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The White House
Office of the First Lady
For Immediate Release

Remarks by the First Lady at Kids' State Dinner

East Room

11:49 A.M. EDT

MRS. OBAMA:  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.

MR. KASS:  I did a lot of tasting.  (Laughter.) 

MRS. OBAMA:  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?


MRS. OBAMA:  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?  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) -- "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.)

12:00 P.M. EDT