefs ready to serve just downstairs?

I read not long ago that before Gerald Ford was president, he always made his own toast and coffee every morning, and saw no reason to stop just because he now occupied the White House.

So, the answer is yes.

I would imagine that if a First Family cooks at all, it must be “recreational” cooking. Maybe as an enjoyment or a way to de-stress.

IIRC they do have to pay out of pocket for food and groceries generally. But, for the most part they eat on the governments expense, especially the President himself.

Edited: An article on the issuse.

Got a cite for that? Random times and places? Is it just me or does that sound, um, odd? It’s seem like the SS/POTUS would have a more practical means of obtaining groceries.

Some people like cooking. On top of that, I’m sure there’s plenty of nights were the first family (or even just the first lady and the kids) just want to spend a night alone with themselves and it’s probably nicer to have a ‘home cooked dinner’ than to order it from downstairs.

If I had one of the best kitchens to cater to my every need, that be all well and good but after the first few months, I’m sure there would be at least a few nights a month where I’d just want to be left alone and as part of that I’d be more than happy to cook something for myself (and maybe bake a something too). But then I like cooking/baking.
Now, if someone else wants to clean and heat up the left overs for me for lunch the next day, that’s fine.

I think it’s nice that a POTUS doesn’t have to bother the staff if he just wants a bowl of Frosted Flakes in the wee hours.

The President and family pay for all their meals. Except official state dinners.
Cite

That would be ample incentive for me to fry my own eggs for breakfast and make my own ham sandwich for lunch.

I think it’s a little sad when one can’t just wonder off into the kitchen in the middle of the night, open the fridge and grab the last slice of left over pizza along with a cold glass of milk. Then just enjoy your meal in the dead silent of the night while the rest of the family sleeps.
Something just don’t sound right about: “Jeeves! Grab me a slice of pizza from the Presidential refrigerator. AND MAKE SURE YOU BRING IT TO ME COLD THIS TIME!!”

Totally. Otherwise it’s like living permanently at an all inclusive resort. Nice for a week or so, but quite tedious after a while.

You just reminded me of something I read years ago; the Ford kids talked to Amy Carter before she got to the White House and said (a) never try to lose your escort (they hate that) and (b) get on real good terms with the people in the kitchen, because that’s the only way a kid in the White House is going to get any food at odd hours. Things may have changed since then…

Pizza and milk? Ewww.

The formal kitchen staff probably refused to boil peanuts.

Why am I imagining Obama pulling a brown bag out of his desk in the Oval Office and going to work on a ham sandwich and some Fritos while everyone else goes on about terrorists and geopolitical leverage and what-not?

Because it’s been done. (clip)

I never heard, and don’t understand, the “he pays for his food.” Do they keep a running tab and bill him? He pays by credit card? (Can you imagine how many miles he must have?)

Yes.