President Obama showed up -- saying he had "crashed" the party -- and boasted he could make a "good omelet ... toast ... very good chili." He cautioned the youngsters not to drop any scraps on the floor because first dog "Bo is on a diet and will eat anything he sees."
The first lady told the junior chefs, "I think this is one of the best events that we've ever had here -- our very first ever Kids' State Dinner. So, so awesome."
The group was to be entertained by the pop band Big Time Rush.
The lunch was part of Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign to combat childhood obesity with exercise and a better diet.
"To our 54 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge winners -- congratulations," the first lady said. "Look what you've inspired! Just look around the room. ... This is the hottest ticket at the White House, right here, because of all of you."
The contest is a partnership with Epicurious.com and the U.S. Education and Agriculture departments, the Huffington Post reported.