One of the perks of being a president: having your own personal, taxpayer-funded chef. And in the case of Barack Obama, this means an instrumental player in the development of Michelle Obama's controversial "school lunch program", one who also happens to be "Executive Director of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, the first-ever White House Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition, and personal chef to the First Family." He name is, or rather his name was Sam Kass, because alongside pretty much everyone else close to Obama in recent few years, Chef Kass is done feeding the First Stomach and is also getting the hell out of Dodge the White House.
As Washington Examiner reports, "the first family’s personal chef, whose influence extended well beyond the kitchen to putting a honey bee hive on the South Lawn and running Michelle Obama’s kiddie health program “Let’s Move,” is resigning.
“His departure concludes a tenure of dedicated service not only to the First Family, but also to the Obama Administration as a key player in the development of nutrition policy,” said the White House in a statement.
Kass recently married Alex Wagner, host of MSNBC’s daytime program "Now with Alex Wagner." He is moving to New York.
Kass was never the top White House chef, a job held by Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford, but his ties to the first family dating back to their residence in Chicago gave him more influence than any past chef.
Some past chefs have established themselves as culinary advance men, bringing new cuisines, foods and wines to the attention of the country. But Kass worked both in the kitchen and on policy and had the titles “Executive Director of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative,” the first-ever “White House Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition” and personal chef to the first family.
Some of the value added initiatives created by chef Kass: he was key in establishing the first lady’s veggie garden and even agreed to have a beehive installed to help pollinate the garden. And he used the honey to brew some White House beer.
So, let them eat McDonalds? Judging by the unprecedented collapse in MCD sales, not yet.
Here is the official statement from the White House:
WHITE HOUSE ANNOUNCES THE DEPARTURE OF SAM KASS
Today the White House announced the departure of Sam Kass, Executive Director of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, the first-ever White House Senior Policy Advisor on Nutrition, and personal chef to the First Family. Kass will leave the White House at the end of the month to live full-time in New York City. His departure concludes a tenure of dedicated service not only to the First Family, but also to the Obama Administration as a key player in the development of nutrition policy.
“From constructing our Kitchen Garden to brewing our own Honey Brown Ale, Sam has left an indelible mark on the White House,” said President Obama. “And with the work he has done to inspire families and children across this country to lead healthier lives, Sam has made a real difference for our next generation. Over the years, Sam has grown from a close friend to a critical member of my team, and I am grateful for his outstanding work and look forward to seeing all that he will continue to achieve in the years ahead.”
“Sam has been an integral part of Let's Move! from its very beginning -- from discussions about children's health around my kitchen table in Chicago, to setting the strategic vision of a national campaign in the White House, to spearheading efforts with the private sector across the country,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “Sam leaves an extraordinary legacy of progress, including healthier food options in grocery store aisles, more nutritious school lunches, and new efforts that have improved how healthy food is marketed to our kids. I wish Sam success in all his future endeavors, and I know he will continue to be a leader in the vitally important work to build a healthier country.”
Kass will remain engaged with the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative and the continuing effort to advance childhood nutrition. His successor will be named in the new year.
And for all those curious what the White House kitchen looks like, here is Obama's now ex-chef, Sam Kass, giving the guided tour: