Last fall, 10 year old Amber Kelly started an online cooking show called Kids Can Cook Too. Every week she tapes a new episode, wearing her monogrammed chef’s coat or apron, from her family’s Woodinville kitchen.
“I want to show kids that being healthy is cool and yummy and fun.”
Healthy eating is the crux of the program, so when she found a national Epicurious contest called Healthy Lunch Time Challenge, she decided to enter.
“You were supposed to enter in a recipe that was healthy, affordable, yummy and easy for kids to make. We made a Nummy No Noodle Lasagna. We like lasagna but we know the noodles don’t do anything for you so we thought, why don’t we just put in some zucchini, so that way we get vegetables plus noodles.”
Thirteen hundred kids entered the contest and 52 were chosen as winners, one from each state and US territory. The grand prize was a luncheon at The White House last Tuesday. That’s where Amber found herself, seated right next to the First Lady.
“I got to go to the White House and meet Michelle Obama. It was crazy. We talked about a lot of stuff, like, she told us the layout of the White House and she told us how her and her husband would workout in the mornings.”
Her husband, President Obama, also made an appearance.
“I got to shake the president’s hand. I just told him my name because he had to go around to everyone. But I didn’t care, I got to talk to the president, that’s all that really mattered. I didn’t even believe it.”
Amber says she’s been helping her mom in the kitchen for as long as she can remember, and they’ve always eaten healthily.
“Since my parents are wellness coaches that’s one of the things that we do in our house is you gotta eat well, move well and think well.”
Amber originally suggested her mom, Yohko do a cooking show, but when her mom was too busy she decided to do it herself. Now Amber has expanded into a weekly cooking segment on Q13 and has a global fan base.
“It’s really crazy. I thought only my grandparents would watch but a whole bunch of people from all over the world have been watching it. It’s crazy. My mom will go, ‘Someone from Australia is looking on your website.'”
Yohko and Amber make sure the recipes are easy enough for kids to cook, but still interesting, flavorful and there isn’t a chicken nugget in sight.
“I like Moroccan pasta. It’s basically a spicy spaghetti with spinach. I have made Greek salad. I have made a flank steak marinade. I did hummus. I’ve done zucchini and chicken pesto pasta. I’ve done a lot of stuff. How many episodes do I have? 43.”
Amber’s winning White House recipe, Nummy No Noodle Lasagna, involves layers of thin sliced zucchini, ground turkey sausage tomato sauce, and a sprinkle of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. She says she’s been recreating the dish since the big win, but she’s still not tired of it.
“Our car is full of lasagna right now. I’m going to make it for a party this weekend. My family requested it it. So I’m like, OK, I’m going to be eating it the whole entire week.”