Jan 20, 2023 - Food and Drink
Best Day Ever

Former White House chef Sam Kass on his perfect day in Chicago

Sam Kass. Photo: Monica Eng/Axios

Former Avec cook Sam Kass rose to fame as White House chef for the Obamas, and later as executive director of the first lady's "Let's Move" initiative.

The latest: He's since launched multiple food projects, including Do Good Chicken, which feeds discarded grocery items to chickens.

  • "If one in five chickens Americans ate were Do Good chickens, we would solve retail food waste," Kass tells Axios.
  • You can now buy them at Jewel.

What's happening: Although he's a New York dad these days, the former Hyde Park and Logan Square resident shared his ideal Chicago day based "on my younger self."

🌅 Morning activity: "I've watched many a sunrise from the [Promontory] Point after not going to sleep. But at this point in my life I would much prefer sleeping."

🍳 Breakfast: "Valois for the bacon and cheese omelet and biscuit. Larry [the cook] is a dear friend who has watched me grow up since I started going in at 14 or 15. And then when I came back with Barack and then returned with my kids last summer."

🏟 Daytime activity: "I'm a Sox fan through and through. I really don't like the Cubs. But I go to Wrigley, just because there's no better place to watch a game.

  • "But when my family hears this they're gonna freak out."

🍗 Lunch: "Harold's on 53rd for a half dark and both sauces."

  • "I hadn't eaten Harold's in years, but I went back with my kids this summer and it was as good as ever — so wonderful to taste."

🍽 Dinner: "For old times' sake, I have to go to Avec. If it's cold, you have to have the pork shoulder, but the salads are always great, too. Keeping a restaurant that good for so long is such a feat, and you have to credit Paul [Kahan] and Donnie [Madia] and the team for that."

🍻 Evening activity: "Drive around the city or maybe take a stroll through Hyde Park and go to Jimmy's (Woodlawn Tap)."

The intrigue: When asked why he didn't recommend Avec's famous chorizo dates in pepper sauce, Kass said, "I cooked so many of them, I can't eat them anymore."


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