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You may not be able to get a group of grown-ups around a boardroom table to agree on just about anything, but you can actually get a group of kids to eat raw rhubarb when seated around a lunch table. This now stands as a proven fact as a result of Michelle Obama's most recent campaign, Chefs Move to Schools. In June, the First Lady and White House chef Sam Kass invited 15 chefs and more than 30 grade-school students, from Hollin Meadows Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia, to participate in a pick-your-own/cook-your-own lunch in the White House organic garden.
Not even the 90-plus degree heat could stifle the excitement of the children, who ranged from second to sixth grade. What better field trip could a kid ask for than an afternoon at the White House with the First Lady and a gaggle of chefs? Actually the chefs may have been even more excited. Most were parents with children and, parent or not, chefs tend to love children. Must be something about our nurturing nature ...
The object of the day was to pair each chef with two children in 15 teams. Each team was responsible for picking two vegetables from the garden (ours were peppers and baby squash), then cutting, trimming, washing, and preparing each veggie as part of a sort-of deconstructed salad that would be topped by fresh chicken grilled in the White House kitchen and served with a special rhubarb cobbler, courtesy of White House pastry chef Bill Yosses.