The First Lady Speaks at the 2012 Kids’ State Dinner

The First Lady:
Well, that was really
sweet, it really was. Marshall, we’re so proud of you. We’re so very proud
of you and your mom, who actually has some
serious guns going on, too. (laughter) People talk about my
arms, but I felt them. They’re not — (laughter) — she’s no slouch. But I want to welcome
everyone to the White House. Is this not cool? (laughter and applause) This is just so very cool. And understand it’s not
just cool for all of you. I mean, this house has
been abuzz with this event. I think this is one of the best
events that we’ve ever had here — our very first ever
Kids’ State Dinner. So, so awesome. And I want to start by
thanking all of the staff, everyone who helped put
together this gorgeous room, the tablecloths, the chairs. This stuff isn’t normally here. They brought this in for you. Did you notice the
centerpieces on the table? Everything was thought
out to the nth of detail; down to the little drink
classes and your programs. And it’s just so wonderful, so
I want to thank everyone who put so much time and effort into
making this day special. Again, I want to thank
Marshall for that very sweet introduction. He is an outstanding role model,
truly, for kids in this country. And we are so proud of him,
we’re so proud of his family, because, again, you often
can’t do this alone. You need some kind of support
for young people to get on the right track. So we’re just grateful that he
is now one of those leaders, has written a book and is going
to do some magnificent stuff in the future. So congratulations, Marshall. (applause) And, of course, I want to
thank Epicurious for their tremendously generous
support of this event. Through their efforts
to make today possible, they’ve inspired kids across
this country to learn about healthy eating and to get
in the kitchen and start cooking, right? For how many people was this was
the first cooking you’ve done? You guys are old hands, though. (laughter) You guys are always
in the kitchen. You are going to inspire some
kids to get in the kitchen, just understand that. This is exactly the kind of
leadership that we need to give all of our kids the healthy
futures they deserve. So I want to thank Tanya as
well as the folks from the Departments of Education and
Agriculture, too, as well — we’ve got
representatives here — for working so incredibly hard
to make today such a success. And, of course, we’ve got
some special guests coming up. I want to thank them in advance. My guys of the group
Big Time Rush — they’re coming out to perform. They are incredible. They always come through. They’re awesome. They are energetic. They’re healthy. And they made it a special
point to be here to entertain. So let’s give them
a round of applause. (applause) And I have to acknowledge
all of the parents, and I know we have
grandparents, too, as well, for joining us today. Thank you all for teaching your
kids about healthy eating and nurturing that
passion for cooking. And I want to thank you
for the patience that you all have shown. I’m sure that there are some
wrecked kitchens in this room. (laughter) Sticky things, lots of
stuff all over every place. Thank you for being patient and
giving your children that sense of possibility to be
able to do anything, even compete to win a
recipe contest to be here at the White House. So let’s give our parents
and grandparents a round of applause. (applause) And finally, to our 54
Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winners — congratulations. (applause) Look what you’ve inspired! Just look around the room. Look — just look
around the room. This is all for you. Look at all — reporters
from everywhere. They’re just everywhere. (laughter) They never show up like
this for stuff that we do. (laughter) This is the hottest ticket at
the White House, right here, because of all of you. And I am so proud of you,
we are all so proud of you. The President of the United
States is so proud of you. It’s so cool. (laughter) So thank you, guys. Well done. Well done. And that’s why I wanted
to invite you all here — because you’re special. You’ve done some special stuff. And I’m so impressed — just
like Marshall said — amazing, amazing stuff you did. Believe it or not, more than
1,200 kids submitted recipes for this challenge — 1,200. It’s a big competition. Yes, look, oh my
God, you didn’t know. (laughter) It was a true competition. What did you think,
we just picked you? (laughter) No, no you had to work for this. 1,200 submissions. And when it got to
the final round, our judges spent hours
tasting the dishes. So it wasn’t just what
it sounded like — they actually tasted each and
every one of these dishes. I know, Sam, you did
a little tasting. Chef Sam Kass:
I did a lot of tasting. (laughter) The First Lady:
A lot of tasting. That’s a lot of hard work,
eating 1,200 submissions’ worth of food. (laughter) 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! (laughter) 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. And you all were so creative —
here are some of the recipes — Kickin’ Chicken Salad. Power Pesto Pasta. Miss Kitty’s Egg
Salad Sensation. (laughter) Michael Lakind from Texas
— Michael is here — he created his Secret
Service Super Salad. (laughter) And Michael came up with the
name because he is interested in joining the Secret
Service one day, so I have a feeling that this
won’t be the last time Michael will make his trip
to the White House. Michael, where are you? Did you finally meet
one of the agents? Michael Lakind:
Yes. The First Lady:
Okay. (laughter) That’s good. And then there was Aaron
Beckman from Nebraska — came up with the Apple Alien, a
dish that involves fruit meteors and veggie asteroids. (laughter) Aaron, where are you? There you go, Aaron. Aaron — it’s meteors and
aliens and stuff — very scary, but healthy. (laughter) And Betsy DaSilva from
Connecticut submitted a recipe for a Heavenly Lunch Wrap. Where are you, Betsy? Here, stand up,
sweetie, might as well. Betsy — she says — (applause) She says, “Whenever
I eat this food, I know that I’ve been blessed
with the energy to focus more at school.” See, there? (laughter) Thank you, sweetie. More than anything else, truly
— you can sit down, babe, I’ve embarrassed you enough — (laughter) — that’s what this challenge
is really all about. And that’s what Let’s
Move is all about, that’s one of the
reasons why I started it. It’s all about all of us coming
together to make sure that all of you kids and kids like
you across the country have everything you need to learn
and grow and lead happy, healthy lives. It’s about parents making
choices for their kids — choices that work with
their families, schedules, budgets and tastes, because
there is no one-size-fits-all here; as parents we know
what works for one kid in one household doesn’t work for the
other kid in the same household. So we’ve got to be flexible. It’s about companies like
Epicurious doing their part to promote healthy eating. And it’s about kids like all of
you doing your part to eat well and get active, which
is an important part. We never want to underestimate
the importance of getting up and moving. So stay active. Get involved in cooking
delicious, good stuff — dishes like the ones
we’re going to try today. And on the menu today, we’re
going to have some of those tasty, delightful treats. We’re going to
try some of those. That’s going to be our lunch. But before we get to
the business of eating, I thought that I would introduce
two very special people here. Since we are in a
room full of chefs, I thought that you would
love to meet the two chefs, main chefs in our lives —
Executive Chef Cris Comerford, and Executive Pastry
Chef Bill Yosses. (applause) So you’ll be happy to know that
you had some of the top chefs in this country working to
prepare your recipes. They’ve been slaving for hours. I would have helped you, but
I was getting my makeup done. (laughter) But Cris and Bill
and our whole crew, they played such a huge
part in Let’s Move. They help with the garden. They lead efforts in the garden. All of our chefs,
all of our staff, they are so bought
into you guys. And you all give us
that kind of energy. Just know that — you guys
inspire us here at the White House to keep doing what we need
to do to keep this message at the forefront. And I just want to thank Bill
and Cris for being so terrific, and for working so hard to
make this lunch such a success. And with that, I think
we can start eating. How about that? All right, let’s eat. (applause)

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