Pawtucket youth is best cook, gets White House invite

Pawtucket youth is best cook, gets White House invite

PAWTUCKET - Kinnan Dowie, a 12-year-old homeschooled student from Pawtucket, is the Rhode Island state champion for the national Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and will be recognized at a White House ceremony later this month.

First Lady Michelle Obama, Epicurious, the Department of Education, and the Department of Agriculture announced the winners of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, a nationwide recipe challenge to promote healthy eating among America's youth.

Dowie won with his original recipe of "Mediterranean Kebab Wraps with Cilantro Tabbouleh." His final recipe was a result of several weeks of trial and error, said his mom, Sharon, and dad, Shane Dowie. Luckily, he sent the recipe to the White House, because he lost the paper that he wrote it down on, they said.

Dowie, who swims for the North Providence Barracuda Swim Team, learned how to cook food from his mother and grandmother. He said that some of his favorite items to cook include Italian, Mexican, Middle Eastern and Australian dishes.

Dowie will be honored by the city at an event on Thursday, July 10, at City Hall. Mayor Donald Grebien will present a mayoral citation and a key to the city to the budding chef.

Dowie's winning recipe was among 54 representing all U.S. states, three territories and the District of Columbia that will be honored at a luncheon hosted by Michelle Obama on July 18. The meal will feature a selection of the winning recipes and be followed by a visit to the White House kitchen garden. There is a chance, said Sharon Dowie, that her son's dish will be selected for the luncheon.

The whirlwind of activity will include a trip to the Smithsonian and an autograph session at a children's hospital.

Dowie said there are many misconceptions about homeschooled students, particularly the one that they don't have anything to do. Being educated at home has allowed him to pursue interests like cooking from a young age, he said.

Some of Dowie's cooking heroes include Julia Child, Lydia from Lydia's Kitchen, Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, and Emeril Lagasse. He loves competition shows like Master Chef.

Dowie will receive two round-trip tickets and one night of accommodation as part of his prize. A fundraising effort is underway to support him with other costs of making such a trip, such as clothes appropriate for lunch at the White House, transportation, meals and more. Funds are also being raised in an effort for his mother and two others to drive down to Washington, D.C., to support Dowie. For more information on Dowie's big win, visit www.KinnanCanCook.com .