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 www.hortonskids.org.

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 (616)

  1. Gregor says:

    I just can´t be quite anymore when I hear these "haters" in america. I hear a lot of bull from people
    that are ready to throw america overboard by their own lack of lojalty. In short, you have a elected a guy, that seems to be likeable by so many of you americans, so support him.

    You are very quick in america to talk about God and religion and at the same time you betray your own team (USA). I hear this bullshit about welfare that is so very bad…… I live in a country that care for it´s people and I live in a country that fights every day to support it´s own people……. continue..

    Gregor

  2. Gregor says:

    continue….

    In america amongst these haters, the only thing that is good is when people cannot support themselfs, just let them die….. to help them is bad. I get sick in my stomach when i hear all that crap that comes from ignorant people that contribute by almost nothing more than giving the team problem……

    Buuuu is the word tofay to these people. and for the rest of the americans, stand united and never doubt that it can never go wrong by taking care of eachother…….

    I, a swedish guy, congratulate you guys for having a very respectful and liked president. Obama is over here in Europe considered to be one of the absolutely best that you have ever had…..

    Gregor

    • Wooden Shoes Rock says:

      Tell you what genius, if you want to see what sort of person you think is "one of the absolute best" then why don't you try to come over here legally and work for a little while. Then you can see whats changed for this option for you in the past 4 years. I advise you that it is easier these days to come over illegally. I take it that you have never actually been here and you are basing your opinion on comparing the little you know about your own government and the little you know about my government. You also know nothing of political history or any other history of great empires that have fallen due to blind faith and following of leaders with personal agendas.

      Shouldn't you be focused on your own disasters instead of worrying about mine? Your economy is doing pretty good seeing how your country can actually still produce things that can be exported but your health care stinks. Maybe if Americans were not doing all they can to depend on the government to support them then we could actually make something here that people outside of America would buy. The only thing we have more of today than we had four years ago is higher unemployment, more people on welfare and food stamps, we are now on the verge of at least one more war if not more, and the biggest increase in national debt in our history and nothing is being done to change these things.

      Not all of us in America are dancing around our rooms in clogs while listening to Dancing Queen and living free thanks to our government checks.

  3. Guest says:

    Interesting comments, all of them. Good thing we have freedom of speech in this country, and even for those folks who commented from other countries. I'm so happy to be living in this country (only 2nd generation USA born – my original family came from Finland, a people who help when needed and that's how I was raised.
    For the comment from the person who thought we don't have the brain to figure out whether it's entertainment or not – of course it is. We're not ignorant. And let's get over this political stuff and accept people for whom they are as humans. I think this was a very thought-provoking segment which is giving me a lot of ideas.
    However, I also need to say that I started working in our small town family business when I was 13, was a National Merit Scholar, did a BA, MA & PhD (no student loans & 4 point GPA & held more than 1 job at a time throughout my education) and was a lifetime educator for birth through Elderhostel – now I'm 65 and I do volunteer work.

  4. Guest says:

    Guest Part 2 : I do believe that we all have a responsibility to each other, and to the children in our life and times. We can't walk in another person's shoes and make their decisions for them. I thought that the wisest comments in these postings that I read were from the 'guest' nutrition person who (as of today) wrote in 11 weeks ago. Good for you.
    Am also attaching a link to a video that a friend gave me that was done concurrently around the world – gives me hope that we may all come together someday. If you want to see it, you'll have to copy & paste, but it's worth it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Us-TVg40ExM&fe
    If you can't access it, write back & I'll figure out a better way to send it.

    • guest says:

      it would be great if we all could come together but there will always be close minded idiots like this dude that just needs Jesus and with Jesus maybe he wont be so miserable and mad because a child is being helped so sad lets all just pray for him and others like him and spread love not hate

    • Guest says:

      I absolutely loved the video! However, what it really has to do with Restaurant Impossible isn't clear. Isn't this forum meant to be a place where people comment on Robert's show and not on the "Guest Hosts" etc. that are spotlighted? Other celebrities do "good deeds" all of the time and are not considered to be politically motivated. Even though some of their good intentions are misguided, helping other people is never wrong when it benefits society as a whole. Perhaps other struggling people get some tips from the advice that Robert and his guests put out there. I'm just sayin…

  5. Celeste is Right says:

    You are right on. I love that all these government dependents opposing you only have small minded and insulting replies. Seems they would have time to find more words while sitting at home waiting for the next assistance source to arrive. I do agree with your message but I do wish that people like you would try to get your message across without bringing religion into it in any fashion including saying "Praise the Lord". I only saying this because I am really tired of people ignoring the entire message contents based on the insinuation that one mention of the Lord would make the you extreme right wing.

    As far as the replies your comment received…

    Nevada foodie fails to understand that bringing MO into the program instantly made this political.

    Steve Doesn't get it that the other 2/3 was a 200+ year accumulation.

    Joe has absolutely nothing valuable to say.

    David also has nothing of value to say and has proven to the world that his job is to vote for the options that will ensure that he can continue to live for free.

    Aaron doesn't appear to understand that the welfare state has been abused and exploited and that Government actually does have a place but that place is not to create a government dependency for life's necessities such as food and shelter. Don't be lazy, provide for yourself and your family. Also, as true as it may be that countries aren't supposed to run at a profit, it is also very true that countries are supposed to run efficiently and without waste or debt. Creating government jobs in a financially crippled government is irresponsible and causing more debt all in the attempt to create the illusion of lower unemployment.

