VAIL, Colorado - What's cooking at the White House? A community group, headed by Vail's "Top Chef" Kelly Liken and representing the Vail Valley Foundation's Sowing Seeds program, will find out Tuesday as they travel to Washington for a personal tour of the White House kitchen and gardens.
The trip is a result of an invitation from White House chef Sam Kass following Michelle Obama's evening at Restaurant Kelly Liken during the first lady's ski trip to Vail in February.
During the dinner, Liken, who first met Kass when he was a judge of Bravo TV's "Top Chef" competition, talked to Mrs. Obama about the Foundation's Sowing Seeds program currently operating in Brush Creek and Edwards elementary schools.
Created in conjunction with Liken, Sowing Seeds provides the opportunity for students to plant and care for their own gardens in the Brush Creek and Edwards greenhouses. The program aims to connect children to their environment and foster an understanding of the origin of food.
"The Vail Valley Foundation's Sowing Seeds initiative is a perfect complement to Mrs. Obama's 'Let's Move!' and 'Chefs Move to Schools' programs," Liken said. "She was very impressed with the work we're doing here in the valley to introduce our children to the importance of healthy food and eating, and we are very excited to be able to visit Sam at the White House."
Accompanying Liken to our nation's capital will be her husband, Rick Colomitz; Sowing Seeds director Sandra Story and her son Quinn; and Mary Beth Ottley and her sons Dudley and Patrick.
"Sowing Seeds is an incredible program, and we are very excited to have had the opportunity to join forces with Kelly Liken to make this opportunity a reality," said Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation." We are well aware that many valuable life lessons can be learned outside of the traditional classroom and the success of the program and now this trip is a great testament to that fact."
In addition to his television cooking judge duties, Kass, who followed the Obamas to Washington after serving as the family's personal chef in Chicago, was recently promoted to the position of White House policy advisor for healthy food initiatives.
The Obama's planted a vegetable garden on the South Lawn of the White House in March of 2009. The garden provides more than 55 varieties of vegetables and fruits that are incorporated into the meals prepared for not only the first family, but also invited guests. In addition, the yields are also donated to local soup kitchens and food bank organizations.