This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
A couple weeks ago, I got the chance of a lifetime to attend the 3rd Annual 2014 White House Kids’ State Dinner hosted by The First Lady, Michelle Obama. The Kids’ State Dinner was held for 54 children, representing all U.S. states, three territories, and the District of Columbia. The 54 children won the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, a nationwide recipe challenge, originated by Epicurious, to promote healthy lunches as part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative. The challenge for 8-12 year olds was to create a lunchtime recipe that is healthy, affordable, original and delicious. Entries had to represent each of the food groups, either in one dish or as parts of a lunch meal, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy foods, with fruits and veggies making up roughly half the plate or recipe.
I was invited to attend this event as media and to document the day. I seriously was so elated and walking on cloud 9. After the entire whirlwind event, I still couldn’t believe I was actually there and even walking around the White House grounds and on the South Lawn. Not to mention, be in the same room as the Obama’s! I work right next to the White House and I can see the White House from my office every day so getting this opportunity was just so amazing!
Thank you to Pinterest who set me up with this once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s definitely something I’ll never forget!
I had to take a photograph of my PRESS badge! Haha, I felt so official!
This room was set up so beautifully. Not a detail was missed!
Loved the farm stand they had on stage! There were ‘bouquets’ of apples, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, zucchini, etc.
Oh, so the above photos were during pre-set, where we could go setup our cameras and reserve our spots in the media section, which is why the room was empty. We were then taken back to the press briefing room…yes, this is where Obama gives his press briefings and actually, on this day, he had a briefing at 11:30 on the situation in Ukraine. Unfortunately, we were already taken upstairs for the event so I couldn’t stay to snap a photo of him in the briefing room, but I did snap a photo of where it all goes down!! For those of you that watch Scandal, can you see Fitz or Olivia or even Cyrus standing here?! Haha!
The arrangements on the table were so beautifully arranged and thought out! The red spatulas, whisks, and spoons made up the below arrangement, along with red bell peppers and gerbera daisies!
The White House executive chef, Sam Kass making his rounds before the lunch.
And here we go! Mrs. Obama walking up to the podium!!
Tanya Steel, Special Projects Editor, at Epicurious.com speaking
Braeden Mannering gave a really heartfelt speech that actually made a bunch of people tear up, including the First Lady! Seriously, this kid is going places. He was last year’s Kids’ State Dinner winner from Delaware and he was inspired by the First Lady to pay it forward so when he got home, he created Brae’s Brown Bags, a service that delivers healthy snack bags to the homeless. You guys – HE’S TEN YEARS OLD and he’s already making such an impact in his community!!
Oh, no big deal…The President of the United States decided to join us for lunch ;)
The next series of photos makes me smile because Mr. and Mrs. Obama were talking about their guilt foods and foods they cannot resist. Mrs. Obama: French fries (my kinda lady!) and President Obama: ice cream. Malia and Sasha were brought into the convo too and I think Malia’s was sushi and Sasha’s was cookies. I’m not positive so don’t quote me on that!
Lunch is served! Chicken and grape salad lettuce wraps, muffin tin egg white frittatas, and Mike’s chicken and vegetable dumpling cups.
Grillin’ out veggie style black bean burger, quinoa sweet potato boat, and tomato cucumber salad as the main entrees.
Sam Kass getting interviewed by a junior reporter
“Get Your Goat” dessert
The surprise performance this year was THE LION KING!!! They’re at the Kennedy Center right now and after this performance, where they performed Circle of Life, I’m desperately begging Jason to come see this with me! I love musicals!
Anyone recognize this character? Rafiki!
The Kennedy Gardens
Unreal I got to step foot on the South Lawn to capture this
This is the White House Kitchen Garden
The press had a chance to interview the kids from each state, if they so chose.
Here’s the winner from Virginia! Sophie Haga, age 12. She won with her chia chicken pitas.
So this is really cool – this is the White House beehive that Sam Kass had put in a couple years ago. They want to get awareness out about how the bee population is shrinking and they even set up a pollination garden for them. The White House brews their own honey ale and honey porter with the honey from this beehive!!
Oh heyyyy ;)
The event all happened so fast and it was over before I even knew it! It was such a fun experience and it was really neat to see the younger generation so interested in being in the kitchen and creating their own recipes. It’s great that they’re conscious about eating healthy and incorporating a healthy lifestyle into their every day lives. These kids have a bright future ahead of them and I hope they continue to create, develop their sophisticated palates, and never stop loving food! :)