Friday, June 04, 2010

Rachael Ray in The White House Kitchen Garden

"Everyone wants to have this conversation now"
Update: A special video of Ray at the Harvest is here. It also stars Marcus Samuelsson.
Celeb Chef Rachael Ray joined First Lady Michelle Obama and the White House chefs in a special Chefs Move To Schools harvest in the Kitchen Garden after the launch event for the new project. In a brief chat with reporters, Ray called Mrs. Obama's campaign great...
"We've been working on this overall initiative--the end of childhood hunger, and the improvement of childhood obesity rates and the overall nutrition of our country's kids for a couple of years," Ray said.

"It's a really kinetic and exciting time since the First Lady took on this cause. It's made our jobs, people who work within this initiative, so much easier because everyone wants to have this conversation now," Ray said. "It's great."

Ray added that to "come out" and see kids excited about working in the Kitchen Garden at the White House was equally exciting, because she knew that the kids would spread the word on healthy eating and gardening, too. (Above: Ray jokes around with White House Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses, center, and chief horticulturalist Jim Adams, in green, who oversees the garden. Pastry assistant Susie Morrison is at left, and chef Michel Nischan is at right)

Due to travel problems, Ray missed the Chefs Move launch event on the South lawn, but she made up for it at the garden. She joined the other chefs at the Harvest, including Tom Colicchio, Cat Cora, Marcus Samuelsson, Bill Telepan, and Michel Nischan, and Todd Gray of DC's Equinox restaurant in plucking arugula, baby spinach, broccoli, rhubarb, fennel and other vegetables. A group of DC elementary school kids were of course on hand to help. (Above: Ray at the prep table; Colicchio is next to her)

The chefs then created a special outdoor garden meal with the kids., with prep done at a table set up by the garden. The kids got veggie washing, slicing and dicing lessons from the chefs, and then dined underneath some shade trees beside the garden. Their healthy feast included grilled chicken salad and rhubarb strawberry crisp.

*Related: On June 10, Ray helped Rep. George Miller unveil new childhood nutrition legislation. Ray, with chef Marcus Samuelsson, stars in a White House video shot during the special Kitchen Garden harvest and picnic for the launch of Chefs Move To Schools. A video of Ray and Rep. Miller in conversation about child nutrition is here.

*Photos by Obama Foodorama