“Yankees, we’ve won!”
– Austrian sous-chef to unprepared Americans hustling at a Michelin 3-star restaurant
“75% of success is staying calm. The rest you figure out.”
– Sam Kass
He then broke into national nutrition policy and was named #11 on Fast Company magazine’s 2011 list of “100 Most Creative People” for his work, which focused on establishing private-sector partnerships to reduce childhood obesity to just 5% by 2030.
His story is amazing, his career turns unexpected, and his trials by fire hilarious.
In this conversation, we talk about:
We delve into his incredible batting average (literal and metaphorical), his trials by fire, what it’s like to cook for the First Family, and well beyond. Enjoy!
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as”.
Want to hear another podcast from a world class chef? Listen to my conversation with Andrew Zimmern. In that episode, we discuss simple cooking tricks, developing TV, his success secrets, and beating addiction (stream below or right-click here to download):
This podcast is brought to you by Mizzen + Main. Mizzen + Main makes the only “dress” shirts I now travel with — fancy enough for important dinners but made from athletic, sweat-wicking material. No more ironing, no more steaming, no more hassle. Click here to see the exact shirts I wear most often.
This podcast is also brought to you by 99Designs, the world’s largest marketplace of graphic designers. Did you know I used 99Designs to rapid prototype the cover for The 4-Hour Body? Here are some of the impressive results. Click this link and get a free $99 upgrade. Give it a test run…
QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: If you had to pack the essence of life into a burrito, what would that burrito look like? OR What simple meal have you used to impress dates? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links, resources, and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Sam Kass on Twitter (say hello!)
- A History of World Agriculture by Marcel Mazoyer and Laurence Roudart
- Restaurants mentioned in this episode:
- Learn more about the White House vegetable garden
- Learn more about Ogimi, Japan, which is famous for long lifespans
- Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Clean 15 food list
- Read the article mentioned in the podcast: The Future of Food is Food by Steve Case
- The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
- The Man Who Quit Money
- Just Eat It a documentary about food waste
- Check out the wine selections from Wolffer Estates
- Learn more about the American Farmland Trust
- Pick up selected cookbooks: Plenty, Jerusalem and Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
- The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg
- Visit Sam on the Internet:
- Eggs, coffee, and morning routines [5:50]
- Why Sam Kass loves baseball [9:25]
- Fulfilling University of Chicago academic requirements while setting records as a baseball player [11:55]
- The story behind how he was baptized by fire in kitchens [17:05]
- Mental preparation for high-stress situations [22:35]
- Unusual restaurants that put out great food [25:35]
- If you had to limit your herbs or spices to 3 choices for the rest of your life, what would they be? [27:55]
- How Sam Kass was introduced to the Obama family, and what it’s like cooking for the POTUS [33:15]
- Food pet peeves [39:00]
- On ecosystem challenges, including soil degradation and the declining bee population [43:05]
- Rapid-fire questions: Who is successful, most gifted book, favorite documentary and a purchase $100 or less that has had the most value? [57:40]
- More morning routines [1:03:05]
- “What is the best use of wine that’s too old to drink?”
- “What should home chefs stop doing?”
- When to know your pan is hot enough to sear a fish and what oil to use [1:13:35]
- “When you fall into a rut in the kitchen, what resource do you turn to for inspiration?”
- Simple starting points for incorporating more healthy food [1:16:50]
- “What’s the best meal to impress a girl but is easy to make?”
- “What dish have you most frequently made for house guests?”
- Common mistakes made when grilling [1:27:30]
- “What is the best way to systematically refine and develop your pallet.” [1:28:35]
- “If you had to pack the essence of life into a burrito, what would that burrito look like?” [1:31:15]
- Advice to a younger Sam Kass just after graduation from the University of Chicago [1:33:45]
- Sam Kass’s one “ask” of the audience [1:36:45]
- Find Sam on the Internet: