Live from the 2012 Kids’ State Dinner with Sam Kass


Sam Kass:
Hello. My name is Sam Kass. I am assistant chef here at the
White House and welcome to the east room for the first ever in
the history of the White House kids state dinner. During lunch. We are so excited to have kids
from all over the country. One winner from each state and
their parent who have won an incredible honor of coming to
have a dinner with the First Lady of the United States
through our partnership with Epicurious and their
healthy cooking contest. This has — we got 1200
submissions from all over the country. For kids to submit with their
parents recipes that were healthy, creative, and delicious. And we have had an amazing time. So after we got all of these
submissions Epicurious selected two from each state that
were best met the criteria. From there, myself, Jose’ Andres
and a number of other judges tasted a hundred dishes and over
in about a two hour period to determine the winner. We really were looking to see
what kid used their creative talents to help put dishes on
the plate that not only were good for you, but were delicious
and that kids would love to eat. So we have had an amazing time. And if you go to let’smove.gov
you can download this cook book that has all of our very
talented young people’s recipes. So right now what you are seeing
is kids coming in to make their way up to the east room to
get ready for, for the dinner. It has been such a pleasure to
see these kids and all of their hard work and their creativity. And we know just how important
it is for kids to get in involved in eating healthy
and living healthier lives. Right now, one in three of the
youngest kids in our, in our country are going to have
diabetes in their lifetime if we don’t turn this around. And so the First Lady is calling
on all of us to unite around our kids health and support families
to lead healthier lives. And this is what
it is all about. Kids cooking and taking this
into their own hands and being leaders in this
is just thrilling. So we are so excited. We are making
history here today. And let’s see who is
coming in right now. And so I am going to
introduce our first guest. Come here, Haile. Give me a hug. Congratulations. Haile Thomas:
Thank you. Sam Kass:
You made it. So we are going to be talking
to all of the people out there. And so this is Haile Thomas. So this is the future
of our country. She is a dear friend of mine. And a tremendous cook. And has her own
cooking show on line. So will you tell us, please tell
us where you are from, how old you are and then tell me
about some of the work that you are doing. Haile Thomas:
I am from Tucson, Arizona. I am 11 years old. And for some of the work that
I am doing, I have an on line cooking show kids can cook. And basically I host that show
with my little sister and we empower kids to get in the
kitchen as this event does too. And I have healthy girl
adventures club, a club for girls online where we
motivate and inspire each other to get healthy. And just recently, I am the new
spokes person for Hyatt hotels for kids by kids menu. Sam Kass:
What else can I say? That is amazing. So you are helping all of your
friends and kids in your, in your class learn how to cook
and get active, is that right? Haile Thomas:
Yes. Absolutely. I love getting out into the
community and showing kids how to be healthier. Sam Kass:
That is great. And so one of your recipes is
being cooked by White House chefs right now. Haile Thomas:
Yes. That is just an honor, really
to have it being cooked here. And served here. Sam Kass:
Isn’t it great. And it is delicious. I tasted it and I didn’t
even know it was yours. I was like, wow,
this is incredible. So I am so happy you are here. The First Lady is going to
be so thrilled to see you. That is great. So doesn’t it look
great in here. Haile Thomas:
Yes, it does. It looks wonderful. Thank you. Sam Kass:
Oh, I can’t wait. And then we are going to get
to go to the garden after this. Haile Thomas:
That will be really exciting. I didn’t get the garden
the last time I was here. Sam Kass:
I know. Did you know we were
going to the garden? Haile Thomas:
Yes, I did. Sam Kass:
Okay. Good. I just didn’t know if I
gave away a secret there. Well, very good. All right. Well, have a look around. You can find your name and
we are going to continue on. I am so happy you are here. Haile Thomas:
Yes, I am very excited as well. Sam Kass:
Where is your mom? Can we say hello to your mom? Haile Thomas:
Yes, my mom is right here. Sam Kass:
Come on, mom. How are you? Mrs. Thomas:
Hi, nice to see you again. Sam Kass:
Give me a hug. How’s it going? Mrs. Thomas:
It is awesome. Sam Kass:
So congratulations. Mrs. Thomas:
Thank you. Sam Kass:
You must be so proud
of this young lady. Mrs. Thomas:
Very proud of her. She is, she is doing
some cool things. Sam Kass:
She is doing great. Look, she just brought
you to the White House. Mrs. Thomas:
For the second time. (laughter) Sam Kass:
That is great. All right. Well, have such a
great time today. Mrs. Thomas:
Thank you so much. Haile Thomas:
Thank you so much. Sam Kass:
See you soon. I will see you later. All right. Let’s see. We have another guest. From Florida, how are you? Deborah Goncalves:
Good. Sam Kass:
Congratulations. Deborah Goncalves:
Thank you. Sam Kass:
Here. Come on in. Come on over. What is your name? Deborah Goncalves:
Deborah Goncalves. Sam Kass:
It is such a pleasure to meet you. My name is Sam and
I am a chef here. What did you cook today? Triple F a fake fast food. Sam Kass:
Fake fast food. All right. Tell me about
what, what is that? Deborah Goncalves:
It is a mixture
for the bases Bulgar wheat and ground beef. Which in the middle,
that is the fake burger. And then in the middle there is
spinach and carrots with a slice of white American cheese. And then on the side you
get a watermelon fries. Which is watermelons
and we cut up fries. Sam Kass:
So creative. That is great. So how did you come
up with that recipe? Tell me about your process. Deborah Goncalves:
It is a recipe that
my grandmother used to make to my mother. Yeah, so she just
passed it down to me. And that is how we
came up with it. Sam Kass:
That is so great. Did you ever dream you would
be here in the White House? Deborah Goncalves:
No. I never thought about even
like going in the front of the White House, so yeah
it is a big thing. Sam Kass:
That is great. And so do you cook a
lot with your family? Deborah Goncalves:
Yeah. Well, we always have — like
everyone when we eat, everyone does something in the house
which is me and my dad, and my mom. We — everyone cooks something
in the house together. Sam Kass:
So when any time you are
doing dinner, everybody has to contribute something? Deborah Goncalves:
Yeah, everyone basically. Sam Kass:
And is this your
favorite dish to cook? Deborah Goncalves:
Yeah. Because I just really like
the, the ground beef and the Bulgar wheat. Sam Kass:
Yeah. And that is really great how
you are integrating healthy ingredients into something. And it is like you are not
really eating vegetables right? Deborah Goncalves:
It doesn’t taste
like vegetables. Sam Kass:
That sounds delicious. Well, that is great. And do you, do you — do you
have any other favorite dishes that you love to cook? Deborah Goncalves:
Yeah, I actually like
doing MAC and cheese. Sam Kass:
Nice. How do you do your
MAC and cheese? Deborah Goncalves:
Well, it is the pasta and
I like mixing different cheeses like the — I
like mixing the white cheeses, white American cheeses, also
with the yellow cheeses. And then put it in the oven
and just bake it with a crust. Sam Kass:
Nice, I love it. That sounds delicious. Well, you are in the east wing
of the White House for the first ever state dinner for kids in
the history of the White House. So congratulations. We are so proud of you and the
First Lady is going to be so excited to meet you. Deborah Goncalves:
Thank you. Sam Kass:
All right. Have so much fun. Deborah Goncalves:
Thank you. Sam Kass:
Is your dad here? Can we say hello to him? Come on over here, sir. How is it going? My name is Sam Kass. What is your name? Alfonso Goncalves:
Alfonso Goncalves. Sam Kass:
Nice to meet you. And tell me what, what is
going through your head today. Alfonso Goncalves:
Well, this is a fantastic day. It is a memorable day for me. Wonderful day. I am so proud for my
daughter and the recipient. This is wonderful day. Wonderful day. Sam Kass:
You never thought you would be
in the White House, would you? Alfonso Goncalves:
No. This is first time. This is wonderful. Sam Kass:
And where do you guys live? Alfonso Goncalves:
Tampa, Florida. Sam Kass:
In Tampa. That is great. Very good. My, my grandmother
is in Coral Gables. So I was just down there. Deborah Goncalves:
Nice. Sam Kass:
Yeah, so I get down there a lot. All right. Well, listen,
have so much fun. It is going to be a great day. Alfonso Goncalves:
Okay, chef. Thank you so much. Deborah Goncalves:
Thank you. Sam Kass:
Thank you. Amazing. So you see those kind of
strategies are incredible, integrating healthy ingredients
into a burger, but actually it has Bulgar wheat,
vegetables, little cheese. Couldn’t be better than that. God, I am so excited, I can not
wait to taste all of this food. So let’s see who
is coming in now. what is your name? Logan Kendall:
Logan Kendall. Sam Kass:
Logan Kendall.
Where are you from? Logan Kendall:
Ohio. Sam Kass:
Where in Ohio? Logan Kendall:
The Cleveland area. Sam Kass:
Nice, Cleveland, Ohio. So what did you cook that
got yourself here today? Logan Kendall:
I made a shredded veggie wrap. Sam Kass:
A shredded veggie wrap. So what were the
ingredients in there? Logan Kendall:
There is a cream
cheese and mayo sauce. You take cream cheese, mayo,
some green — some green peppers, onions, parsley — Sam Kass:
Nice. That sounds good. And then you put it in a wrap? Logan Kendall:
Yeah. I spread it on a
tortilla or a flat bread. Put on broccoli slaw
and put pepperoni on. Sam Kass:
Broccoli slaw. Now, there is something serious. That is great. How old are you? Logan Kendall:
11. Sam Kass:
11. So do you like to cook? Logan Kendall:
I love to cook. Sam Kass:
Nice. What do you want
to be when you grow up? Logan Kendall:
There are a couple
of things I want to be. Sam Kass:
What is the list? Logan Kendall:
A chef, a paleontologist — Sam Kass:
Nice. I used to dig, I have dug a
few dinosaur bones in my life. And I am a chef, so maybe you
know, we could, we could talk about what is possible. Logan Kendall:
Okay. Sam Kass:
And so do you cook
dinner with your family? Logan Kendall:
Sometimes. Sam Kass:
Every once in
awhile you help out? Is this one of your
favorite recipes to cook? Logan Kendall:
Yeah. Sam Kass:
What else do you like to do? Logan Kendall:
I do Tae Kwon Do. Sam Kass:
Oh, I was talking about,
what other kinds of foods. But hey, Tae Kwon Do, don’t,
you know, I hope I don’t say anything inappropriate here. Did you ever — can you
ever imagine you being in the White House? Logan Kendall:
No. Sam Kass:
Look at it, it is
pretty cool, hum? You are, you are, you are in the
east room of the White House. There is so much history in
this, in this, in this room. So many important things
have happened here. Presidents give all of their
press conferences here. And there is big parties
and different events. So this is, this
is pretty special. And it is never happened in
the history of the White House. That is pretty great, hum? Logan Kendall:
Yeah. Sam Kass:
You are a part of history. Is your mom here? Logan Kendall:
Yeah. Sam Kass:
Can we say hello to her? Come on mom. How are you? Mrs. Kendall:
Fine. Sam Kass:
How is it going? What is your name? Mrs. Kendall:
Rose Marie Kendall. Sam Kass:
It is a pleasure to meet you. Have you ever been to
the White House before? Mrs. Kendall:
Never. Sam Kass:
This is a pretty
big way to come. Mrs. Kendall:
We just had no idea making
a veggie wrap would allow us to be here. Sam Kass:
And here you are in the
east room of the White House. Going to meet — have you
met the First Lady yet? Logan Kendall:
No. Sam Kass:
Going to get to
meet the First Lady. That is pretty incredible hum? Mrs. Kendall:
Yes. He also wants
to meet the dog. Sam Kass:
So here is the thing. Here is the, here is the secret. Is that Bo is by far
the most popular person. And here we have got. Nobody is interested —
everybody just wants to see Bo. We understand, it is okay. But I am not sure where Bo is
but maybe he’ll come around. We’ll see. Sometimes he will just show up. You never know. All right. Well, listen, have a great time. Enjoy yourself. This is once in a lifetime and
it is going to be so much fun. Mrs. Kendall:
Yeah. We are enjoying
ourselves so far. Sam Kass:
Okay. Mrs. Kendall:
It is great.
Thank you very much. Sam Kass:
It has been our pleasure. Have fun. Good job. How are you? What is your name? Michael Prados:
Michael Prados. Sam Kass:
Pleasure to meet you. Where are you from? Michael Prados:
I am from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Sam Kass:
Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Now, I know he can cook
if he is from Baton Rouge. How old are you? Michael Prados:
I am twelve years old. Sam Kass:
Twelve years old. I love those shoes,
this kid is dapper. So what did you cook
that got you here today? Michael Prados:
Fish tacos. Sam Kass:
Fish tacos. Who doesn’t love
fish tacos, right? So tell me how you
made your tacos. Michael Prados:
Well, we let the fish
marinate in some soy sauce and then we pan seared it. And we had some lime juice,
orange juice, some rice wine vinegar and some oil and
we put some cilantro in it. And we like made a coleslaw
and so you can put that on top of the fish tacos. Sam Kass:
Nice. That sounds delicious. You don’t mind if I cook that
for the first family, do you? Michael Prados:
No, sir. Sam Kass:
All right. I may just do that. I will let you know. Did you ever think — have
you ever been to the White House before? Michael Prados:
No, sir. I have been in Washington,
D.C. before but I have never been in the White House. Sam Kass:
You have never been. And you know you are here in the
east room of the White House. I mean, so much important
things have happened here. What are you, what
are you feeling? Michael Prados:
Nervousness. Sam Kass:
Don’t be nervous. Nothing to be nervous about. This is all fun. You are here to
have a great time. You have earned it, you have
cooked a really healthy recipe that is so important because we
need you and kids like you all over the country cooking good
healthy food that other, other young people are
going to eat, right? So they can be strong
and healthy and do great things, right? And, and so what is,
what is the one thing? Do you have any questions? Do you have a question for me? Have you thought of the
things you want to know? Michael Prados:
What is your favorite food to cook? Sam Kass:
Good, good question. See, here is the thing
and we are going to get to go down there. I get to cook out of
the First Lady’s garden. You know, she has a vegetable
garden and so depending on what is coming out of there, those
are always my favorite things. So like right now, we have some
tomatoes and a lot of peppers and herbs so you are
going to get to see it. So that is probably my
favorite thing to cook. But I will say that some
of my favorite food to eat is in Louisiana. For sure. Michael Prados:
Thanks. Sam Kass:
So listen, is your dad here? Michael Prados:
No. But my grandfather is. Sam Kass:
Your grandfather is here. Can we say hello to him? Michael Prados:
Sure. Sam Kass:
Why don’t we have
him come over here. How is it going sir? Michael Prados:
How are you doing,
I am Michael Prados. Sam Kass:
Say that again. Michael Prados:
Michael Prados. Sam Kass:
Pleasure. Great to
meet you. How are you? How you doing?
It is pretty great? Michael Prados:
Doing very well. It is awesome. It really is. I woke up this morning and it
hit me between the eyes that we are coming to the White House. Sam Kass:
Coming to the White House,
going to meet the First Lady. It is really good. Michael Prados:
Absolutely. Yeah. Sam Kass:
Well, thank you so much
for, for joining him. We are really proud of him and
all of these young people that, it is so important
for our country. So this is really great. Michael Prados:
Thank you so much. This has been a wonderful event
and I hope it spreads to, to other communities
and other folks. Sam Kass:
That is certainly our hope. So listen, your job is not
to be nervous, just to have a great time. Because it is going to be
absolutely phenomenal and the food is going to be great. And you are going to have
butlers serving you like this is all the real deal. Just like you walked in and
there is the reporters, that is how it really happens
at a state dinner. There is going to
be entertainment. You are going to see a lot
of cool stuff, all right? Having fun? Michael Prados:
Yes, sir. Sam Kass:
All right. Have a
good one. All right. Take care. Michael Prados:
Thank you so much. Sam Kass:
Great to see you. Wait until you see who is
about to come on camera. Come here my man.
