WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- It was the most important day of their lives for the 54 children who attended the first ever "Kids' State Dinner" Luncheon at the White House hosted by first lady Michelle Obama.
"I want to welcome everyone to the White House, is this not cool?" she asked the cheering crowd of children and parents when she took the stage wearing a green and blue printed summer dress with a pearl necklace.
The children are the winners of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, a contest that called on kids to submit a healthy, original, affordable, tasty lunch that contains the five food groups.
Over 1,100 entries were received from children ages 8-12 from all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico and U.S. territories and a deserving 54 won the competition.
"You're here because your recipes truly stood out and that's really saying something," Mrs. Obama said. "You came up with dishes that were packed with nutritious, delicious ingredients, dishes that are good for you but more importantly they taste good too."
VIEW: Recipe Challenge Recipes
Iliana Gonzales-Evans, 11, of D.C. created her winning recipe "Mexican Delight" with the inspiration of someone dear to her heart.
"My grandma taught me how to make tortillas, so I just used a tortilla and put vegetables in it," she said.
Not only was Lliana one of the winners but she got to share a table with Mrs. Obama.
"We didn't know that we were going to sit next to the first lady until we got here and were told," Anita Gonzales-Evans, Iliana's mother, said. "She was ecstatic when she found out."
Other winning entries included: Yummy Cabbage Sloppy, Apple Alien, Power Pesto Pasta, Tuna Schooners and Secret Service Super Salad, whipped up by a 9-year-old Texan who dreams of one day becoming a secret service agent.
"See it can happen, tasty and healthy at the same time," Mrs. Obama told the crowd.
The children and guardians were served an array of dishes by the White House staff from the winning recipes. But perhaps the highlight of their day was when an unexpected guest arrived, President Barak Obama.
"I heard there was a state dinner and usually I get invited, so this time I decided to crash," he said as the crowd stood from their seats and cheered in excitement.
President Obama spoke on how proud he is of his wife for mobilizing a healthy movement across the nation and how proud he is of the youth who participated in this contest.
Before saying his goodbyes he admitted, "I'm an ok cook. I can make good omelets, toasts and I make a very good chili."
He also cautioned everyone, "Try not to drop any scraps on the floor because Bo is on a diet right now."
After making his brief appearance, Obama took some time to greet everyone at each table.
"I'm never washing this hand," Robert Robinson, 9, of Oregon said more than three times after shaking President Obama's hand.
The children also got to get front row seats to a performance by Nickelodeon stars Big Time Rush. Then they all went out to get a tour of the kitchen garden by the White House chefs.
"This is a lifetime memory for [Iliana]," Anita said as they were on their way out to tour the garden. "She's so excited."
Story by: Jackie B. Diaz