CNPP’s new Executive Director, Angela Tagtow, MS, RD, LD, closed out her first week with USDA by honoring the winners of the 2014 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge recipe contest at the White House during the Kids’ State Dinner on July 18. Below are her impressions from the event.
What was the best part of the 2014 Kids’ State Dinner?
Without a doubt, the kids! They are the highlight here. It was wonderful to see how animated these young chefs are about cooking healthy meals! The 54 winners traveled to Washington, DC from all over the country, some from big cities and others from small, rural towns, but they shared a common interest in healthy eating. It was inspiring to hear their stories, taste their MyPlate-inspired recipes, and see them interact with each other. They were signing the cookbooks for each other as if they were yearbooks!
Were you able to meet the winner from your home state of Iowa?
Yes! Anabel Bradley, age 8, was the 2014 Iowa winner for her recipe Over the Rainbow Veggie Pancakes, which includes vegetables of all colors- carrots, yellow bell peppers, tomatoes, and asparagus. I can’t wait to try her recipe at home!
Did you get to taste all 54 winning recipes?
Jackie Haven, CNPP’s Deputy Director, was on the judges’ panel and tasted 112 recipes. The judges selected the winning recipes based on taste, first and foremost, but also originality, healthfulness, and affordability. The menu at the Kids’ State Dinner highlighted nine of those winning recipes. We enjoyed a delicious, 3-course lunch featuring all 5 food groups.
Any words of wisdom or advice for these young chefs?
I’d like to echo what the First Lady said at the event- pay it forward! Many of the winning chefs are receiving media attention for their accomplishments. Hopefully they will use this opportunity to teach others about MyPlate and healthy eating. One of the winners from 2013, Braeden Quinn Mannering of Delaware, spoke at this year’s event about a project he has since started called 3Bs- Brae’s Brown Bags. His foundation provides healthy foods and water bottles to the homeless. That’s just one example of how these chefs can pay it forward, by getting involved in their community.