Come on over here. How are you? Logan Rosene:
Good. Sam Kass:
What is your name? Logan Rosene:
Logan. Sam Kass:
Logan, where are you from? Logan Rosene:
North Dakota. Sam Kass:
North Dakota. And how old are you? Logan Rosene:
Eight. Sam Kass:
Logan, what is on your head? Logan Rosene:
A whale. Sam Kass:
A whale. Oh, my goodness. Can you turn to that camera,
so they can see that. That is some whale if
I have ever seen one. What did you cook
to get you here? Logan Rosene:
Turkey vegetable soup. Sam Kass:
Delicious. And do you like to cook a lot? Logan Rosene:
Yes. Sam Kass:
So tell me about your soup. What goes in your soup? Logan Rosene:
Turkey and carrots and
all sorts of vegetables. Sam Kass:
You can put any kind of a
vegetable in there, hum? And do you love it? Do you eat it and do you
just go crazy for it? Logan Rosene:
Yes. Sam Kass:
Do you help your mom
or dad cook at home? Logan Rosene:
Uh-huh. Sam Kass:
What are some of the other
things that you cook with them? Logan Rosene:
Pizza. Sam Kass:
Pizza. But good pizza, right? Logan Rosene:
Uh-huh. Sam Kass:
Pizza can be good. Logan Rosene:
I can’t really
think of anything else. Sam Kass:
That is fine, not a problem. Are you excited to be here? You are in the White House. This is the east, east
room of the White House. It is pretty cool, hum? Logan Rosene:
Yeah, very excited. Sam Kass:
Are you a little nervous? Logan Rosene:
Uh-huh. Sam Kass:
Don’t be nervous. This is all about having fun and
celebrating because you really accomplish a lot. We are really proud of you. Logan Rosene:
Uh-huh. Sam Kass:
All right. Who, who brought you here? Did your mom bring you? Logan Rosene:
Yeah. Sam Kass:
Is she, is she here? Logan Rosene:
Yes. Sam Kass:
Can wesay hello to her? Logan Rosene:
Yeah. Sam Kass:
Come here, mom. So come over here. You come, yeah, you come here
with your giant whale hat. Yeah, there you go. How are you? Erin Tucker:
I am good, thank you. Sam Kass:
What is your name? Erin Tucker:
Erin Tucker. Sam Kass:
So great to have you. First question is how are you
going to get this whale back to, to home? Erin Tucker:
I don’t know if it will
pass through security. We’ll have to test that out. Sam Kass:
Well, you must be very
proud of him, hum? Erin Tucker:
Very, very proud. Yup. We are very excited. Sam Kass:
He just won you a
trip to the White House. Erin Tucker:
I know. Yeah. Thank you, Logan. Sam Kass:
You should — you can get
a little extra play time for this, I think. Well, thank you so
much for being here. He is a great example
for the, for the country. And we are so thrilled. Erin Tucker:
Great. Thank you. Sam Kass:
So have so much fun, all right? Logan Rosene:
Okay. Sam Kass:
No nervous. Just fun. Got it? Logan Rosene:
Got it. Sam Kass:
All right. What is your name? Sydney Brown:
My name is Sydney Brown. I am 11 and I am
from North Carolina. Sam Kass:
Nice. So great to meet you. And so what did you cook today? Sydney Brown:
I cooked a meatloaf
burger with strawberry lemonade and zucchini fries. Sam Kass:
I remember this. And in fact I think we are
serving your zucchini fries, aren’t we? Sydney Brown:
Yes, sir. Sam Kass:
That is pretty exciting. Right now, downstairs, the White
House chefs who cook for the president and First Lady of the
United States are cooking your zucchini fries, how
does that make you feel? Sydney Brown:
It makes me feel so excited. I don’t know what to say. (laughter) Sam Kass:
That is great. And so do you like to
cook a lot at home? Sydney Brown:
Yes, sir. Sam Kass:
What are some of the
other things you cook? Sydney Brown:
I cook mac and cheese, cookies,
brownies, beef stroganoff. Sam Kass:
Beef stroganoff,
that sounds good. All right. And what are some of
your favorite vegetables? Sydney Brown:
I love zucchini,
broccoli, peas and cabbage. Sam Kass:
That is my kind of lady. I like it. And have you ever been to
the White House before? Sydney Brown:
No, sir. Sam Kass:
This is a pretty good way
to make your first trip. Sydney Brown:
Yes, sir. Sam Kass:
Are you a little nervous? Sydney Brown:
No, sir. Sam Kass:
Nice, good. My first one. I like that. Is your mom here? Sydney Brown:
Yes, sir. Sam Kass:
Can we say hello to her? Sydney Brown:
Yes, sir. Sam Kass:
Come on over here. How are you? What is your name? LaTonya Brown:
LaTonya Brown. Sam Kass:
LaTonya, nice to meet you. Thank you so much for raising
such a poised young lady. LaTonya Brown:
Thank you for having us. Sam Kass:
Are you excited to be here? LaTonya Brown:
Absolutely. Sam Kass:
It is pretty great,
pretty great moment. So you guys cook a lot together? LaTonya Brown:
We do. We do. I couldn’t get her out of my
kitchen once she turned three. So she has been stuck
there since then. Sam Kass:
I love that. That is fantastic. Well, keep cooking because we
really need all of your help and inspiration for the rest of the
country because we, it is really important that, that young
people are getting good healthy food to grow up strong
and do big things, right? LaTonya Brown:
That is correct. Sam Kass:
All right. Well, thank you so
much for being here. Have such a great time, okay? Sydney Brown:
Thank you. Sam Kass:
All right. Who are you? What is your name, sir? Michael Lakind:
Michael Lakind. Sam Kass:
Michael? Michael Lakind:
Lakind. Sam Kass:
Great to meet you. And how old are you? Michael Lakind:
Nine. Sam Kass:
And where are you from? Michael Lakind:
Sugarland, Texas. Sam Kass:
Sugarland, Texas. I love it. I know they have got some good
food down in Sugarland, Texas. Michael Lakind:
Yeah, they do. Sam Kass:
Yeah, what is — what did you
— are you a little nervous? Michael Lakind:
