Restaurant Revisited: Horton’s Kids

by in Shows, June 13th, 2012

In a special episode of Restaurant: Impossible, Robert Irvine faced his toughest challenge yet when First Lady Michelle Obama assigned him the task of rebuilding Horton’s Kids, a children’s community center that provides many services such as serving after-school meals in one of Washington, D.C.’s neediest neighborhoods. Mrs. Obama gave Robert three missions: Give Horton’s Kids a dining room, update their kitchen and create a community garden for them.

A few months after Robert’s Restaurant: Impossible-style transformation of Horton’s Kids, we checked in with Executive Director Brenda Chamberlain to see how the organization is doing. “Everyone loves and is impressed with the new, transformed Horton’s Kids!” says Brenda. “The vibrant space establishes a sense of community for the children.”

Robert Irvine and Horton's Kids

The brand-new kitchen and dining area have enabled Horton’s Kids to run cooking classes and hands-on nutrition programs more effectively. “During a recent class, we had kids sautéing vegetables, making omelets on the stovetop and blending fruit smoothies — all simultaneously,” says Brenda.

The dining/all-purpose room allows kids to sit down and share their meals together. Thanks to the collapsible tables and hang-able chairs, staff and volunteers have flexibility to arrange the space to meet the needs of various programs outside of meal times. The children love having a nice indoor space where they can hang out, chat with their friends and do homework. The computer lab that Microsoft donated has helped to bridge the technical divide often found in the Horton’s Kids community.

Planting Horton's Kids garden

In the garden, early summer vegetables are growing nicely. Horton’s Kids has started a children’s gardening club: “Kids are taking great pride in the garden,” says Brenda. The irrigation bike has proven to be a fun, creative way to engage the children in gardening, and they’re enjoying it “tremendously.”

After hearing the First Lady talk about the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, the children are getting more adventurous and trying new kinds of produce. “They also enjoy knowing that they are growing vegetables and herbs they can eat,” Brenda says. In an upcoming class, the kids will be using the fresh basil to make pesto.

The future looks bright for Horton’s Kids: “With the help of our amazing volunteers and donors, the new space will soon allow us to serve many more children.”

To find out how you can make a difference in the lives of these children, visit

For a closer look at the transformation of Horton’s Kids, check out our photo gallery of Robert’s mission from the White House.

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Comments (619)

  1. James says:

    How do you know what the contents of the deleted comments contained? My guess is they probably contained offensive or insulting language, but if you have some way of determining exactly what they contained, please share your methodology.

  2. James says:

    What a sad, hateful commentary riddled with spelling, typographical and factual errors. I assume that you call yourself a Christian, too?

  3. L Newman says:

    There is a saying that is something like this. Give a man a fish feed him one meal, teach a man to fish he will have many meals. I think that is what this project is all about. Teaching people how to grow their own health food. Sort of like the heifer project, where people are give animals to raise for their own food and to sell. However they must also supply another family with a pair of animals and teach them how to raise them. I love the heifer project and I loved this episode. We need to stop give handout and start giving hands up.

    • Guest says:

      Great, teach them about food and cooking, etc. but the free lunch daily and whatever else just takes even more of the parents responsibility from them to basically the Government!

      It's gotten to the point now that every kid gets free breakfast and lunch in school. You don't want the poor kids to stand out after all. Last I checked money didn't grow on trees. We are 16 trillion in debt and growing fast and if it doesn't stop and gotten under control, there Won't be anything for anyone!!!

      • Christy W says:

        Actually not everyone gets free lunch at school so please don’t espouse lies. The criteria to get free or reduced lunch at school is $25k a year for a family of four.

    • DebCF says:

      Excellent comment. I wish all communities could adopt a program such as this.

  4. Flash says:

    You might consider restricting your ridiculous lies to something that is not so easily verified to be a RIDICULOUS BLATANT LIE. I've seen a lot of utterly moronic internet posts over the years, but this is easily top 10 material.

  5. curmy says:

    None of these kids look like they have ever missed a meal–though the majority appear to need some portion-control lessons. And isn't every household in SE DC already well-fed by the SNAP program?
    What a great country, taxpayer-funded SNAP food at home, free lunch photo-op with FLOTUS at Horton's, and a plump 10 year old from a freebie-milking family has a cell phone–let me guess, it's paid for by the Universal Service fee and it is "free" too–thanks "Assurance" program–"Now I can talk to my grandchildren!"

    • let me guess you are white…fat..missing a couple teeth and in love with your cousin. how does it feel to be stereotyped? as a typical right wing nut job..Way to go Mrs. Obama. At least you care about the children of this country

      • lol … that was a good reply although I hear the posters frustration with waste HOWEVER no one should be hungry ever. Human or animals IMO. More people should do community gardens. As an animal lover and vegetarian I can tell you you can survive without meat and probably be a whole lot healthier. So origonal poster please don't be resentful filling bellies but I do agree we are spoiled in America with gadgets we don't need. I never did growing up but would have loved a camera as a kid even an old 35mm or polaroid. Let kids enjoy being young they never get to be young again.

