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James Beard Award-winners: Chefs Tom Colicchio, Maria Hines, Holly Smith and Ming Tsai to take the Great American Family Dinner Challenge

PHA’s Building a Healthier Future Summit to host Chef Challenge with Support from James Beard Foundation

WASHINGTON, DC (September 19, 2011)– The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) announced today that James Beard Award-winning chefs Tom Colicchio, Maria Hines, Holly Smith and Ming Tsai will participate in the Great American Family Dinner challenge to cook a healthy dinner for two real families on a SNAP (food stamp) budget on Nov. 29 at PHA’s Building a Healthier Future Summit in Washington, D.C.

The chefs will pair off and have 30 minutes and $10 to create the meal in front of summit attendees. The meals will be judged by two families who won a sweepstakes sponsored by Parents and Ser Padres magazines. Chefs Colicchio (James Beard Outstanding Chef, 2010, Craft and Hines (James Beard Best Chef: Northwest, 2009, Tilth) will face-off against chefs Smith (James Beard Best Chef: Northwest, 2008, Cafe Juanita) and Tsai (James Beard Best Chef: Northeast, 2002, Blue Ginger) in the 30-minute challenge.

“Part of overcoming the obesity crisis in this country is helping individuals and families understand that healthy food can be affordable, quick to make and also really tasty,” said Drew Nannis, PHA spokesperson. “These chefs have set the bar for what it means to prepare meals, and while we don’t expect anyone to match their skill in a restaurant, we’re thrilled that they are willing to see if they can do what millions of families do every day in kitchens across the country: put a healthy, delicious, affordable meal on the table – fast.”

White House Assistant Chef Sam Kass will emcee the competition. The Parents and Ser Padres sweepstakes is open until Oct. 1, and families can enter at Parents magazine here and at Ser Padres here.

Prior to the competition, summit attendees will experience their own meal prepared by James Beard Award winners and nominees. Chefs Michel Nischan (two-time James Beard Award winner), Floyd Cardoz (James Beard Best Chef nominee: New York, 2007, Tabla), Koren Grieveson (James Beard Best Chef: Great Lakes, 2010, Avec) and Anne Quatrano (James Beard Best Chef: Southeast, 2003, Bacchanalia) will cook a healthy, three-course meal – using only $4.50-worth of ingredients per person – for all of the summit participants. Four dollars and fifty cents is an approximation of what the average American spends on dinner.

The Building a Healthier Future summit, which takes place Nov. 29 to 30 at the Omni Shoreham in Washington, D.C., will help ensure a coordinated and succinct national agenda around fighting childhood obesity. It aims to foster dialogue, forge partnerships, and streamline childhood obesity initiatives among private, non-profit and public sectors that will all be represented. Speakers announced to date include PHA honorary vice-chairs Newark Mayor Cory Booker and former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

Breakout sessions over the two-day event will include tracks to discuss making childcare healthier for children; creating opportunities for people to buy healthier foods in supermarkets; increasing physical activity; and working with schools to create a healthier learning environment. Additional announcements will be made as speakers are confirmed.

The full agenda and registration information are available at

Registration is open through Nov. 1 and available by visiting, emailing or calling 301.469.4769.

Members of the media who are interested in attending the chef challenge or the summit should contact

The James Beard Foundation generously coordinated the chefs’ participation in the Summit.

The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) is devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of our nation’s youth by solving the childhood obesity crisis. In 2010, PHA was created in conjunction with – but independent from – First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! effort. PHA is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that is led by some of the nation’s most respected health and childhood obesity experts. PHA brings together public, private and nonprofit leaders to broker meaningful commitments and develop strategies to end childhood obesity. Most important, PHA ensures that commitments made are commitments kept by working with unbiased, third parties to monitor and publicly report on the progress our partners are making. For more information about PHA, please visit and follow PHA on Twitter @PHAnews.