Yeah, a little bit. Sam Kass:
Listen, don’t be nervous. It is all good. We are having fun here. Michael Lakind:
Yes, we are. Sam Kass:
This is all about fun. You are in the east
room of the White House. It is a pretty cool, right? Michael Lakind:
Yeah, sure it is. Sam Kass:
And what did you cook
to get yourself here? Michael Lakind:
I made Bunny bisque and
secret service super salad. Sam Kass:
Bunny biscuits and secret
service super salad. Michael Lakind:
It is Bunny bisque. Sam Kass:
Oh, Bunny bisque. Excuse me. That’s
right. That’s right. I remember actually. I do remember the secret
service super salad. What goes into a secret service
super salad and will it make you a secret service agent? Michael Lakind:
Not likely. Sam Kass:
Okay. So what are the ingredients? Michael Lakind:
Spinach leaves,
herb grilled chicken, strawberries, purple
onion, feta cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette. Sam Kass:
That is what I am talking about. That sounds delicious. Would you mind if I use that
recipe to serve it to the President and the First Lady? Michael Lakind:
That would be awesome. Sam Kass:
All right. I just might have to do that. We have got a lot of secret
service agents around here too so maybe I will
make a salad for them. What do you think? Michael Lakind:
That will be great. Sam Kass:
Nice. Well, listen, this is a —
you are part of history today. And so that means you
have got to have fun. We have never in the history
of the White House, had a kids state dinner. Ever. That is pretty cool, right? Michael Lakind:
Yes, it is. Sam Kass:
All right. So your job today is to have
fun and just to relax and let it out, okay? Michael Lakind:
Great. Sam Kass:
Is your mom here? Michael Lakind:
Yeah, she’s here. Sam Kass:
Can we — don’t you think
we should say hello to her? Michael Lakind:
Sure. Sam Kass:
All right. Come on, mom. How are you? Toni Lakind:
I’m good. How are you? Sam Kass:
What’s your name? Toni Lakind:
Toni. Sam Kass:
Toni, great to meet you. What a young man you have. He’s fantastic. Toni Lakind:
I know, and you
are one of his idols. So this is extra special. Sam Kass:
That’s great. And so do you guys
— yeah, that’s it. Nicely done. He knows all about the
George Washington painting. That’s great. You’re here, so you
get to take it in. This China that
you’re using today, that’s the Reagan China. That is real
White House China. All right. Well, thank you so
much for bringing him. We’re so excited here. We’re very proud of you. And got to keep
cooking for me, okay? Michael Lakind:
Of course. Sam Kass:
All right. You guys have so much fun. It’s going to be great. Toni Lakind:
Thank you. It’s an honor. Sam Kass:
Welcome back to the
Kids’ State Dinner. We’re having an absolute ball. Right now you hear in the
background the Marine Band is playing kids tunes. I heard Under the Sea at
one point, and it’s been so much fun. Here with me is Tanya Steel
from Epicurious whose idea this was and has been
absolutely instrumental in bringing this to fruition. Thank you so much. It’s been already
an amazing day. So what got you thinking
about wanting to do this? Tanya Steel:
You know, getting kids to eat
healthy and cook has been a huge passion of mine for a long time. I’m a mom. I have twin 14-year-olds. And when they were born,
even though I was in the food profession, I realized, wait
a minute, I don’t know how to feed them healthy foods. And so it began kind
of a lifelong passion for educating kids. And at Epicurious we try to
educate people, adults and kids, all the time about
how to eat healthy. So I think about two years
ago I thought about what is a great way to inspire kids? A healthy recipe contest. And what would be
the ultimate prize? A kids’ day dinner
at the White House. I can’t believe it’s
actually happening. I can’t believe it. Sam Kass:
It’s absolutely amazing. So, describe a little bit
of the process about how you actually put this together
and all the collaboration that’s gone into it. Tanya Steel:
Oh, my God. We’ve had an amazing team. We work with the USDA, and the
Department of Education, and Let’s Move, and the First
Lady’s office, and we all as a team created this
contest and put it up. And we got 1200 entries from
around the country, and even as far away as Bombay,
India, which is amazing. Sam Kass:
Wow! Tanya Steel:
Yeah, and their
entries were really sophisticated and
creative and original. And it was so hard to
narrow down which ones were the right ones. And we chose by state. And then we did the judging,
the two final — and you remember that. You barely can, you know. Sam Kass:
There’s no way we’ll
ever forget that. So, Tanya and I and a couple
others tasted 100 different meals, 800 different
meals, in about, what, two hours or something? Tanya Steel:
Yes. Yeah, it was unbelievable. It was herculean, I have
to say, and thank God for D.C. Central Kitchen who
really helped us pull it off. Sam Kass:
Yeah, D.C. Central Kitchen
is one of the most incredible organizations I know, do great
work in providing food to those who don’t have it, but also job
training and education so people really can get skills to
have a much better future in their lives. And so they took on this
task of cooking 100 different meals, complicated meals, and
putting them all together and getting them out to us so that
they were still warm and fresh and delicious, which I don’t
think I’ve ever seen anything like that done. It’s just unbelievable. Tanya Steel:
It was. It was an amazing assembly
line, and they put out 10,000 meals a today. So I thought, if anyone could
do it, it could be them. Sam Kass:
It was absolutely incredible. And so, you know, from
