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5 things to know about Tafari Campbell — Obama’s chef who died paddleboarding on Martha’s Vineyard

A Virginia man who spent more than ten years cooking for former president Barack Obama perished in a sad accident on Sunday while paddleboarding on Martha's Vineyard.

The Obamas described Tafari Campbell, 45, as "part of our family" and a gifted chef who was inventive and passionate about cuisine in a statement.

"We got to know him as a warm, fun, extraordinarily kind person who made all of our lives just a little bit brighter," they said.

Here are five facts about Campbell to be aware of:

Campbell contributed to the creation of Obama's honey ale beer.
According to the White House Archives, Obama purchased a home brewing equipment for the White House kitchens in 2011 after being inspired by amateur brewers across the nation. The White House Honey Brown Ale was created despite no one in the kitchens having any prior experience with home brewing.

Campbell was one of the employees that contributed to the creation of the beer; he is shown brewing the ale in a 2013 White House YouTube video.

Although George Washington is known to have brewed beer and distilled whiskey at Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson created wine in the White House, the White House Archives claim that the honey ale was the first beer ever prepared on White House grounds.

The honey in the drink came from Michelle Obama's beehive on the South Lawn. The cooks later produced a White House Honey Porter and a White House Honey Blonde using the same honey.

The New York Times and Brooklyn Brewery gave the honey ale recipe positive reviews.

"There was a floral scent with a hint of orange and a metallic accent that I occasionally detect in honey. It was light, crisp, acidic, mildly bitter, and not at all sweet on the taste. The Times reported, "I could taste the honey in the beer's full, creamy texture: thickness without weight, like a Chenin Blanc wine.

A honey ale home brewing kit is now available from Northern Brewer.

  1. Prior to working for the Obamas, Campbell owned a restaurant and served as an aide to President Bush.
    Before submitting an application for a position in the White House, Campbell, according to a 2009 article in The Sun Sentinel, attended culinary school in Virginia and ran his own restaurant.

Advertisement: According to the newspaper, Campbell was first employed to work at the White House under George W. Bush. He was apparently one of the four cooks that the Obamas asked to continue on.

Trevor Campbell, Campbell's father, told The Sun Sentinel in 2009, "I'm so proud of him, I can't put it into words," and said that his son used to prepare meals for big family get-togethers at the house.

Campbell worked for Cristeta Comerford, the first Asian woman and executive chef of the White House, during both of the regimes. She continues to retain the role that Laura Bush assigned her to in 2005.

  1. After Campbell left the White House, the Obamas requested that she continue working for them.
    The Obamas claimed in their statement from Monday night that they loved Campbell's cuisine so much that they wanted him to continue working for them after he left the White House.

The Obamas claimed that Tafari graciously consented to stay with them as they prepared to leave the White House. Since then, he has been a part of our lives, and his passing has left us heartbroken.

The Obamas were pleased with more than simply Campbell's culinary abilities, though. They stated in the statement how much they admired his character and attitude to cuisine.

Ad: "When we first met him, he was a talented sous chef at the White House — creative and passionate about food, and its ability to bring people together," they said. We grew to know him as a pleasant, jovial, incredibly kind person who made all of our lives a little brighter in the years that followed.

  1. Campbell's wife has a bakery and catering business and they had twin boys together.
    Sherise, Campbell's wife, is a professional chef. She runs Sweet Sage Baking and Catering, a bakery and catering business that covers the Washington, D.C., metro area and northern Virginia.

Sherise claimed in a 2021 interview that she founded her company after coming to a moment in life where she felt the need to further her own goals. She had been receiving excellent reviews from her coworkers on her baking and cooking abilities, which she had developed at a culinary school, so she made the decision to keep going in that route.

She recalled that for as long as she could remember, she had been working in the kitchen, either helping her mother or her grandmother. I could fry an egg when I was around seven years old.I've always loved food, too.

Xavier and Savin, twin twins who Campbell and his wife shared, were born. The boys' ages and whether or not they were present on Martha's Vineyard when Campbell passed away are unknown.

Sherise and the kids were mentioned by the Obamas in their statement.

In expressing their sorrow on Tafari's passing, they remarked, "Today we join everyone who knew and loved Tafari, especially his wife Sherise and their twin boys, Xavier and Savin."

Campbell has an Instagram account called Thymeless Creations where he shared images and videos of the meals he prepared, including Mayan chicken and peach fosters.


Daniel Jack

For Daniel, journalism is a way of life. He lives and breathes art and anything even remotely related to it. Politics, Cinema, books, music, fashion are a part of his lifestyle.