Tag Archives: michelle obama

Shameless Plug #4

While some are wondering whether “Top Chef” is losing its edge, there is no doubt that some truly talented and motivated chefs have graced the show’s kitchens. Two of them–D.C. locals Carla Hall and Spike Mendelsohn–are putting their talent and cache toward a worthy cause: the battle against childhood obesity. Hall and Mendelsohn, along with 990 other chefs across the country, are joining First Lady Michelle Obama in her efforts to bring healthy food to the nation’s schools through her newest initiative, Chefs Move to Schools. Here’s an excerpt:

Life after “Top Chef” doesn’t always lead to fame or fortune (whatever happened to past winners Hung Huynh and Hosea Rosenberg?), but two former contestants are making a name for themselves on the school lunch front. Chefs Spike Mendelsohn and Carla Hall, finalists on “Top Chef” seasons four and five, are participating in Michelle Obama’s latest initiative to combat childhood obesity, Chefs Move to Schools.

The program pairs chefs with public schools across the nation in an effort to educate and excite students about food and nutrition. Chefs will work together with teachers, administrators and cafeteria workers to promote healthy eating through performing cooking demos, planting school gardens, and eventually revamping school cafeteria menus to include nutritionally balanced, cost-effective dishes. So far, 990 chefs and 448 schools across the country have signed on to participate.

Hundreds of chefs, including Hall, attended June’s inaugural Chefs Move to Schools event at the White House. “The event was nothing short of moving,” she said. “To see that many chef coats and toques in one place was quite special.” Michelle Obama told chefs they are in a unique position to change kids’ eating habits: “You’ll be elevating the role of food in our schools … You know more about food than almost anyone — other than the grandmas — and you’ve got the visibility and the enthusiasm to match that knowledge. That’s really what’s key.”

Read my full article over at Zester Daily. And many thanks to Carla and Spike for the interviews; it was a pleasure to meet you both!

Photo credit: Matthew Lyons/Micheline Mendelsohn

**In other news, tomorrow is The Unpaid Gourmet’s birthday! 🙂 I’ll be celebrating by, of course, eating. Reviews of the meals will follow next week!

**And for those of you looking for a way to beat the heat this weekend, head over to Pizzeria Paradiso for their IPA Festival! Click here for more details.

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The White House Easter Egg Roll 2010

I was lucky enough to snag a ticket to yesterday’s Easter Egg Roll at the White House. Although I was probably the oldest visitor there who was not accompanying a child, I still had a blast moseying around the South Lawn, watching families roll eggs (watching, being the key word), and screaming along with the pre-teens when the cast of Glee and Sara Bareilles performed.

This year’s theme was “Ready, Set, Go!” in honor of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign. Kids were able to participate in yoga classes, dance routines, sports competitions, and hula hooping contests to encourage fitness and health.

In addition to the exercise activities, kids could pick their own fresh produce, provided by Whole Foods Markets. Clementine oranges, bananas, pears, and of course, carrots (of the Bugs Bunny sort, with the long stems still attached) were on hand for parents and kids to eat.

Celeb chefs also gave healthy cooking demonstrations. Being the foodie that I am, I couldn’t resist snapping a few photos of White House Chef Comerford (pictured left; I totally thought she should have won Iron Chef America) and Chef Nora of the original organic mecca, Restaurant Nora (pictured right). Chef Comerford served up some delectable-looking granola while Chef Nora served perfectly ripe tomatoes with hard boiled eggs and vinaigrette.

I also couldn’t resist taking a photo of the infamous White House garden. Though it still shows signs of wear and tear from this year’s rough winter, seedlings are beginning to sprout. I bet when summer arrives, the garden will be full of delicious home-grown organic veggies!

Celebs were also on hand to provide entertainment for the crowds. One of the highlights of my morning was watching the cast of Glee perform. I can’t wait till the show starts up again this month! The cast performed some of my favorite songs from the show, including “Somebody to Love,” “Sweet Caroline,” and “Don’t Stop Believing.” They sounded even better in person! Here are some more photos:

Other performers included the amazingggg Sara Bareilles (sadly, my photos of her did not turn out well!), baby-faced Justin Bieber (who all the kids went crazy for), and Yo Gabba Gabba. Celebs also read stories over at the Storytime stage. Reese Witherspoon (photo below; I felt like the paparazzi!), Apollo Anton Ohno, and President Obama all participated.

Though I initially felt a bit sheepish about going to the Easter Egg Roll, it turned out to be one of the best days I’ve had in DC–and an awesome excuse to spend the morning outside and walk around the spectacular White House grounds. Turns out, easter egg rolls aren’t just for kids!