there we narrowed it down. And boy, that was
hard, wasn’t it? Tanya Steel:
It was incredibly hard. You know, there were
so many great entries. And so I thought
it very difficult. But I think what we came up
with were fantastic winners. But, you know what, honestly,
all of them are winners just for entering, you know,
because it really gets them to think about eating healthy
every day of their lives. Sam Kass:
Yeah, that’s right. So, well, thank you so
much for your leadership and your vision. And this is a dream. We’re making history today. Tanya Steel:
We are. It’s a beautiful thing. Thank you so much, Sam. Sam Kass:
All right. Well, have fun. I’ll see you soon. All right. I have a special guest
to come talk to me. Come on over here. And let me tell you
why he’s so special. What’s your name? Sam:
Sam. Sam Kass:
Uh-huh. Awesome name. Sam, where are you from? Sam:
I’m from Maryland. Sam Kass:
You’re from Maryland. And how old are you? Sam:
Ten. Sam Kass:
Ten years old. And what did you cook to
get your self here today? Sam:
I cooked — well, my
mom cooked tofu with green onions and sugar snap peas. Sam Kass:
But you were helping her
come up with that, right? Sam:
Yes. Sam Kass:
Yeah, of course. That’s why you’re here. And do you like tofu and sugar
snap peas and all that stuff, that’s one of your favorites? Sam:
Yes. Sam Kass:
Do you help her cook a lot? Sam:
No. Sam Kass:
No, you don’t? But you got yourself in the
kitchen this time, right? Sam:
Yes. Sam Kass:
Good deal. Well, are you having fun? Sam:
Yeah, I am. Sam Kass:
Good deal. Well, listen, have a
great time in there. Enjoy the food. And we’ll see you
when we’re going down to the garden, okay? Sam:
Thank you. Sam Kass:
All right. Have fun. All right. So right now all of
the kids are lined up. A lot of them have these crazy
balloon things that you’re seeing, and they are heading
in to take a photo with the First Lady, which is a
dream come true for so many. I have another guest. Come on over here. What’s your name? Stefani Shimomura-Sakamoto:
Stefani. Sam Kass:
Wow, and Stefani
where are you from? I think I can guess it with
all those beautiful flowers. Stefani Shimomura-Sakamoto:
I’m from Oahu. Sam Kass:
Oahu in Hawaii. You have come a long
way to be here, huh? Stefani Shimomura-Sakamoto:
Yes. Sam Kass:
How long was the flight? Stefani Shimomura-Sakamoto:
About ten hours. Sam Kass:
Ten hours. Are you tired? Stefani Shimomura-Sakamoto:
Not too much. Sam Kass:
You’re feeling
pretty, excited, right? So, what did you cook? Stefani Shimomura-Sakamoto:
I cooked scrumptious
salmon salad. Sam Kass:
Scrumptious salmon salad. Now, that just sounds
absolutely delicious. And what goes in
your salmon salad? Stefani Shimomura-Sakamoto:
I have lots of like
my favorite fruits. I have light cheese,
strawberries, bananas, apples, oranges and pineapple. Sam Kass:
That sounds absolutely delicious. And do you like to cook a lot? Stefani Shimomura-Sakamoto:
Yes. Sam Kass:
That’s great. What are some of the
other things you cook? Stefani Shimomura-Sakamoto:
I like to cook some pasta
for my family sometimes, and I also do 4H, so I like
to cook like cheesecake. Sam Kass:
Wow, that sounds good. And do you know what you
want to be when you grow up? Stefani Shimomura-Sakamoto:
Maybe a chef or a lawyer. Sam Kass:
Chef or a lawyer, those
are two very different paths, let me tell you. But either one you’re
going to do great. Keep working hard at
school, and have a great time today, okay? Stefani Shimomura-Sakamoto:
Thank you. Sam Kass:
All right. Have fun. Bye. So who is next? Come on. This is a special person. Why? Because where are you from? Ilianna Gonzales-Evans:
D.C. Sam Kass:
D.C., she is from our home city. So, what’s your name? Ilianna Gonzales-Evans:
Ilianna Gonzales-Evans. Sam Kass:
And how old are you? Ilianna Gonzales-Evans:
Eleven. Sam Kass:
And what grade are
you going into? Ilianna Gonzales-Evans:
Sixth. Sam Kass:
And we’re starting
a new school, right? Ilianna Gonzales-Evans:
Yeah, D.C. BASIS. Sam Kass:
D.C. BASIS. And are you feeling good? Are you a little nervous? Ilianna Gonzales-Evans:
Yeah. Sam Kass:
That’s okay. You’re always a little nervous
the first day, but then it’s going to be great. So what did you cook? Ilianna Gonzales-Evans:
A Mexican wrap. Sam Kass:
Mexican wrap. What went into your wrap? Ilianna Gonzales-Evans:
Well, my grandma, she taught
me how to cook tortillas, and so I just added
vegetables and turkey bacon. Sam Kass:
Vegetables and turkey bacon,
that sounds delicious. So it’s like traditional,
like your grandma made it, but healthier because of the
way you’re doing it, right? Ilianna Gonzales-Evans:
Yeah. Sam Kass:
That’s exactly what
we’re trying to do here. This is exactly our hope
is taking all those great tradition and culture
and making it healthy and delicious, right? Ilianna Gonzales-Evans:
Yeah. Sam Kass:
Are you having fun? Ilianna Gonzales-Evans:
Yes. Sam Kass:
Have you seen the
First Lady yet? Ilianna Gonzales-Evans:
Yeah. Sam Kass:
Was that awesome? Ilianna Gonzales-Evans:
Yeah. She said I’m sitting
right next to her. Sam Kass:
Whoa, you got the
lucky seat, huh? Nice. All right, well, have
so much fun, okay? Ilianna Gonzales-Evans:
Okay. Sam Kass:
All right. Bye-bye. Ilianna Gonzales-Evans:
Bye. Sam Kass:
That’s great. She’s a lucky one. I want to meet a
good friend of mine. How are you sir? Mike Curtin:
Excellent. How are you doing? Sam Kass:
Mike Curtin from the
D.C. Central Kitchen. This man did so much to help
make today happen, cooking all the food, but does absolutely
heroes work in making sure that people get the food that
