John Kerry’s Former Life: He Was a Cookie Chef

Jan 29, 2014 3:29pm
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For his 70th birthday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, accompanied by his dog Ben, receives a box of Kilvert & Forbes Bakeshop cookies from his staff in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 11, 2013. U.S. State Department.

Long before John Kerry was jetting around the world trying to bring peace to the Middle East, before he ran for president, even before he was in the U.S. Senate, he held a much different job: owner/head cookie chef at a gourmet shop.

Yes, you read that right.

Telling the story Wednesday at a State Department awards ceremony, Kerry said that when he was a lawyer in Boston, “I walked out of a restaurant one night with a friend of mine, probably having had too much of a good bottle of wine, and looked out and saw an empty space in Faneuil Hall marketplace. And desperately craving a good chocolate chip cookie at that hour of night, I decided that I was going to make sure they were available for the future.”

Thus was born Kilvert and Forbes – named after Kerry and his business partner’s mothers.

“I learned about a week before I opened that if I was going to sell cookies I needed a recipe, and I better make some cookies pretty quickly,” he added.

A delicious trial by oven-fire followed.

“I turned up the stove at home and I learned about the chemistry of food as I magnified my recipes many times over, and proudly can tell you that in the first year of our existence, we won the Best of Boston, as we did for a number years thereafter until I sold the store,” Kerry said.

The nation’s top diplomat’s sweet tooth is well-documented. Back in November, he literally stopped foot traffic in Geneva, Switzerland, so he could buy some Swiss chocolate for his wife. And the next month his staff gave him a box of cookies from his own former shop.

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