First lady Michelle Obama took on the role of chef when she teamed up with Italian and American students to prepare a lentil, barley and rice salad at the James Beard American Restaurant in downtown Milan.
Obama was in town to promote healthy eating as part of the U.S. delegation to the 2015 World Expo in Milan.
“No matter where in the world we live, we all want healthy, nutritious food for our families,” she said, adding that beyond “sharing some of our successes … we’ll be taking the time to learn from leaders here in Italy and all around the world to find out what’s working for them. Because no one nation has a monopoly on good ideas.”
The Milan Expo, which runs through October 31, focuses on how to feed the world sustainably and nutritiously. Nutrition is also at the heart of the first lady’s Let’s Move initiative to get families in the United States to eat better and exercise more.
As part of that initiative, Obama planted the first White House kitchen garden in more than 50 years. Vegetables grown there are used regularly at the White House — such as in her version of the American classic macaroni and cheese.
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Obama also toured the USA Pavilion at the Expo, titled “American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet.” Interactive exhibits highlight how U.S. farmers, scientists, businesses and government agencies are working to find ways to feed the world’s growing population.
“When … you think about transplanting those ideas and innovations to other parts of the world where people are starving, we know that we can fix these problems,” she said to students at the USA Pavillion. “And it’s really going to take young people like you to take this information and make something of it, turn it into action.”