    Truth…. oh Truth. You ignored all information to make lame and unrelated comments and insults. Very mature.

    Christy W, When you claim your children when paying taxes it is to make adjustments to pay the proper amount or your fair share. If you are like some of us that work you would know that when you work you pay tax and the tax you pay is an estimate of what you owe. So when you adjust your taxes in April it is to determine if you have overpaid or if you owe more. For the people with jobs that have children that claim their children it is done for fairness. Claiming children does not exclude you from paying tax and if you get a refund in April it is because you overpaid. Thats what the word refund means in this situation. I have no children that are considered dependents yet I still get a refund in April but it is not because I get free money from the Government, it is because I paid more than my fair share of tax. The refund in my case is giving me a little of my own money back for my overpayment. I hope I redundantly explained this to you Christy W. I will also help you with your math on the phone issue. Basic home phone service as listed on the AT&T site is less than $20 per month and after taxes it is reasonable to guess the monthly bill would be $25 or less. Now lets assume you have a child with the non-contract phone you mentioned for $25 and assume that the mother and father of the child also have the same phone with same plan. By mathematically combining these figures it would show $75 per month. So mathematically we can see that $75 > $25. In the real world we use mathematics to determine budgets. Seems you are using mathemagics and fairy dust…. maybe some unicorn milk? Ohhh I get it, thats the Hope and Change…. you change the figures and hope that nobody checks your math!

  6. Russ Crossley says:

    I'm Canadian and I watch the division of America into have nots and haves and wonder how such a rich nation is becoming a house divided. If this keeps up I can foresee serious social unrest in the future that will make the sixties civil riots look like a dust up.

    I'm shocked by some of the sentiments expressed here about not wanting to help poor children at the community level. America is a strange society that from here looks more alien than any alien planet I've ever seen in the movies. If I wrote a story about such a place no one would ever believe it.

  7. Guest says:

    As an American, I am appalled that there are so many people who have turned this episode into a political issue. Regardless of which party Mrs. Obama represents, what person his right mind would think that her efforts were politically motivated? I am so sick of hearing people condemn the efforts of those who are trying to make our country a better, more healthy society. Yes, parents should be responsible for thier children's welfare, but they have to be taught HOW to do that before it can happen. If everyone had parents like mine, this would be a non-issue. Unfortunately, that isn't the case. Many parents don't have the resources or the knowledge to take care of their children on their own. It doesn't matter WHY that is true, but it is the reality. We can't continue to cry over spilled milk. We have to do everything that we can to educate our society so that all of us succeed. As the saying goes, "It takes a village to raise a child" and we, as a nation, need to stop being so selfish and get in there and do something instead of criticizing others' efforts.

  8. Sammy says:

    What I find truly sad is the fact that people who bring up good points about the motivation of MO are looked down upon. To answer the question from the poster who asked if Nancy Reagan was politically motivated when she did her just say no spot on Different Strokes, YES SHE WAS INDEED. Her husband, one of the greatest presidents ever, and the last truly good president we had in my life time, had started the federally funded "War on Drugs" so OF COURSE what she was doing was politically motivated. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that. Michelle Obama, was motivated as well, some what politically, but also financially. Was it helpful that "Horton's Kids" got the publicity, it sure was. But let's not try and make MO out to be some kind of saint for doing this.

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  10. Hiren says:

    Wow! Just reading some of these comments on here, is making me so angry and frustrated. how in the world can you-the people who do-think that this episode had any damn thing to do with politics or promoting the show's or the chef's rating or even promoting the Obama's campaign for the re-elections. Get your life and your damn thinking together, because you guys posting such comments on here and displaying such stupidity and ignorance, just tells me one thing about you, you are just frustrated with your own life or that you just don't have a life period. This episode, leave alone the episode, this show is about helping other people succeed, get a grip on their life and get back up again.
    You know what, go kill yourself after posting such a comment, better yet kill yourself before you start taping the keyboard, it will save you all a great deal of trouble and save me the trouble of reading such horrendous silly bickering, which just goes to prove that all you people are just immature, i bet the kids at this place or kids all over, are more mature then the people who are posting negative comments on here, if you want to talk about politics, go comments on CNN or FOX, where it would be of some relevance, please just leave this blog alone with that silly charade of yours.
    Anyways, kudos to everyone who helped these kids, thank you RI, FN, and the First Lady for making a difference, no matter how small it might be.

    Sincerely:
    Ray, Hiren

    • Just me says:

      You say that others have made this a political issue? How about your horrid comments telling people they should kill themselves!?!? You are worse than them! The Obama's are the most hated people that have ever resided in the White House and, like you, we all have a right to our opinions. So learn to move on and read comments that you enjoy rather than bashing others.

      • CarolAnn says:

        Just Me: "The Obama's are the most hated people that have ever resided in the White House" is both a complete lie and totally ridiculous. Plenty of Presidents have been totally hated; it's nothing new. My grandmother hated the Roosevelts with a purple passion, as did many people. My father couldn't have a conversation that didn't bash Reagan. So what. Apparently not everyone hates the Obama's since they got elected twice. You LOST!! Get over it. It's not the end of the world—grow up! The truth is you a racist pig!

        If the show had been about a bunch of poor little WHITE kids you would have been all over it.

        And I bet you call yourself a Christian. If you, do then you're a hypocrite, too.

    • MiMi says:

      Thank you!!!!

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