Obama Family Chef Tafari Campbell Found Dead In Martha's Vineyard

A paddleboarder who drowned off the coast of Martha's Vineyard on Sunday night has been identified as Chef Tafari Campbell, a personal chef for former President Barack Obama's family. Campbell's body was recovered Monday morning after hours of searching.

The Obamas currently live on Martha's Vineyard, where the president celebrated his 60th birthday alongside high-profile chefs a few years ago. Campbell, who lives in Virginia, was visiting Martha's Vineyard at the time of his death. The Obamas were not home when he passed away, police said.

Campbell first met the Obamas while working as a sous chef in the White House. The president's family developed a soft spot for the young chef and hired him to stay on after Obama's second term ended in 2017. After Campbell's death, the Obamas described him as "Creative and passionate about food and its ability to bring people together."

"We got to know him as a warm, fun, extraordinarily kind person who made all of our lives a little brighter," the Obamas said. Campbell, 45, is survived by his wife, Sherise, and their twin boys, Xavier and Savin.

What was it like for the late chef Tafari Campbell to cook for President Obama?

After Tafari Campbell tragically died while paddleboarding, President Barack Obama and his family remembered him fondly. Cooking for a president is not always easy — but as Campbell likely knew, Obama is easygoing in the kitchen, celebrity chef Bobby Flay revealed.

During Obama's presidency, Campbell was known for brewing special White House beers using honey from First Lady Michelle Obama's gardens. These honey ales and porters, researchers believe, are the first beers brewed on White House grounds in U.S. history. In 2012, Campbell was featured alongside Chef Sam Kass in an "Inside the White House" video walking viewers through the president's beer recipe.

And while Obama may occasionally enjoy a beer, the foods the former president really eats are typically healthier. He opts for a solid breakfast but rarely drinks coffee, and some of his favorite foods include nutty trail mix, broccoli, and his signature hearty and nutritious turkey chili. Many of these would be typical dishes regularly served by Chef Campbell.