What does it take to be a White House chef? A vast cooking knowledge? Of course. A degree in culinary? Probably. A myriad of food-preparation experiences? Could be. How about a 24-inch gun of biceps? Former White House Chef Andre Rush thinks so.
The Making of Chef Andre Rush
Andre Rush, the youngest among eight children, was born in Mississippi. He played football and high school and was known as “Horse” because of “how hard he ran the football and how strong he was.” according to state Rep. Kabir Karriem, his childhood friend. “He was scrawny. But that boy was some kind of strong. Neckbone strong, I call it,” he added.
More than being strong, Rush also holds three degrees— a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Trident University International, an associate degree in Hotel Restaurant Management from Central Texas College, and an associate degree in Culinary from Stafford University. In 1993, he enlisted in the Army because, according to his interview with Hollywood Real, “he wanted to be part of something bigger.” Hence, he chose to be in the military. Despite the football, art, and track scholarships that he was offered, as well as the Olympic trial that he was lined up for, he chose to be in the military. He also served as a trainer in hand-to-hand combat and food service.
Career At the White House
Chef Rush began cooking in the White House in 1997 and did so for four administrations— Bill Clinton, George Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.
When asked about how he got into cooking, he replied, “Cooking was my passion first. It was a hidden passion, actually because, like I said, my dad was a pretty hard man. My mother would cook, and I would sneak and go cook with my mother.”
Not only did he cook food for the presidents, but he also pumps up with the 22 Pushup Challenge every weekday as part of his raising awareness of the estimated 22 military veterans who die from suicide every day. It wasn’t just 22 pushups that he is doing every day, though, but a whopping 2,222 pushups on top of his 72-hour rotating isolation schedule. That, plus his 6,000-10,000 calorie consumption per day, resulted in biceps that measures 24 inches on each arm. Thus he earned the title “World’s Strongest Chef.”
Ever wondered what Andre Rush eats on a daily basis? According to Insider, here’s what it is:
An average day of eating for Rush can look like this:
- Breakfast: coffee; 24 soft boiled eggs (20 just whites, four whole); a few pieces of lean beef; and a protein shake containing oats, peanut butter, and kale
- Snack: peanut butter, banana, and jam sandwich
- Snack: beef with quinoa, tomatoes, and feta
- Lunch: whole roast chicken, 2-4 oz steak, white rice
- Dinner: sweet potatoes, broccoli, whole chicken, and a protein shake
- Second dinner: salmon, kale, and tomatoes
- Snack: protein shake containing Greek yogurt, oats, quinoa, blueberries, and banana
- Snack: whole chicken
Although, he doesn’t recommend his diet to other people unless you have the same lifestyle.
Becoming A Celebrity Chef
Andre Rush became a celebrity chef in 2018 when CNN reporter Kate Bennett photographed him preparing a Ramadan meal for a White House dinner saying, “I’m going to make you famous.” The photo became viral, and tons of memes were created about his biceps. In fact, one search on his name on Google would give you numerous memes, articles, and interviews featuring the World’s Strongest Chef. At first, rush reportedly didn’t like the attention that he garnered from different media outlets. Although later on, he was able to use the attention to promote his cause, like Mission 22 focusing on helping veterans, the United Service Organizations (USO), the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the homeless, and kids.
Later in 2018, he left his job as a White House chef and has now a book called “Call Me Chef, Dammit! A Veteran’s Journey from the Rural South to the White House“. He also has a youtube channel with 67.6K subscribers where he uploads his recipes, workout tips, and routines.
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