Thursday, November 08, 2012

New White House Let's Move! Video: 'Top Chef' And First Lady Michelle Obama

A school lunch cooking challenge with cheftestants, kids and Dallas Cowboys...
Waaaay back in February as she marked the second anniversary of the Let's Move! campaign with a three-day tour through four states, one of First Lady Michelle Obama's stops was in Dallas, Texas.  There, she judged a special Top Chef competition, where former contestants from the Bravo TV show competed in a quick-fire challenge, joined by players from the Dallas Cowboys and child sous chefs.  The White House has just released a new video from the cookoff, which is being featured on Top Chef's latest spinoff, Life After Top Chef.   

The First Lady's event was held on the basketball court of the Kleberg-Rylie Recreation Center, and co-emceed by Top Chef host Tom Colicchio and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass.

With hundreds of local school kids cheering them on, Top Chef cheftestants Richard Blais, Fabio Viviani, Jenn Carroll, Grayson Schmitz, Paul Qui, and Washington, DC's own Spike Mendelsohn competed by making healthy school lunch recipes, using the MyPlate guidelines.  In the end, Mrs. Obama, Kass and Colicchio declined to choose a winning team. When children eat healthy food, "everybody’s a winner," Mrs. Obama declared.

Dallas Cowboys Miles Austin, DeMarcus Ware, and Felix Jones joined in the fun, and Mrs. Obama during her visit also announced an expansion of the Chefs Move to Schools project, which marries professional chefs with schools.  The program as of this September had "thousands of chefs signed on," according to Kass, but he wasn't sure of the total number.  Mrs. Obama also announced a milestone for the HealthierUs School Challenge: 1,589 new schools had received certification for for the 2011-2012 school year.  This summer, that goal was demolished when the Let's Move! campaign announced that more than 4,400 schools had been certified, which is noted in the new video.  (Above:  Mrs. Obama with Austin, Ware and Jones)

The morning of filming in Dallas was one of eight stops on Mrs. Obama's anniversary tour, which also included stops in Iowa and Florida, those crucial battleground states that President Obama has repeatedly visited in the last year as he campaigned for reelection.  Mrs. Obama had three stops in Florida because indeed, even the cause of healthy eating can be put to good political use on the campaign trail.

After her February stops in Iowa and Florida to celebrate the Let's Move! anniversary, Mrs. Obama has returned to the swing states many times.  Her very last day on the campaign trail on Monday, Nov. 5 included a stop in Orlando in the afternoon.  Late on Monday night, she joined President Obama for the final campaign stop of his career, for a big rally in Des Moines, Iowa

There will be more out-of-state visits for Let's Move! in the year ahead, but these will have nothing to do with reelecting the President.  Mrs. Obama will celebrate the third anniversary of her initiative in February of 2013.

*Photo by Chuck Kennedy/White House