Something's cooking at the White House

Having taken the heat of what might just be the hottest kitchen in America, White House chef Sam Kass, U-High’98, AB’04, just got a promotion.

sam-kass_1.jpgWith a history degree from the University of Chicago and no formal culinary training, Sam Kass isn’t your typical presidential chef. But cooking isn’t all he’s brought to the executive branch—in the year and a half since he first joined Obama’s administration as an assistant White House chef, Kass has forged a role for himself as a key adviser of nutrition policy, especially for children. So Kass’s quiet promotion to Senior Policy Adviser for Healthy Food Initiatives wasn’t a huge surprise; he’s already been helping Michelle Obama design her ambitious food-policy agenda, including the Let’s Move! campaign to fight childhood obesity.

Kass's career with the Obamas started when he became their personal cook in Chicago roughly two years before the family's move to the White House. Since then he's founded a private-chef service, reshaped the White House garden, and even appeared on Top Chef to advocate healthier school lunches. And, incidentally, People magazine confirms that he's gorgeous, calling him one of "Barack's Beauties." ("The halls of power never looked so good!") It seems the U of C might be establishing itself as a hotbed of good looks.

Burke Frank, '11

Kass, presidential chef—and so much more. Photography from

July 30, 2010