Executive pastry chef at the White House, Bill Yosses, has hung up his apron to help create a foundation to promote healthy food, citing the first lady’s health push as a key motivating factor.
The acclaimed pastry chef, who has racked up time at esteemed New York restaurants including Montrachet and Bouley, originally joined the White House staff in 2007.
While his notoriously lavish and rich desserts – particularly raspberry and pear soufflés – were appreciated by the Bush family, the arrival of Michelle Obama led to an altered menu, in favour of healthier sweets in smaller portions, The New York Times reported.
The 60-year-old chef said he had to replace the usual “blitzkrieg” of butter and cream.
“Now, we replace butter with fruit purée, which gives some body,” he said, acknowledging he also often uses honey and agave in place of sugar and adds wholegrains to desserts.
Mr Yosses said he has also been inspired by the White House garden, where he grows strawberries, blueberries, rhubarb, figs, papaya, carrots, sweet potatoes and herbs like lemon thyme flowers, lavender and pineapple sage.
“I don’t want to demonise cream, butter and sugar,” he told The New York Times, however, said Mrs Obama’s crusade against fatty foods had a lasting impact on his recipes.
“There’s much talk about STEM in schools — science, technology, engineering and math,” he said, as reported by the New York Daily News.
“Food knowledge should be part of a complete curriculum. We used to learn about food as a part of everyday growing up, but I think we’ve lost that. I think it has a place in schools.”
In a statement, Mrs Obama said she was “incredibly sad” to see the White House’s long-term staff member leave.