The creation of an 11-year-old student from Kagman Elementary School took top honors in the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, which entitles her to attend a “state dinner” to be hosted by first lady Michelle Obama.
Sixth grader Esther Huh's creative presentation of the “Pitaya Healthy Salad” was chosen as the competition's winner for the Northern Mariana Islands.
Huh expressed joy and excitement upon learning the good news yesterday, saying her win was unexpected. This is her first time to compete at the national level and also her first time to win.
Her father, Daniel Huh, told Saipan Tribune that the upcoming trip of his daughter to the White House is a great honor and unique experience that Esther will forever cherish. Esther is the only child of Daniel and Jenny Huh.
According to Jennifer Gaonach, from the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, Huh's recipe won her a trip to Washington D.C. on Aug. 19 and 20 where she will join winners from other states at a Kids' State Dinner with the first lady.
In Gaonach's message to Esther, which was received yesterday, she said: “We are thrilled to announce that your recipe was selected as the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winner from the Northern Mariana Islands. Congratulations! As you know, we received more than 1,200 recipes from across the U.S. and we loved reading through the stories and sampling all the delicious lunches.”
Gaonach described Huh's recipe as “particularly impressive, as it was creative, tasted great, and most importantly, healthy.”
Huh is expected to soon receive a packet that will contain details of the Kids' State Dinner event.
Based on the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge website, winners were selected from over 1,200 delicious entries that were evaluated at the D.C. Central Kitchen by a panel of judges that included White House assistant chef Sam Kass; chef José Andrés; Marshall and Alex Reid, authors of Portion Size Me; Epicurious editor-in-chief Tanya Steel; and representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Education.
Entries were judged based on the following criteria: 50 percent for the nutritional value of the recipe; 25 percent for perceived taste; 15 percent for creativity and originality; 5 percent for affordability; and 5 percent for the story behind the recipe.