"Isn't the first time": White House Chef Tafari Campbell conspiracy emerges as internet draws comparisons with Walter Scheib

Chef Tafari Campbell with his wife Sherise. (Image via Instagram/thymeless_creations)
Chef Tafari Campbell with his wife Sherise. (Image via Instagram/thymeless_creations)

Barack Obama’s personal chef Tafari Campbell, who served in the White House during his presidency, died over the weekend near the former president’s Martha’s Vineyard home. On Sunday, he went missing while paddleboarding and the following day his lifeless body was discovered at the local Edgartown Great Pond.

Former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama were not at home when the incident occurred but shared their statement with The Guardian saying that Campbell was a “beloved part of our family.” They also shared how they first met him at the White House and their association continued long after ex-President Obama left his office.

“When we first met him, he was a talented sous chef at the White House – creative and passionate about food, and its ability to bring people together. In the years that followed, we got to know him as a warm, fun, extraordinarily kind person who made all of our lives a little brighter,” said the couple.

They further added:

“That’s why, when we were getting ready to leave the White House, we asked Tafari to stay with us, and he generously agreed. He’s been part of our lives ever since, and our hearts are broken that he’s gone.”

While the Obamas can’t grieve enough at the loss of their personal chef, netizens took the news of Tafari Campbell’s death rather strangely. In fact, as soon as the news surfaced on social media, people pointed out how this wasn’t the first time that a White House chef died by drowning.

Earlier, in 2015, Chef Walter Scheib too succumbed to drowning in New Mexico. Back then, he was the head chef hired by First Lady Hillary Clinton, wife of President Bill Clinton.

Conspiracy theories have been widespread ever since with netizens comparing the deaths of the two White House chefs. One user even commented on Twitter, sharing a 2015 news clipping of Walter Scheib’s demise from the Insider:

A netizen insinuating that White House chefs have a history of dying by drowning. (Image via Twitter/impepe.eth)
A netizen insinuating that White House chefs have a history of dying by drowning. (Image via Twitter/impepe.eth)

“Nothing to see here”: Netizens compare the deaths of Tafari Campbell and Walter Scheib as conspiracies go wild

The 45-year-old former White House chef went missing on Sunday evening near the Obamas’ Massachusetts residence. Since then, police had been searching for him after receiving a 911 call from a fellow paddleboarder saying “a male paddleboarder who had gone into the water, appeared to briefly struggle to stay on the surface, and then submerged.”


Unfortunately, Chef Tafari Campbell did not resurface and the search and rescue party found his drowned body on Monday from the Edgartown Great Pond, roughly 100 feet from the shore at a depth of eight feet.

The Dumfries native was employed by the Obamas as their personal chef and was visiting them from his home in Virginia. However, they were not present at the time of the tragedy.

Interestingly, Campbell’s body had no lifejacket on when it was recovered. Currently, the Massachusetts State Police Department is investigating the death, but it is presumed that it was an unfortunate accident and nothing more.

However, Twitteratti thinks it is kind of similar to White House Chef Walter Scheib’s death who served President Clinton and also died from drowning in New Mexico. Not only that but the internet users have dug out video footage of Tafari Campbell showing him as a seasoned swimmer.

In fact, his ‘Fitness’ highlights on Instagram show him practicing backstroke, freestyle, and other kinds of swimming strokes for a continued 40-minute swim workout.

This has netizens believe that there may have been some conspiracy behind Tafari Campbell’s demise; as his drowning seemed rather impossible.

At the same time, they have drawn out comparisons between the death of the two White House chefs, stating that it “looks like a pattern.” Others speculate that the chef’s death may have possible ties to the former President. Here are some of the wild comments online:

Sous Chef Tafari Campbell worked for nearly a decade at the White House, first during George W. Bush's time and later during Barack Obama’s two-term presidency in Washington D.C.

During his time there, he helped create some of the most famous presidential recipes, one of which included Barack’s favorite honey ale beer brewed from ingredients grown especially at the White House.

After he left office, when Obama asked Campbell to join him as a personal chef, he agreed. Since then, he has been with them on and off, traveling from his home in Virginia to wherever the Obamas were staying.

As per Michelle Obama’s statement to the BBC, Tafari Campbell is survived by his wife Sherise, and their twin sons, Xavier and Savin.

Edited by Prem Deshpande