they need and the job training to make sure they
live successful lives. Tell us a little
bit about your work. Mike Curtin:
Thank you, Sam. Well, at the kitchen we
believe waste is wrong, whether that waist is food,
productive minds, or space. So we collect unused food that
would be thrown away, take it back to the kitchen, prepare
about 50 to 100 meals a day that we then send out to
shelters, transition homes, halfway houses. But more importantly, we run a
culinary job training program for men and women coming out
of prison in recovery from addiction to help them break
the cycle of homelessness, hunger and poverty
on their own. And then we’ve created a whole
portfolio of social enterprise businesses, including locally
source scratch cook school food, which is something we’re
really, really proud of and focusing on now. Sam Kass:
It’s just amazing. If anybody is ever in DC,
the work you’re doing is truly an inspiration. And thank you. And thank you for doing this. Give us a little insight of
what it actually took to cook 100 different menu items for
us to taste in a matter of a couple of hours. Mike Curtin:
Yeah, and I think it was a
little more than 100, wasn’t it? It seemed like that anyway. But, I tell you, these things,
they always, it’s a little more difficult than it
seems like it should be. But when you have I think it
was close to 200 these crazy recipes from all over the
country, and every one of them is a little bit the same
but a little bit different. So it’s starting from
scratch every single time. But it was fun. It was really great to see the
creativity that the kids had and really important I think
to see how invested kids are in understanding the
connection between nutrition and education in their future. I think that was really a
powerful thing and then spend something time with you and
Jose during the judging. Thank goodness I did not
have to eat all of them. Sam Kass:
Yeah, that was fun. I have never tasted so many
dishes in my whole life, but it was well worth it. It was well worth it. Well, listen, thank you for
all that you’ve done and that you do. Mike Curtin:
Thank you, Sam. Sam Kass:
And have a great time here. Mike Curtin:
Thank you. We will. Take care. Sam Kass:
All right. Bye-bye. Unbelievable organization,
D.C. Central Kitchen. Who is this young person? Come on over here. What’s your name? Aaron Blust:
Aaron. Sam Kass:
What is it, again? Aaron Blust:
Aaron Blust. Sam Kass:
Aaron, and where are you from? Aaron Blust:
I’m from Juneau, Alaska. Sam Kass:
Alaska. Man, you’ve come
a long way, huh? Aaron Blust:
Yep, a long, long ways. Sam Kass:
And how long was the trip? Aaron Blust:
It was about —
we flew to Seattle, and then from Seattle to here. It was about seven
hours all together. Sam Kass:
Have you ever been
to Washington before? Aaron Blust:
No. This is my first time. Sam Kass:
This is a pretty good
way to come here for the first time, right? Aaron Blust:
Yep, very good. Sam Kass:
You’re in the White House. You know, the President, he’ll
walk — normally like when he has a big thing, he’ll walk
right down here and he’ll give big speeches right there. Aaron Blust:
Wow! Sam Kass:
It’s pretty cool, huh? Aaron Blust:
Wow, yeah. Sam Kass:
Pretty amazing. And so what did you cook? Aaron Blust:
I cooked salmon teriyaki wrap. Sam Kass:
That sounds delicious. There’s a lot of salmon
up there in Alaska, right? Aaron Blust:
A lot of salmon. Sam Kass:
And, so, did you use a
whole wheat tortilla? Aaron Blust:
Um, sort of. Sam Kass:
A regular tortilla. And then what did
you put in it? Aaron Blust:
Yeah, and then we put
vegetables and salmon, of course, and all sorts of
stuff, rice and teriyaki. Sam Kass:
Man, that sounds delicious. Aaron Blust:
Yeah. Sam Kass:
Do you mind if I maybe serve that to the President and First Lady one day? Aaron Blust:
No. Sam Kass:
I can do that? Nice. All right, well,
listen, have fun. Aaron Blust:
Okay. Sam Kass:
It’s going to be great,
and we’re very proud of you. Thank you so much
for all you’re doing. Aaron Blust:
Thank you. Sam Kass:
All right. Who is next? Come here. How are you? Avery McNew:
Good. Sam Kass:
What’s your name? Avery McNew:
My name is Avery McNew. Sam Kass:
And where are you from? Avery McNew:
I’m from Michigan. Sam Kass:
And how old are you? Avery McNew:
I am 8-1/2. Sam Kass:
8-1/2. And so tell me all about
what you cooked today. Avery McNew:
I cooked apple oat balls,
and the recipe is you need old-fashioned oats and
raisins, cranberries and apples, and you dump some warm
water in, and then you mix it all with your hands, then
shape it into a circle. And then there is no
cooking or anything. Sam Kass:
No cooking. Avery McNew:
So… Sam Kass:
So it’s really quick. Avery McNew:
Yeah. Sam Kass:
And they must be delicious. Avery McNew:
They really are. Sam Kass:
I remember tasting them. They were delicious. Avery McNew:
Yeah. Sam Kass:
And so do you like to
eat those all the time? Avery McNew:
Yeah, I love them. Sam Kass:
That’s great. And do you do other
cooking at home? Avery McNew:
Yeah. I help my mom make salsa. Sam Kass:
Oh, I love salsa. Do you like it spicy or mild? Avery McNew:
I like it, you know, mild. Sam Kass:
Mild. Anything else? Avery McNew:
Well, when I want to grow
up, I want to be a chef. Sam Kass:
You do? That’s great. Well, it takes a lot of hard
work, and you have to do really good in school. You need good grades. Avery McNew:
Yeah. Sam Kass:
Right? Avery McNew:
Uh-huh. Sam Kass:
Are you working hard in school? Avery McNew:
Yes. Sam Kass:
What grade are you in? Avery McNew:
I am going into third. Sam Kass:
Nice. That’s so great. Well, congratulations.
