Kids Cooking: Michelle Obama’s Recipe Challenge Returns to the White House

Aspiring chefs can win a seat at the Kids’ State Dinner.

Michelle Obama and Epicurious editor Tanya Steel with last year’s contest winner, Haile Thomas, at the Kids’ State Dinner. Official White House photograph by Lawrence Jackson.

Calling kid cooks: Michelle Obama is bringing the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge recipe contest back to the White House. Aspiring chefs between age 8 and 12 can submit healthy, budget-friendly dishes for a chance to win a trip to Washington and a seat at the White House Kids’ State Dinner. The First Lady teamed up with popular culinary site Epicurious and the US departments of Education and Agriculture for the competition as part of her Let’s Move! initiative.

So how do little toques win? Enter a recipe that follows the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines to create a tasty lunch—either a single dish or a full meal—using fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy items, with fruits and veggies making up approximately half of the concept. A winner will be chosen by a panel of judges from each of the 50 states, plus US territories, the District, and Puerto Rico. The chefs and their sous-parent/guardian will be flown to DC for the special dinner. Entries must be submitted by April 5. See the list of last year’s winners for inspiration—and a dose of culinary cuteness.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.