Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

16 October 2021

World Food Day

Sam Kass

“While food should of course be pleasurable, its number one job in life is to make sure we are nourished and that we function at full capacity.”


Sam Kass was the personal chef of former President Barack Obama. During his tenure with the Obama family, he also served as the Assistant Chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy at the White House.   

As Executive Director of former First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign, Sam helped provide nutritious food to more than 30 million students in the U.S. These efforts resulted in an influx of funding for school feeding programs and led to the upgrading of school meal standards. It also led to the introduction of universal free breakfasts to help remove any stigma in schools where 40 percent or more of the children come from low-income families.  

“It’s been incredibly effective in combating hunger and improving kids’ wellbeing,” 

In his cookbook, Eat a Little Better: Great Flavor, Good Health, Better World, Sam Kass divulges his farm to table approaches and also highlights the need to diversify our protein and plant sources to adapt to the environmental changes we are facing. 

“We have to shift our thinking to work on resiliency and strategies to produce our food in severe droughts and flood. Diversity is going to be our most important strategy.” 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sam worked to secure USD 28 billion as relief funding for independent restaurants, emphasizing how these restaurants are not only crucial for the financial security of historically marginalized groups, but that they are also part of a supply chain that allows smaller farms to survive.   

“There is work to do to make sure food is affordable, accessible, has a much higher nutrition density, and is produced in a way that is not destroying the planet.”  

Sam believes that we all have a role to play by eating more plants, cooking more often, and choosing food that is produced using sustainable methods. Through his pioneering work along the nexus of food-advocacy-business, Sam Kass is a Food Hero that is working to transform the food landscape in the United States to be healthier and more nutritious.