First Lady Michelle Obama Hosts First-Ever Kids' State Dinner

Watch the First Lady speak at the Kids' State Dinner here.

Today, First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the first-ever Kids’ “State Dinner” at the White House, welcoming 54 budding chefs to a formal luncheon in the East Room. The guests, all between the ages of 8 and 12, represent all U.S. states, three territories and the District of Columbia.

Each of the guests, along with their parents, submitted a healthy recipe as part of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, which invited families to create an original lunchtime recipe that is healthy, affordable and delicious, and follows the nutritional guidelines of MyPlate.

“Believe it or not, more than 1,200 kids submitted recipes for this challenge -- 1,200.  It's a big competition,” the First Lady said.  A panel of judges from the organizations that teamed up with Mrs. Obama on this initiative -- Epicurious, the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture—tasted each of the recipes that made it to the final round of the competition and picked their favorites from each state, as Mrs. Obama explained.

And they spent hours trying to decide which ones were the healthiest and the tastiest and the most fun to cook and eat.  And it wasn't easy to choose one winner from every single state.  You were the winner in your state -- the whole state.  You guys won!  Cool! 

But you're here because your recipes truly stood out, right?  And that’s really saying something.  You came up with dishes that were packed with nutritious, delicious ingredients; dishes that are good for you, but more importantly, they taste good, too.  See?  It can happen -- healthy and tasty at the same time.

The junior chefs and their parents enjoyed several of the judges’ selections at lunch, including a Quinoa, Black Bean, and Corn Salad created by 11-year-old Haile Thomas of Arizona, Yummy Cabbage Sloppy Joes, created by 12-year-old Rori Coyne of Kansas.  There was even dessert: a Strawberryana Smoothie, created by 11-year-old Stefani Shimomura-Sakamoto who came all the way from Hawaii.

Not one to be left out of all the fun, President Obama stopped by to surprise the guests, and told all the young people how proud he was of their hard work.

Look, let's face it, I don't cook that often these days. But I remember cooking and it's not always easy to make something that people like to eat. Then for you guys to actually come up with recipes that are healthy and tasty, and to do it in a way that helps to contribute to spreading the word about healthy eating among your peers -- that's a really big deal. 

So we're very proud of you.  We're very impressed with everything that you've done. 

Check out a video of the President’s remarks:

White House photographers were on hand to capture some behind the scenes action. See a gallery of the images they captured below.

  • Epicurious State Dinner Setting

    A booklet of the winning lunch recipes is included as part of the place setting at the Kids’ State Dinnerin the East Room.

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  • Guests Arrive to the Epicurious Kids' State Dinner

    Kayla Wayman, 9, from Montana, waves to the media in the East Garden Room as she arrives for the Kids’ State Dinner.

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  • Sam Kass Interviews Samuel Hightower

    Sam Kass, Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives, interviews Kids' State Dinner guest Samuel Hightower, 10, from Maryland.

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  • White House Executive Chef Chris Cumerford Prepares Dishes

    White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford plates Quinoa Black Bean and Corn Salad in the Old Family Dining Room.

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  • First Lady Michelle Obama is Introduced by Marshall Reid

    First Lady Michelle Obama is introduced by Marshall Reid, age 12, during the Kids’ State Dinner in the East Room.

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  • President Barack Obama Drops by the Epicurious Kids’ State Dinner

    President Barack Obama drops by the Kids’ State Dinner in the East Room of the White House.

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  • President Barack Obama Samples a Baked Zucchini Fry at the Epicurious Kids’ State Dinner

    President Barack Obama samples a baked zucchini fry in the Old Family Dining Room.

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  • Big Time Rush Performs During the Epicurious Kids’ State Dinner

    Big Time Rush performs during the Kids’ State Dinner in the East Room of the White House.

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  • First Lady Michelle Obama and Guests at the Epicurious Kids’ State Dinner

    First Lady Michelle Obama and guests applaud as Big Time Rush performs during the Kids’ State Dinner.

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  • Epicurious Balloon Creations in the Cross Hall

    Balloon creations are piled under the George Washington bust in the Cross Hall of the White House.

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  • Epicurious Kids’ State Dinner Guests Tour the White House Kitchen Garden

    Kids’ State Dinner guests tour the White House Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn.

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  • Epicurious Kids’ State Dinner Guests Walk Across the South Lawn

    Kids’ State Dinner guests walk across the South Lawn for a tour the White House Kitchen Garden

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