EAGLE — Eight-year-old Nicholas Hornbostel spent Tuesday in the White House— yes, that White House — with other people who believe good food can taste good.
Nicholas’ sushi salad recipe was one of 54 selected from more than 1,300 submitted for this year’s Epicurious Healthy Lunchtime Challenge.
The challenge: Come up with a healthy lunch recipe that includes all the food groups and tastes delicious.
The reward: A once-in-a-lifetime trip to our nation’s capital to attend a kids’ “state dinner” at the White House, hosted by first lady Michelle Obama.
And that’s how Nicholas spent his Tuesday.
“This might be the first and last time for me to have dinner at the White House,” Nicholas said.
He even got a shout-out from the first lady during her opening remarks.
“As 8-year-old Nicholas Hornbostel from Colorado said, this is a quote, ‘I really want to be a cook and an engineer and be president, too.’ That’s an outstanding list,” the first lady said. “That’s what this state dinner is really about. We really want you to realize your dreams. And as I always say when I have kids here, I want you to think if you can walk in this room and sit at these chairs and be in front of these cameras and meet the first lady of the United States, then you can do anything in the world.”
At the luncheon, kids 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 dinner.
Nicholas said his mom, Monika, helped him through the entry process.
“My mom told me I was a finalist. Then the other day she picked me up from summer camp and told me I was one of the winners,” Nicholas said. “I was really excited to enter it, and then I won. I was really excited about that, too,” Nicholas said.
Ironically, Monika told Nicolas he was a winner as he was returning home from Sewing Seeds camp, where kids learn about gardening and cooking. That’s the good news.
The bad news was that he couldn’t tell anyone. The information was considered classified until the White House released it. They did, finally, and by the time you read this Nicholas will have spent his day in the White House with Michelle Obama — which might set new standards for the essay “What I did on my summer vacation.”
Entries were judged by a panel headed by assistant White House chef Sam Kass and Epicurious editor-in-chief Tanya Steel.
Nicholas Hornbostel de Moura e Silva is a third-grader at Edwards Elementary School. The family moved to Edwards a year ago from Rio de Janeiro.
“Sushi is huge in Brazil and it’s one of his favorite foods,” Monika said. “For this recipe the fish is cooked. We didn’t think the White House would want to serve raw fish.”
Nicholas came up with the ingredients on his own.
Monika said at first she wasn’t convinced rice in a salad would work, but it does.
“I have loved sushi since I was little! I wanted to make sushi something even healthier, and I did!” Nicholas said. “I got the idea from thinking about eating sushi and then the next day I thought about eating salad. Then I put the two together and it equaled a sushi salad! That night we tested the recipe, and it was amazing! My parents rated it a 9, and I was proud of myself. You can serve it with brown rice and oranges for dessert.”
Monika says Nicholas and his sister, Chloe, 9, have always been active in the kitchen.
“My mom and dad cook a lot. They’re not in the restaurant business. They just like to cook,” Nicholas said. “When I was 3 years old I got inspired in cooking. My mom was cooking pancakes one day and they were really good. So I made some and they were good too.”
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.