Near the Old Man of Storr, Scotland I took this in 2004

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sam Kass

 Yesterday while watching Chopped, one of the chef-judges was, I later found out a  current White House assistant cook, who, on the show had been bumped up to "White House Chef." The assistant cook -turned- chef for the day is called Sam Kass, Jewish, sexy and with a surprise twist here, has no formal schooling in his current career.
This got  me thinking...about what life gives us, I suppose it's always for a reason. He wanted to be a baseball player, and apparently took a summer job in a restaurant and found it clicked with him, clearly, very well.
From the summer gig, he got another opportunity to work in another kitchen, but this time, in Austria. Austria set him on the right path, it seemed, because he then went on to open some kind of private restaurant,in his hometown, " Chicago, the city of win", to quote Common,  who is another Chicagoan.

Here's some cool background on the etymology of the word  Chicago

"At the beginning of European recorded history, the Chicago area was inhabited by a number of Algonquian peoples, including the Mascouten and Miami. They were connected through trade and seasonal hunting migrations to their neighbors, the Potawatomi to the east, Fox to the north, and the Illinois to the southwest. The name "Chicago" is the French version of the Miami-Illinois word shikaakwa ("Stinky Onion"), named for the plants common along the Chicago River.[1][2][3] It is not related to Chief Chicagou of the Michigamea people.[4] During the mid-18th century, the Chicago area was inhabited primarily by the Potawatomi, who displaced the Miami, Sauk, and Fox tribes. They had previously controlled the area and moved west under pressure from the Potawatomi and European settlers."( from

Actually, I'm not really sure what it was, private restaurant slash something else, but that's where he met ..The Obamas,( cue impressive entrance  music)  and somewhere in and amongst all that he also opened some kind of soup kitchen, because the States has no social services; no food banks, no assistance, just food stamps and gluttony.

From the Obama meeting I suppose the Obamas scooped him then and there, and from a summer gig, he's now the go-to guy for local, sustainable eating, apparently, and at The White House, no less.

I like these kinds of stories that affirm that formal education doesn't need to always be the method by which you'll get where you need to be. If Sam hadn't needed a  summer job , maybe he would've never fallen into cooking?

Things happen when and how they're supposed to, it's just up to us to accept opportunities when they present themselves to us.
Sam Kass- assistant cook, but, at The White House,( I'm sure his mother is so proud..oy vey!)