The Untold Truth Of Former White House Chef Andre Rush

The following article includes discussions about PTSD and suicide prevention.

Former White House chef Andre Rush is known for his cooking, but he gained notoriety because of his 24-inch biceps. Born in Mississippi, Rush, the youngest of eight children, played football in high school. He was known as "Horse" because of "how hard he ran the football and because of how strong he was," childhood friend said. The friend went on to say that when he would bench press 315 pounds, his teammates would stop working out to marvel at his strength (via Clarion Ledger).

But there is more to Andre Rush than his culinary skills and giant arm muscles. He holds three college degrees, one in hotel restaurant management. He also has a myriad unexpected talents and skills, and since leaving the White House and retiring from the military as a master sergeant, he has become a motivational speaker promoting the military and working toward suicide prevention (via Andre Rush's website). Rush can also soon add author to his résumé. His memoir "Call Me Chef, Dammit! A Veteran's Journey From the Rural South to the White House" is scheduled to be released in 2022.

Andre Rush cooked for four American presidents

Andre Rush's tenure as a White House chef spanned across the terms of four presidents: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. During his time there, Rush became familiar with each president's favorite foods. According to Insider, Bush was a fan of barbecue, the Obamas preferred red velvet cakes for birthday celebrations, and although Trump was famously a fan of fast food, he didn't eat it exclusively.

Rush captured the public's attention when a photograph was taken of him preparing a Ramadan meal for a Trump dinner (via Bored Panda). The journalist taking the photograph, Kate Bennet, reportedly told Rush at the time, "I'm going to make you famous" (via Clarion Ledger). The photograph went viral, showing off Rush's 24-inch biceps. Rush took the attention his arms garnished and put it toward something good: He began a pro-military and suicide prevention platform, which he used his new-found fame to promote.

Andre Rush is more than just a chef

While Andre Rush is clearly a talented chef (he has over 150 culinary awards to prove it), he has many other talents. He is also an endurance trainer, in fact, he is considered the Army's strongest chef, able to lift over 700 pounds. He has been a hand-to-hand combat trainer to over 1,000 members of the military as well as civilians and trained over 10,000 troops in the culinary arts (via Andre Rush's website).

After retiring from his duties at the White House, Rush was chosen to produce the television show "Chef in the City." The premise was to take viewers across the country to various towns and cities where they would visit local establishments that Rush said are "not normally highlighted on current cooking shows," such as children's hospitals and first responder units (via U.S. Veterans Magazine).

Surprisingly, Rush's talents are even more diverse, as he also has experience as an ice carver and sommelier.

Andre Rush eats between 6,000 and 10,000 calories every day

Andre Rush's diet is no joke. According to a YouTube video by Men's Health, Rush eats eight meals a day to fuel up for his intense workouts. He follows a 60/20/20 plan, which is a diet consisting of 60% protein, 20% good fats, and 20% carbohydrates. Breakfast is served at 3 a.m., consisting of 24 eggs and a protein shake. Next up comes snack at 6 a.m., which is usually a peanut butter sandwich with sliced banana. Lunchtime at 11 a.m. is lean beef, quinoa, tomatoes, lemon juice, pepper, garlic, and feta cheese. Rush's 2 p.m. meal is just before his "massive" workout, containing half a chicken, steak, and white rice. At 6 p.m., Rush eats dinner, which includes the other half of the chicken, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and another protein shake. A meal centered around fish (Rush particularly likes salmon) is eaten at 8 p.m. Two hours later, 10 p.m., he enjoys a final protein shake, and, to top it all off, at midnight he eats another half a chicken. Phew, what a whirlwind day of eating.

Rush also has a secret ingredient he likes to include in any meals he can. "I love, love, love black garlic. It has so many health benefits for you. It's absolutely amazing," he said (via Men's Health on YouTube).

Andre Rush does 2,222 pushups every day

Andre Rush is strong — really strong. Not only is he not kidding around when it comes to his own physical health and encouraging the physical health of others, he does 2,222 pushups every day for another reason: to raise awareness for suicide prevention among veterans (via We Are the Mighty). Rush is participating in the 22 pushup challenge, which Men's Journal reports is a challenge that encourages people to do 22 pushups per day to raise awareness for the 22 veterans who commit suicide every day. In true Rush fashion, he goes above and beyond, completing 2,222, which he said in a YouTube interview with Men's Health takes him an hour and a half.

Today, Rush is also the CEO of 2222INC (2 Push, 2gether, 2 Serve, 2 Many), an organization that supports the mental and emotional health of active duty members of the military, veterans, and the overall community (via LinkedIn).

Andre Rush suffers from PTSD himself

Andre Rush was in the Pentagon on September 11 when the hijacked plane crashed into the building. The incident inspired him to sign up for combat duty. He was wounded during a tour in Iraq while on patrol duty. When he returned to the United States, the Clarion Ledger reports, he "went back to being the happy-go-lucky chef that people loved."

"Yeah, I was the big, tough guy who had it all under control," Rush said. "But down deep, I knew I needed help."

Rush sought counseling, and after he left his first session discouraged, he met a man whose words left him encouraged and sparked motivation to help others.

"I look at you and see you here," the man said. "Now I know that I'm doing the right thing coming here, too."

"It was an awakening for me," Rush said. "I knew then that I could make a difference, maybe even help save lives. That's what I've been trying to do ever since. And by helping others, it's also helping me survive."

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.