President Obama’s personal chef Sam Kass is leaving the White House for New York City, according to an announcement from the office of the First Lady.
Kass is not just a personal chef, but a close personal friend of the Obama family from their days in Chicago. In August, Kass married MSNBC’s Alex Wagner in a ceremony that the Obama family attended.
A New York Times profile of Kass in August noted that he was “expected to stay through the end of the president’s second term” as a member of Obama’s “inner circle.”
“From constructing our Kitchen Garden to brewing our own Honey Brown Ale, Sam has left an indelible mark on the White House,” Obama said in response to the news. “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.”
A loyal friend, Kass remains fiercely protective of the privacy of the president. In an interview with Bloomberg, he refused to say whether he fried or baked the family’s chicken wings.
Kass also serves as the Executive Director of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative, and as the first-ever White House Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy.
“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 First Lady said in a statement reacting to the news.
Although Kass will remain “engaged” with the Let’s Move program, his successor will be named in 2015.