Wednesday, October 12, 2011

For Sam Kass, A Food Policy Road Trip--And No State Dinner

Kass's three-day tour takes him to Pittsburgh, New York and Boston, and includes James Beard Foundation Conference...
Looks like White House assistant chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass is missing all the cooking action at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for Thursday's State Dinner in honor of President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea. Kass, beginning today, is traveling the Eastern Seaboard through Friday for food policy speaking engagements in three different states, spreading the Let's Move! message for First Lady Obama. (Above: Kass speaking in DC earlier this year)

For the State Dinner, Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford and Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses will be cooking not only without Kass' help, but also without the creative interventions of a guest chef, Obama Foodorama has learned. Guest chefs joined the White House team for the first two State Dinners of the Administration. Thursday's State Dinner is the fifth of the Administration.

Kass' three-day trip continues a very busy travel schedule, which has had him going coast-to-coast in the last year from San Diego, California to Orlando, Florida, to bring Let's Move! to stakeholders.

Wednesday, Pittsburgh: This evening in Pittsburgh,Pennsylvania, Kass is giving the keynote address at the Feeding the Spirit: Museums, Food, and Community symposium, which is going on at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, sponsored by the American Association of Museums. About 100 representatives from museums and public gardens around the nation are expected to gather to discuss how they are serving as catalysts for community action on food and nutrition.

Kass is credited with creating Let's Move Museums and Gardens, a component of Mrs. Obama's childhood obesity initiative that focuses on bringing food education and exhibits into America's educational and artistic public spaces. Read this story from the Post-Gazette that describes how Kass and Phipps became partners in the project.

Thursday, New York: On the day of the State Dinner, Kass will be in New York City, addressing the James Beard Foundation's second annual food policy conference, held at the Hearst Tower and titled “Sustainability on the Table: How Money and Media Influence the Way America Eats.” Kass will address leaders of the US sustainable food movement at 9:10 AM, giving a speech titled "The Ingredients of Change."

A Beard Foundation spokesman told Obama Foodorama that events will be liveblogged at, and tweeted @beardfoundation, using the hashtag #JBFTALK.

Mrs. Obama has been honored by the Beard Foundation with one of their inaugural Leadership Awards, which will be presented tonight at a glittering dinner in New York. Mrs. Obama is not attending the dinner, and no one from the White House--including Kass--will be accepting the award on the First Lady's behalf, an East Wing spokesman told Obama Foodorama.

Friday, Boston: Kass will be in Boston, Massachusetts, to address the American Academy of Pediatrics Conference on Friday. Dr. Judy Palfrey, the newly minted Executive Director of the Let's Move! campaign, is the immediate past president of the organization, which has more than 34,000 members nationwide. Palfrey will not join Kass for his presentation, an East Wing aide said. Let's Move in the Clinic, a component of the Let's Move! campaign, asks pediatricians to make a clinical commitment to combating obesity.

*Photo by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama

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