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Obamas’ Personal Chef, Healthy Eating Advocate Sam Kass, Leaves White House

Obamas’ Personal Chef, Healthy Eating Advocate Sam Kass, Leaves White House
former White House chef, Sam Kass [Photo: Neil Gallagher, NBC, NBCU Photo Bank, Getty Images]

Barack Obama may need to open a Seamless account (at least temporarily). Sam Kass, the Obamas’ personal chef, is leaving the White House.

Despite no formal culinary training, Kass–who was married earlier this year and is moving to New York, where his wife lives–has worked for the Obamas for years, building the first family’s meals around seasonal produce and serving as the White House’s first-ever senior advisor on nutrition. “I leave feeling proud of our accomplishments,” Kass told Fast Company, “but with a heavy heart.”

During his time in the White House, Kass did everything from home brewing beer from locally sourced honey to serving as executive director of Let’s Move!, Michelle Obama’s anti-childhood obesity initiative. “The cooking side is the easier way to be creative,” Kass told Fast Company in 2011. “On the policy side, it’s harder to think of new approaches to problems.”

Despite the challenges, Kass made strides with his policy role. One of his and Mrs. Obama’s biggest victories was getting Walmart to lower the price of its fruits and veggies and reduce the sugar, salt, and fat in private-label products on its shelves.

In statements, the Obamas praised Kass’s work and dedication. “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.” Mrs. Obama added that “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.”

The White House says Kass’s successor will be named in the new year.

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