For six years, Sam Kass cooked up policy as well as meals for President Barack Obama and his family. He was not only their personal chef but also senior adviser for nutrition policy, giving him a seat at the table where administration officials hashed out everything from updated food labels to new requirements for healthier school lunches.
Kass is leaving the White House at the end of the month, but don’t ask him what the Obamas like or don’t like to eat. “Top secret,” he said.
“I love this family and believe in everything the president and first lady are doing and this has been the greatest job of my life and I assume will be the greatest job of my life,” the 34-year-old said in an interview.
Kass’ relationship with the Obamas started when they hired him to cook healthier meals for the family in Chicago before the 2008 elections. Michelle Obama was a vice president at the University of Chicago Medical Center and caring for young daughters, while Obama was a U.S. senator spending most of his time in Washington.
Obama said Kass “has grown from a close friend to a critical member of my team” and has left “an indelible mark on the White House.”
Mrs. Obama praised Kass’ “extraordinary legacy of progress,” which she said includes healthier food options in groceries, more nutritious school lunches and initiatives to improve how food is marketed to kids.