Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sam Kass, Chef José Andrés Judge Recipes For First Lady's 'Healthy Lunchtime Challenge'

56 child contest winners will visit the White House for a Kids' State Dinner with Mrs. Obama...
UPDATE, July 24: The 54 winners are announced
Junior chefs ages 8-12 from around the nation submitted more than 1,200 recipes for First Lady Michelle Obama's contest The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, according to the White House. The entry deadline for the contest was June 17, and judging of 100 dishes prepped from the recipes was conducted on Wednesday morning. Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass was chief judge, joined by acclaimed DC chef José Andrés. Winners will be announced on July 16th, according to the official rules. (Above: Kass in action as Andrés looks on)

The two chefs were joined by five other judges, including Tanya Steel, Editor-in-chief of, and representatives from the US Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture, contest co-sponsors. Alexandra Reid and her son Marshall, of Sanford, North Carolina were also judges. Marshall, age 12, and his mom are co-authors of the book Portion Size Me: A Kid-Driven Plan to a Healthier Family.

The action was live-Tweeted on the Let's Move! account, @LetsMove (Kass does not have his own account).

"Sam Kass here, WH chef and advisor for healthy food initiatives, tweeting from our tasting. Follow along -Sam," Kass wrote, later adding "So many delicious, creative recipes here today, it's hard to pick the best ones -Sam."

The Kids' State Dinner...
The 56 child winners and their parent/guardian companions--one pair from each state and the US territories--will visit the White House for a Kids' State Dinner hosted by Mrs. Obama. It will actually be a luncheon, currently scheduled for August. The top picks from the contest will be served at the event. (Above: Kass and Andrés score the dishes)

"With parents and kids all across the country getting creative in the kitchen, I know we'll find healthy meals that every family will enjoy," Mrs. Obama said when announcing the contest on May 21.

"And I can’t wait to try the kids’ creations myself,” Mrs. Obama said.

The recipes were judged on "healthiness, creativity, affordability and tastiness," tweeted @LetsMove.

"Encouraging kids to create their own recipes empowers them to make healthy choices about food -Sam," Kass tweeted.

"Kids of America! Great job for Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & #KidsStateDinner" Andrés tweeted.

The recipes had to follow USDA's MyPlate guidelines: "Entries should represent each of the food groups, either in one dish or as parts of a lunch meal, including fruit, veggies, whole grains, protein and low-fat dairy foods," noted the contest announcement. (Above: Chefs prepping the contest recipes)

Andrés last cooked at the White House on May 19th, when Mrs. Obama hosted a luncheon for the partners of G8 leaders, while their spouses were at Camp David with President Obama.

*Photos by @LetsMove.