      • Guest says:

        You are a racist and your comments are racist and the fact that your racist comment is still here proves the bias in the USA that anything a white person says negative towards another race will immediately be considered racist. But if you are black you are free to say whatever you like because somehow you have the right to be as racist as you feel without any repercussion. It is openly flaunted daily in the media. The administration in office now is only there because of biased voters such as yourself who will vote for a half white man no matter how unqualified he is and by the white guilt that blacks have convinced dumb white college students to have and made them feel as if voting your way will somehow make up for the illusion that anyone alive today had anything to do with the US history that you still use as a crutch to get your way. The most obvious thing you all have in common is that you all want something for nothing and you cannot stand to see someone have something that you don't have so you feel that instead of working hard as they have done to get those nice things you should force them to give it to you. Why don't you get a job and use birth control and buy your own things. You can always tell its people like you who want what others have against people like me that work hard to get what we have. You are so arrogant to think you can guess what someone is like based on their comments… typical. By the way, I am neither white or black. Neither is my wife. We both work full time jobs and require no assistance from the government or anyone else. We live within our means and we are productive citizens of USA. When I see a woman buying more food that we can afford using food stamps clutched in the same hand as her iPhone it really upsets me that her priorities are in her smartphone and Escalade than in making a better live for her 2 kids and one on the way. You are only enabling people like her to continue to abuse the system and to teach her children her way of life. People that legitimately need assistance should have assistance but more people abuse the system than not. Do your research on the increase in unemployment and government assistance given in US history… not just the past 4 years… then come back and tell me how we are going in the right direction. This administration is stealing your freedoms by making you dependent on the government for your food, housing and communications. Wake up and see things for what they really are. Once we all rely on the government to survive we will be no different than N. Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and China. Trust me when I say that you do not want to be in those countries right now.

      • Guest says:

        What a waste of time trying to explain anything to you. After seeing your Twitter account it is obvious that you are exactly the type of person that will abuse the system. You are also quite a classy lady that carries yourself with pride and self-respect. Ha ha ha… who am I kidding…. none of that is classy, self-respecting lady stuff is reflected on your Twitter account. You obviously have no shame.

      • Marrinb says:

        ANYONE who is working to support his/her family deserves a vote of confidence. I enjoyed this show, was grateful that the First Lady is taking the lead in educating our kids about the pitfalls of fast food and helping to shed light on the growing trend of obesity in this country. We will have many more dollars out of taxpayers pockets in the next 20 years for health-related illnesses (heart disease, diabetes) if we parents don't step up and stop taking the easy way out with our kids.

    • Monte says:

      You know what you said is an aweful statement. Myself and my four children do not make enough money but we are not eligible for the SNAP program and a few of us are what you say "chunky". And the girl in the back you think is holding a cell phone it looks more like an old style camera because people with LOW income is exactly that… LOW! Thank goodnes to the kind hearts of people like these that are willing to spend their time to take care of others that need it. Maybe you could take some lessons.

    • Guest says:

      I can't believe that you are picking on children. Never missed a meal, plump??? Seriously? Fresh fruits, vegetables and choice cuts of meats with little to no fat are expensive. Sometimes when you have to stretch money to feed a family you end up getting things that will fill bellies but isn't the healthiest thing for them. I may not care for all of the governments programs but to talk about the kids who are receiving help from the government. They can't support themselves. To talk about kids like that is truly disturbing.

  6. Guest says:

    I am thoroughly offended and disgusted and hurt by all of the politically and hate motivated comments I have read here. As someone who feels truly blessed to have been born an American, to read the selfish, condescending, hurtful comments that have been posted here has literally brought tears to my eyes. Just earlier this evening, I was talking to my 29 year old son, telling him some of the wonderful social changes I have seen during my lifetime and my fear that powerful music of social change was no longer being heard by our young people and no longer inspiring them to step up and be responsible citizens and I hoped that he would share that music with his children, and inspire them to carry the message that wrongs cannot be corrected if everyone turns a blind eye and a deaf ear or complains and does nothing.
    If I were a teacher of those children, I probably would have given a trusted student my cell phone and asked her to take pictures for me that day to share with the class the following day, knowing all the students in class would not be there and the other faculty would like to see the new center. I would not assume the child had one of her own. Being someone who has studied nutrition for many years, most people who are over-weight are not well nourished. They live on food that is not healthy, not wholesome and does not provide the vitamins, minerals and nutrients they need, but instead on bad carbs and cheap food that puts them at risk for several dangerous metabolic syndrome related diseases.

