- Combat veteran and former Army chef Andre Rush worked as a White House chef under four presidents.
- He says every kitchen should have a muddler for fresh herbs and spices.
- Rush discovered the power of freshly muddled seasonings from the White House garden.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Andre Rush worked as a chef in the White House kitchen under four administrations, preparing meals for Presidents Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump.
When it comes to his own kitchen, he told Insider there’s one tool he keeps coming back to and thinks everyone should have.
Rush says every kitchen should include a muddler to crush fresh herbs and spices — a tip he picked up from the White House garden
First lady Michelle Obama’s White House vegetable garden showed Rush how fresh herbs and spices can transform a meal.
Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy
Rush discovered the power of fresh herbs and spices while working in the White House, where first lady Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden provided the kitchen with an ample supply.
“That was one of the things I did love about the garden at the White House,” he said. “Those spices that we have every day over the counter, when you do them yourself, they become something totally brand new that is tantalizing to your palate, visually tantalizing, and makes a statement by itself.”
A spice muddler.
Fabian Plock/EyeEm/Getty Images
Rush says that freshly muddled herbs and spices are so flavorful that they minimize the need for salt and can change the way you eat.
“I think everybody should do that because you can get that natural flavor from it,” he said. “That way, you can cut down on all this sodium from the salt that we have to add to it. But if you go and get your garlic, and your cilantro, and you get roasted tomatoes, and just start pressing down really well, use some fresh peppercorns, and use a little bit of salt — just a little bit — you’ll be amazed at what it would do to your proteins, your salads, even if you use some complex or simple carbohydrates. It just changes your whole entire world.”
Rush, a combat veteran and former Army chef, now uses his platform to advocate for military service members and suicide prevention. His memoir, “Call Me Chef, Dammit! A Journey From the Rural South to White House,” will be published by HarperCollins this fall.
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