Michelle Obama and Top Chefs Promote Healthy Food in Dallas

Michelle Obama cheers on the Red Team (Paul and Grayson)
portrait by Elizabeth Lavin

[Ed. Note: Thanks to Carol for this report. Plus, she took all of the photos. She says: “ Big cameramen were blocking me so I had to crawl under people and touched a lot of legs]

First Lady Michelle Obama made a pit stop in Dallas this morning to promote her project, Let’s Move! inside the basketball court of Kleberg-Rylie Recreation Center. Her three-day national tour celebrates the second anniversary of her initiative designed to combat America’s growing obesity problem.

“Healthy food can be good and delicious too,” said Mrs. Obama to a room filled with Nancy Moseley Elementary students, “And that’s what we’re going to learn today.”

As 110 kids cheered, BRAVO’s Top Chefs Paul Qui, Grayson Schmitz, Richard Blais, Fabio Viviani, Jenn Carroll, and Spike Mendelssohn cooked healthy and nutritional meals within a 30 minute time limit under the watchful eyes of judges Tom Colicchio, Sam Kass (White House chef), and the First Lady.

Jump for the play by play.

Tom Colicchio (left); Tom and Sam Kass (right)
photography by Misty Keasler

Shiny egg-head Tom meets his brother-from-another-mother, Sam Kass – a fellow shiny egg-head. They stall the kids before the First Lady arrives, and their heads reflect all the light in the room.

First Lady Michelle Obama
photography by Misty Keasler

Then the First Lady arrives and all the kids are fawning over her, of course. Who could dislike a woman who rocks J. Crew?

Red team: Paul and Grayson (left); Turkey bacon tacos (right)
photography by Misty Keasler

Red Team: Paul Qui, Grayson Schmitz, Dallas Cowboy DeMarcus Ware, and two Nancy Moseley students

What they cooked: Elizabeth and Anna (the students) grabbed fresh cantaloupe and carrots from the ingredients table and started peeling and chopping like pros. Sweaty Paul and blushing Grayson (who is so photogenic, by the way) created turkey bacon tacos with fresh tortillas made in a baby oven. There was quinoa and slaw (made out of fennel, cabbage, and carrots) on the side. Grayson and the kids mixed skim milk with sweet melon to create a smoothie-like drink that the First Lady enjoyed.

What the judges said: “A lot of flavor for healthy food, but doesn’t taste like it,” praised Tom Colicchio.

Random: Paul wore skin-tight jeans while Grayson flirted with #94 Demarcus Ware. Future love couple, maybe?

P.S. The press release tricked me. Paul was supposed to be here, not Ed. Hmm. Does this mean Paul doesn’t win Top Chef? Must think about this…

White Team: Spike Mendelssohn, Jenn Carroll, Dallas Cowboy Miles Austin, and two Nancy Moseley students

What they cooked: Smoked pork chops with apple sauce, sweet potato, greek yogurt with whole wheat pita chips

What the judges said: “Flavors were good and not too seasoned,” said Tom, while Mrs. Obama told Spike and Jenn that it reminded her of comfort food.

DeMarcus Ware and other Cowboys cheer on their respective teams.
photography by Steven Visneau
I got a little too close to blue team member, Fabio..
photography by Steven Visneau

Blue team: Richard Blais, Fabio Viviani, Felix Jones, DeMarco Murray, and two students

What they cooked: Spiced turkey tenderloin, carrots, peas, and chocolate pudding with no chocolate in it.

What the judges said: Tom thought the dishes were rich and colorful.

Random: Richard Blais had Michelle Obama sign his wife’s birthday card, because his wife told him he couldn’t leave Texas without her autograph. What a smart wife!

The judges conferring.
photography by Steven Visneau

Tom to First Lady: “Talk to the hand, not the face!”

First Lady: “No, I must speak to your egg-head!”

… just kidding. That would never happen. Instead, they discussed which team won the competition. Then Mrs. Obama announced that the winner was “Red, White, and Blue.”

Grayson toasts the kids.
photography by Steven Visneau
Speech time.
photography by Steven Visneau

Mrs. Obama made the following remarks: “As everybody here knows, this challenge is run by the Department of Agriculture, or the USDA as we call it. And it recognizes schools that meet the highest national standards for nutrition and physical activity — the highest standards. These schools are the schools that are finding creative, innovative ways to serve healthy meals and to get kids active. So it’s a twofer — it’s not just nutrition, but it’s also physical activity. And these high-ranking schools are doing it at a time when budgets are tight — and we all know that budgets are tight — and there aren’t a whole lot of resources to go around, again, which is why this competition is important, because schools are being asked to do so much more with less.

Right here in Dallas, more than 150 schools have been recognized in this challenge. That includes 78 schools that have earned Gold Awards, which go to schools that meet the highest levels of standards. And that’s more than any other school district in the entire country. Did you hear that? Dallas, you have more Gold schools in this district than anywhere in the country. And that includes schools like Nancy Moseley Elementary School!”

Richard Blais and student
Photo courtesy of Parker County Sheriff Department

Richard Blais – who’s already heavily involved with children’s health and nutrition around the nation – told us, “Mrs. Obama has inspired me to get involved in the local scene.”


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