    Nourishing and teaching the American children and their families who need that knowledge and assistance is not a political agenda. It is a obligation that everyone of us who has the means and knowledge has a social obligation to do. How can any of you sit there and condemn anyone for helping hungry people who were never taught the basics of nutrition, who didn't have the blessings in their lives that you or I did? I feel like all the fears I was talking with my son about just came true reading so many of these comments. Get your priorities straight people. Great steps were made at Horton's Kids and Robert and his Crew, Microsoft, the wonderful gentleman from the garden, the landlord who donated the other half of the building, Mrs. Obama and the wonderful staff from Horton's Kids are to be commended for a job well done. I remember when integration was practiced everywhere, I remember when they freed the great Mandela, I would love to be able to say that I only remembered when American children went to bed hungry.

    • Kit Shotwell says:

      Here! Here! from a viewer in MI who sees that the American public is NOT well served by burgers and fries and who is thrilled to pieces that the kids were being taught what good vegetables are and how they are grown!!! Imagine how much better the country's overall health would be if we were eating foods grown in our own garden, with a responsibility for how they got there and how they grow to make it to our tables. Forgive me if I am excited that these kids are discovering carrots and squash instead of oil-laden french fries! This can only help our children; why can't you see that?!

      • wendy says:

        I totally agree with you. People are so quick to judge when they are from well educated famalies. I was raised by a handicapped mom and she tried very hard to teach me to cook but usually from frozen foods. Now at 41 I am learning on my own how to teach my children how to cook fresh foods. Never being taught myself makes it very difficult. I grew tomatoes over the summer for the first time was very pround of myself. Am trying to teach the children how to care and grow vegtables in our yard. So far so good. Next is potatos and cucumbers. The government situation is not looking very good. Everything is very expensive. My husband makes good money and we are living pay check to pay check. Can you imagine how expensive things will get if this continues? Teaching our children how to grow their own vegtables could be one of the most important things we could teach them. You never know the way things are going they may have to do it to be able to afford to eat.

    • Guest says:

      I totally agree with you. Our society contributes a great deal of money to organizations like Feed the Children, but these organizations primarily serve children from other countries. I don't see anything wrong with someone trying to teach American children how to choose nutritional foods and to grow them if possible. I too remember segregation and integration. I thought that segregation was wrong when I was a child of the 60's and I think that discrimination against poor people, regardless of race, is wrong today. I live in a community where 75% of the people live below the poverty line. Perhaps Mrs. Obama's efforts have brought about too much of a drastic change in nutrition guidelines for school age children, but at least her heart is in the right place. I don't think that she is politically motivated at all and if she is, what difference does it make as long as the children benefit? Shame on those people who want to make this a political issue!!!

  7. Lisa says:

    Stop. Do your research before you make comments. Look at the rates of diabetes and high blood pressure with these kids. They are obese because of what they eat and where the live. Low income areas are often food desserts and the food they need is not close and when it is, generally it is very expensive. yes, sometimes money is spent poorly and keeps people where they are, some abuse the system, but what about those that are trying there best? I work with kids one a month at an inner city ministry, most of them did not know that that orange thing on their plate was a carrot. They can not get enough grapes. They are used to cheap food and cheap food is normally cheap, low quality food. We need more of what Robert and Mrs. Obama did. If we teach early and prevent Type 2 diabetes, we can actually save tax payers money. This is not about the Democratic and Republican party. It is about kids, their health, our future, and teaching our future.

  8. Mami says:

    I have only needed to read a few comments to see how politically motivated these responses are… how sad. Speaking as a single mother, employed full time for over 20 years and laid off since 1995 so only working working part time since… I have relied on "snap" or what we call food stamps – what I have paid into since I was 17 – to help make up the difference in what has been needed for my family. That being said, this show brought tears to my eyes and made me feel good about America my country. I feel so proud that the family of our leader cares about our children. As an avid food network watcher, I also felt that the channel that I watch also cares…. but I feel like "who are these people that also watch my channel?" am I really in the company of all these asses?, I guess so, but that may be why I watch the one's that don't make me use only "good" olive oil, cheese, mayo, butter and ever other ingredient.

  9. Pam says:

    Unbelievable that this has turned into a political debate. I don't care for the Obama's but I don't care who helps the children of America as long as it gets done. This is not a job for only the government should be the job of all Americans to help one another if they are able. Good for Robert Irvine for making this mission possible. They should teach this in school as part of there health classes instead of so much sex ed. Then every child in the world, not only the poor, would be able to feed themselves healthier and better.

  10. Susan Spence says:

    How anyone can take a wonderful positive experience and turn it political is really sad. I am Canadian, and thought that inner city children were the focus. Not the Obama's, not Robert Irvine, just helping Horton's Kids.
    Shame shame on you. Amazing that Michelle Obama is so proactive in helping correct the horrible diets and lack of physical excercise of the nation that she is the 1st lady off. Hats off to her & to Robert the haters, it was the kids that benefited, isn't that what it is all about.

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