Anne Burrell Goes to the White House

By: Debra Puchalla
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Food Network chef Anne Burrell got a thumb's up from First Lady Michelle Obama Monday at the White House's Easter Egg Roll, which drew 30,000 people to the South Lawn for fun that went far beyond eggs. "A little love in your food makes everything taste better," Anne told Mrs. Obama, prepping pasta with broccoli rabe pesto and sausage as a family-friendly all-in-one-meal idea for visitors. "Kids, you would eat this at home, right?" the First Lady asked, getting a big "yes" in reply. Mrs. Obama said the dish — a nourishing mix of protein, veggies, good fat from olive oil and pistachios — tasted cheesy enough to be kid-friendly but sophisticated enough for date night. Watch the video here and get the recipe over on the Let's Move blog.

"It's the perfect ratio of pasta to sauce," Anne said. "When you finish the pasta you should have just enough sauce left to take the last of your bread and get that little bit, wipe it up so your plate's clean. Then you can put your plate right back in the cupboard because you're part of the clean-plate club." Anne was on stage in the Play With Your Food area along with White House chef Cristeta Comerford, White House pastry chef Bill Yosses (pictured above) and other food-famous folks including Al Roker and Ina Garten; there, visitors followed up egg-rolling by peeking into the garden that supplies the First Family with fresh vegetables year-round, eating jelly beans and learning how long it takes to work them off (30 seconds each) and trying out tennis and basketball on the White House courts. The eat-well-move-more activities were in support of the First Lady's Let’s Move! initiative, which aims to reduce the rates of childhood obesity in the United States.

Food Network recently partnered with the First Lady's office and the Partnership for a Healthier America to encourage Americans to follow the USDA's MyPlate guidelines, sharing recipes on Pinterest. Check out the MyPlate Pinterest boards to find easy FoodNetwork.com recipes for chicken, slow-cooker favorites, pasta, vegetarian options, side dishes and more, then read more about Food Network’s venture with Partnership for a Healthier America and hear more from First Lady Michelle Obama.

(Photo above from left to right: Chef Bill Yosses, Chef Cristeta Comerford and Chef Anne Burrell)

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Anne Burrell Bio

With her trademark spiky blond hair and pumped-up personality, Anne Burrell has worked at some of the top restaurants in New York and studied the culinary landscape and traditions of Italy. Anne makes restaurant dishes accessible and reveals concise, easy-to-master techniques for the at-home cook on her Food Network series Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. On her show Chef Wanted, Anne helps top restaurateurs find candidates with the right experience and creativity to become executive chefs. On Worst Cooks in America, Anne joins Tyler Florence in mentoring teams of hopeless home cooks from around the country, putting them through culinary boot camp. In 2011, Anne published her first cookbook, Cook Like a Rock Star, which gives home cooks the confidence and support to be rock stars in their own kitchens. Her cookbook earned a place on the New York Times Best Seller list. In 2013, Anne released her second cookbook, Own Your Kitchen. Growing up in upstate New York, Anne developed a passion for food and cooking at an early age. After obtaining an English and communications degree from Canisius College in Buffalo, she pursued her interest in the restaurant business by enrolling in the Culinary Institute of America. Following graduation, she spent a year in Italy attending the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners while working at La Taverna del Lupo in Umbria and La Bottega del' 30, a Michelin one-star restaurant in Tuscany. During this year, Anne grew to truly appreciate and understand the philosophy of Italian cuisine and culture, which left a lasting impact on her culinary point of view. Upon her arrival in New York City, Anne was hired as a sous chef at Felidia, working with Lidia Bastianich. She then served as a chef at Savoy, where she cooked over an open wood fire and created flavorful menus inspired by Mediterranean countries. Here Anne developed her personal culinary style: rustic food made with pure and simple ingredients with intense flavors. Anne then took the opportunity to spread her culinary knowledge and passion as a teacher at the Institute of Culinary Education. After three years, Anne went back to the restaurant business, serving as the executive chef at Lumi. As the executive chef at New York hot spot Centro Vinoteca from its opening in July 2007 through September 2008, Anne served up her "creative-authentic" Italian menu of small plates (piccolini), antipasti, pastas and main courses accented by her trademark bold, pure flavors.

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