Tafari Campbell, the most popular White House chef was found dead on Monday at the age of 45. Campbell was visiting Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard home when he drowned in the Edgartown Great Pond.
Tafari Campbell was Barack Obama’s sous chef at the White House. “Tafari was a beloved part of our family,” read the statement by the Obamas.
Campbell first worked for President George W. Bush and was asked to stay on to work for the Obamas. Afterwards, he stayed with the Obamas as a personal chef.
Campbell was born in 1978 in Dumfries, Virginia. A 2009 article in The Sun Sentinel revealed that he went to culinary school in Virginia. Before he applied for a job at the White House, Campbell ran his own restaurant.
Campbell first worked for President George W. Bush at the White House. He was among the four chefs asked to stay on by the Obamas. Afterwards, he stayed with the Obamas as a personal chef since they loved his cooking. “When we were getting ready to leave the White House, we asked Tafari to stay with us, and he generously agreed,” the Obamas said. “He’s been part of our lives ever since, and our hearts are broken that he’s gone.”
The Obamas revealed their admiration for not only Campbell’s cooking but also his personality. “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. In the years that followed, we got to know him as a warm, fun, extraordinarily kind person who made all of our lives a little brighter,” they stated.
In the White House, Campbell worked under Cristeta Comerford, the first woman and first Asian White House executive chef. Comerford was appointed by Laura Bush in 2005 and continues to hold the position.
He married Sherise Campbell who also works in the culinary arts. She is the owner of Sweet Sage Baking and Catering which operates in northern Virginia and the Washington D.C. area. Tafari and Sherise were parents to twin boys Savin and Xavier. The Obama family mentioned them in their statement, expressing their grief, “Today we join everyone who knew and loved Tafari — especially his wife Sherise and their twin boys, Xavier and Savin — in grieving the loss of a truly wonderful man.”