We’re so proud of you. And it’s going to
be great in there. Are you hungry? Avery McNew:
Very. Sam Kass:
I know I’m starving. It’s like, when are
we going to eat? Avery McNew:
Yeah. Sam Kass:
All right, well, have fun. Avery McNew:
Thank you. Sam Kass:
All right. Unbelievable, huh? All right, I think we have
one more special guest. Come on over here. What is your name? Arla Sutton:
Arla Sutton. Sam Kass:
And where are you from? Arla Sutton:
I’m from Washington. Sam Kass:
The state Washington? Arla Sutton:
Uh-huh. Sam Kass:
Wow, that’s a long ways away. Arla Sutton:
Yeah. Sam Kass:
Is this your first time
in the White House? Arla Sutton:
Yeah. Sam Kass:
Well, is it the
first time to DC? Arla Sutton:
No. I came for
Obama’s inauguration. Sam Kass:
Oh, very good. And what did you cook? Arla Sutton:
I cooked salad noodle wraps. Sam Kass:
Great. And what kind of
vegetables are in there? Arla Sutton:
There’s lettuce and ginger
and carrots and you can put avocado in it if you want. Sam Kass:
That sounds very tasty. And are you having fun? Arla Sutton:
Yeah. Sam Kass:
What’s been your
favorite part so far? Arla Sutton:
I don’t know. I really like the
pictures with Mrs. Obama. Sam Kass:
That’s pretty much as
good as it’s going to get. So have a great time. Enjoy the food. And we’re going to have a
fun trip to the garden, okay? Arla Sutton:
Okay. Sam Kass:
All right. I’ll
see you down there. Arla Sutton:
Okay. Sam Kass:
Bye. Come on over here. How’s it going?
What’s your name? Trey Sims:
Trey Sims. Sam Kass:
Trey Sims? Trey Sims:
Yes. Sam Kass:
And where are you from? Trey Sims:
Arkansas. Sam Kass:
Arkansas. And what did you cook? Trey Sims:
Kickin’ Chicken salad. Sam Kass:
Kickin’ Chicken Salad. Love that. And what goes in your
Kickin’ Chicken salad. Trey Sims:
Spicy grilled chicken,
avocado slices, whole wheat baguette,
cucumbers, carrots, strawberries, blueberries, any
kind of fat free dressing that you like. Sam Kass:
That sounds
absolutely delicious. So you put this — so you
add a little spice and the strawberries, huh? Trey Sims:
Yes. Sam Kass:
I like that combination. That’s very sophisticated. And do you do a
lot of cooking? Trey Sims:
Quite a bit. Sam Kass:
Have you ever been
to Washington before? Trey Sims:
No. Sam Kass:
I guess then you haven’t been
to the White House before, huh? Trey Sims:
Nope. Sam Kass:
It’s pretty exciting, huh? Trey Sims:
Yes. Sam Kass:
Did you get to meet
the First Lady? Trey Sims:
Yes. Sam Kass:
How was that? Trey Sims:
It was awesome. It was truly an honor. Sam Kass:
That’s really great. Well, listen, we’re
so proud of you. Keep up the good work. Are you working
hard in school? Trey Sims:
Yes. Sam Kass:
Okay. We’re counting on that. So we’re proud of you. Have a great time. Are you getting hungry? Trey Sims:
Kind of. Sam Kass:
I’m starving. It’s like, when are we
going to serve the food? So, listen, have fun, and
we’ll see you in there, okay? Good job. Yeah. All right.
Two of my favorites. Come on in here. These are two very
special guests. I want you to
introduce yourselves. Marshall Reid:
Marshall Reid. I’m the co-author to
“Portion Size Me”. Sam Kass:
And his wonderful mother. Alexandria Reid:
Alexandria Reid. Sam Kass:
And so, I want you to
just, I’m going to let you tell your own story. This kid is an inspiration
to me, to the First Lady, to lots of us. So tell us how you came
to write your cookbook. Marshall Reid:
Well, it was really
— I was being bullied at school, and nobody
likes being bullied. And one day I snapped
and said, mom, I got to do something. And so I ended up doing the
opposite of super size me and putting videos on YouTube
sort of just tracking along my journey. And CNN saw it and asked us to
be on their show, and while on their show, a literary agent
saw that and said, you got to put this into book form. Sam Kass:
And so you were putting
up new recipes and putting them on YouTube. Why were you posting
them on YouTube? Marshall Reid:
My dad was in Iraq,
and you know there’s a huge time difference, so was
an easy way to communicate. Sam Kass:
So you would post up the
recipes you were making so you could be healthier and
then posting them so your dad could see them? Marshall Reid:
Yeah, a lot of them, but
also we noticed once we were putting it up on YouTube
that a lot of people came and watched the videos, and
that was sort of a motivator. Sam Kass:
That’s incredible. And so what has this done
to how your whole family eats now? Alexandria Reid:
Well, when my husband
returned from Iraq, we had to get him on board. That took a little
bit of time. But really we just
have six simple goals. It’s all common sense stuff. And now that all four of us
are eating better, we have more energy. Marshall claims he
does better at school. And we’re just enjoying
life a lot better. It’s small simple
changes really add up. Sam Kass:
Yeah. We’ve seen that
all over the country. The First Lady sees that. You know, little things
can make a big difference. And so you have a very
special honor today. What are you
going to do today? Marshall Reid:
I get to introduce
the First Lady. Sam Kass:
That is pretty incredible. How you feeling about that? Marshall Reid:
Crazy. I really have no clue how it’s
going to go over, but I think I’ll be able to do it. Sam Kass:
It’s going to go over great. I’ve read the introduction. It’s amazing. You’re going to be incredible. You’re just going to have a
lot of fun in doing it, okay. Marshall Reid:
All right. Sam Kass:
We are so proud of you. Your book is great. It’s helping so many kids and
families across the country. So keep up the good work and
have so much fun in there. This is really great. Alexandria Reid:
Thank you and the First
Lady for motivating all of us to keep focused. It’s actually your leadership
that has helped us. So thank you very much. Sam Kass:
That means so much. So have so much fun, okay? Alexandria Reid:
All right, man, good to see you. All right. So we are getting
ready to start. As you see, I mean, so many
inspirational kids doing amazing things all
over the country. And we are about to eat. I’m starving. All these kids are
getting hungry. So we’re going to throw it
back to the behind the screens video of how this all came to
be and all the tasting that went in to make
this day happen. Thank you for being here. There’s going to be
a lot more to come. The First Lady will
be speaking soon. And with that, I’m
going to go eat. So take care.

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