Best Host - Cultural or Historic Series

Congratulations to Chef Walter Staib for receiving his fourth Emmy Award!

Ash Lawn-Highland

Our latest journey brought us to the homestead of James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States!

James Madison's Montpelier

Learn about the feast Chef Staib created during our visit to Montpelier!

A Taste of History

Cooking in historic Pomona Hall!



The Montpelier estate was formed in 1723 when Ambrose Madison, President James Madison’s grandfather, and his brother-in-law, Thomas Chew, were deeded 4,675 acres in the newly opened Piedmont of Virginia. To receive final title, he had three years to clear the land and build a house.
For more than 120 years – from 1723 until 1844 when Dolley Madison sold the property – the Madisons owned Montpelier. It was the lifelong home of James Madison, Father of the Constitution, architect of the Bill of Rights, and fourth president of the United States. It was here that he read, researched, and thought more deeply about our republican form of government than any other Founding Father.
At Montpelier, for A Taste of History, we had the rare pleasure of having both James and Dolley Madison there with us (as reenactors) to bring their home to life. Dolley Madison was the toast of Washington, hosting her famous “squeeze” parties at the White House first for Thomas Jefferson, and then for her husband, James. When the Madisons left Washington, they continued these traditions at Montpelier, their lavish home in Virginia. Chef Walter threw a party, Dolley-style, making ice cream with Dolley and cooking up a feast, which included Artichokes, Veal Kidney Dijonnaise, Hoppin’ John and Cornmeal Fried Catfish for their guests.
In our second episode at James and Dolley Madison’s estate, Montpelier, Chef Walter learned more about how the Madison’s dined and entertained at their beautiful home. In honor of the Madisons, Chef Walter prepared a menu befitting a Presidential state dinner: Virginia Ham and Oysters, Roast Pheasant with Cornmeal Stuffing and Peas a la Française.
Hoppin' John
Happy Guests
Dolley and James
Chef Staib and Chef Sederman Hard at Work

Montpelier Image Gallery