Sam Kass is not the first chef on this list to have worked with the Obama administration in some capacity, but his level of involvement far exceeds that of his contemporaries. From 2009 to 2014, Sam served as President Obama’s Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy, as Executive Director for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign, and as an Assistant Chef in the White House kitchen.
Though most chefs have gained fame and prestige working in a traditional kitchen environment, Sam took an alternate route, opting instead to open his own personal chef company, Inevitable Table, in 2007. Inevitable Table focused on healthy eating, and it was this effort that led him to become the personal chef to the Obama family when President Obama was merely a junior Senator from Illinois.
A vocal advocate for sustainable farming and organic, locally-sourced foods, Sam is well-known for his criticism of modern agricultural companies and genetically-modified foods. Since July of 2015, Sam has been employed by NBC News as their Senior Food Analyst; his responsibilities with NBC include reporting on healthful eating, food trends and food production policies across all of NBC’s platforms.
Specialties & Resources
Sam’s devotion to sustainable farming and organic foods is similar to many chefs on this list, but few have Sam’s passion for using healthy, all-natural ingredients in their cooking. Sam has also recently joined the tech startup Innit, whose stated goal is to change the way people eat and “to help people manage and prepare their food with ease.” Innit’s technology supports that effort by using sensors to measure a food’s data (such as weight, temperature, and portion size) to calculate the ideal time and temperature an amateur cook will need to cook those foods. Innit’s goal is to integrate this technology into appliances like refrigerators, with the hope that they will make cooking easier and more accessible to a larger number of people.
Sam’s go-to dishes include spring kitchen garden chopped salad with broccoli, cauliflower florets, carrots, spring peas, kale, reggiano cheese, chicken breasts and champagne lemon vinaigrette; ginger fried rice with pork, beans, and fried egg; warm butter king crab with burnt meyer lemon roasted garlic aioli, cress salad, celery parsley, radishes and serrano; braised short rib with sun chokes, house made pasta and black truffles; and farfalle salad with tomatoes, basil, reggiano, olive oil and lemon.