There's days that the Top Chef contestants are stuck cooking in a gas station with nothing but vending machine ingredients and a shirt iron. On other days, you're shoulder-to-shoulder with First Lady Michelle Obama, the Dallas Cowboys and a gaggle of hungry kids with the goal of making healthy food taste delicious.
Earlier this year as part of the First Lady's Let's Move initiative which looks to tackle all aspects of the growing childhood obesity epidemic in the United States, Top Chef alum Richard Blais, Jennifer Carroll, Spike Mendelsohn, Fabio Viviani, Grayson Schmitz and Paul Qui took on a challenge from the First Lady of the United States. Their mission? Make kid-friendly school lunch that isn't just healthy, but is actually something that picky kids would recognize and want to eat.
"There has to be a familiar aspect to the food you're doing," Blais, father of two himself, says about cooking for children. "When you can sell someone on the idea they're already familiar with ... and then make it healthier, that's a great strategy to cook for kids."
His pal Fabio agrees, and says that a bit of whimsy often goes a long way with kid cuisine. "When you cook for kids, you have to use a lot of color, different shapes. Make it playful, make it fun -- don't overside the portion," he says.
Another must-do? "Dipping is key," Schmitz adds.
Learn more about the Let's Move initiative by clicking here!