The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

August 24, 2013

Young cook meets Obama

Oakwood's Pettit attends 'state dinner' at White House

(Continued)

Obama then went around and met all of the children. He spent a bit longer with Taddy, however, when he learned the boy was from Illinois.

“I felt more special because he actually spoke to me,” Taddy recalled. “He said, ‘Tell everyone back home, I said hi.’”

To the other children, Obama said only, “nice to meet you,” Taddy said.

Taddy said he was a “little bit nervous” to meet the president.

Michelle Obama also talked with all of the children.

At the luncheon, children were announced in the manner of state dignitaries arriving at an official state dinner, and a press line, including White House chef Sam Kass, conducted interviews and snapped photos, just like at a real state event.

During the trip to Washington, D.C., the children also visited the Smithsonian Institution, and received T-shirts with the Epicurious Healthy Junior Chef logo.

Taddy gives his stepfather credit for coming across the recipe contest in June. Rogers teaches culinary arts at Richland Community College in Decatur, and has cooked for Oprah Winfrey. They had just a couple of days to come up with the black bean wrap and to test it out.

The idea was to come up with a recipe that’s affordable, original and delicious. Entries had to represent each of the food groups, either in one dish or as parts of a lunch meal, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy foods, with fruits and veggies making up roughly half the plate or recipe.

Taddy was surprised to learn that their recipe was a winner — out of more than 1,300 entries.

“I was really excited about it,” he said.

Justin Pettit said he’s a vegetarian and all of his children started out as vegetarians.

After his national success as a chef, does Taddy want to be a professional cook someday?

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