And it's through the garden that the Obamas, with the First Lady as point person, express those views. They want this garden to demonstrate not only their ever-evolving love for food, but also their commitment to help gently guide America both back to a time when we appreciated our bounty, and forward to a time when we'll understand that too much does us no favors. I've been preaching for 30 years that food doesn't have to be anything more than honest and simple to be delicious and enjoyable and fulfilling, and now we're hearing that same message from the White House.
The messenger on a daily basis is the 29-year-old Kass, who knows the name of every variety of tomato, cucumber, green, herb, and pepper we encounter, most of which are in glorious flower or fruit on this hot summer day. Kass doesn't have the typical pedigree of a Washington mouthpiece -- or of a highly trained chef, for that matter. He earned a history degree from the University of Chicago and then traveled the globe for 5 years before resettling in Chicago. What's more, he has cooked in only one place any of us in the food world have ever heard of (Avec, in Chicago). Yet those experiences are what helped him shape a beautifully simple philosophy when it comes to food. Now he's as outspoken an advocate of healthy cooking as anyone who's ever worked in the White House kitchen, and he's using his talents as a chef -- and gardener -- to make his case. "The responsibility of all chefs, of all people who cook, is the care and well-being of the people they're feeding," says Kass as we mosey around the garden planning a late-afternoon meal that we'll share with a couple of White House staffers. "Whether it's in a restaurant, at home, or here, it's the same: You have to nourish and sustain. Whenever we put food on plates, we have to take that into account." Read more at Men's Health