The Big House

January 19, 2010
By Sophie Connelly BRONZE, Fairfield, Connecticut
Sophie Connelly BRONZE, Fairfield, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

“Hey Soph, it’s Dad, I need your social security number so give me a call when you get this message.” All my life I feel like my Dad has never needed or asked me for my social security number. So this means something must be wrong or I’m in for a good trip.
Three weeks later. . .
“Soph, it’s time.” My Dad whispers in my ear. I prop myself up and grab that fabulous different- shades- of- blue dress from the clothing store in Westport; The Winged Monkey. I slump to the bathroom and say to myself, “Today, I’m going to the White House.” In no time I’m ready to walk out the door with my Dad and my stepmom Stephanie, whom both were dressed appropriately for the occasion. “Are you excited?” Stephanie strained. Actually, I wish I was in bed, “Absolutely!” I replied.
We all stood silent in the elevator. Either too speechless to talk or exhausted since it was 6:00 in the morning. We strolled out of the lobby and into the dark city of New York. We gracefully hopped in the car we ordered and scooted for the private jet airport where we had company waiting for us.
All it took was the orange crocs to realize I was standing in front of Mario Batali, another Food Network star. We gave hugs and kisses and chatted about what our day would be like. Here I was, a 13 year old thinking she’s top gun because she’s going to the White House. Then, Emeril Lagasse walked in. Once again, we had hugs, kisses, a few laughs but we finally got ourselves together and headed out to the private jet that the Food Network arranged for us.
We boarded the jet, that I found rather comfortable, and everyone dozed off. Except me. I just sort of slouched there, gazing out the window and suddenly questions flooded my mind, “Will I meet the First Lady? What do I say if I do? Will the children be there? Will dog be there? What if I do something embarrassing? What is Emeril wearing? Is Stephanie’s dress pink leather? OMG!”
When I FINALLY came back to reality, I realized that I was gazing out the window at Washington, D.C.
We were accompanied by two drivers when we got off the jet: One for us and one for Mario and Emeril.
It seemed like we were in the city in no time since there was so much to look at! But our first stop wasn’t the White House, it was a hotel called the Hays Adams. It was gorgeous and looked very antiqued! But we did not hold back, we got the key to our room and headed up in the elevator. When we arrived in our room, we found the door already open and 5 people inside. One for make up, one for clothes, two for mic set ups and Chef Cris Cummerford, my Dad’s partner for today’s battle. Speaking of Battle, the reason why I was even there was because my Dad was doing an Iron Chef Battle (a show on the Food Network) at the White House and the secret ingredient was the White House garden. Chefs Batali and Lagasse vs. Chefs Cummerford and Flay. Chef Cummerford is the White House main chef and she insisted we go to the White House kitchen right away, so we were off. We just scooted over since the hotel was across the street and as we were walking, we met up with Alton Brown, another Food Network star, just before we got to the gates. It was like a huge Food Network reunion! Great. Once we got past security and we found ourselves in the White House kitchen and surrounded by the kitchen staff. These were possibly some the most pleasant people I’ve ever met.
They greeted us with scrumptious cookies and coffee. The head pastry chef Bill showed us the two other kitchens; the pastry kitchen and the chocolate kitchen and then gave Stephanie and I a private tour of the White House! We saw the Red, Green and Blue rooms, we saw the Grand Dinning Room, we saw the China Room, we saw the Press Room, we saw the Bowling Alley, we saw the First Lady’s Hallway and we saw the Presidents Hallway. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, we walked back in the main kitchen to find Bo, the Obama’s dog! Bo was the finest fluffiest dog I’ve ever met! We all got to play with him for a while until the trainer said it was time for Bo to have a walk. We finally got the pace moving and headed out the First Lady’s garden and also the secret ingredient for this battle. The garden was breath taking. It made you feel like you were entering the Secret Garden with the mist that was being giving off by the plants prickling the tips of the hair on my arm. I could hear the faint whisper of the White House employee’s chatting about the battle. They sounded like little school girls gossiping on the play-ground. As I walked through the garden on the rickety cobble stone steps, there were so many varieties of lettuce and cabbage filling up the soil. I caught the eye of my dad watching me frolic like a new born pony; taking curious but wobbly steps through the short paths of the garden. I started to feel the closure of the TV equipment fade in on me. I felt trapped in the moment of the quiet morning in the beautiful garden, waiting for someone to call me or remove me, and maybe someone did call me but I didn’t notice or seem to care. I was in the First Lady’s garden with time not to be wasted. But I got surprisingly interrupted in no time though by Mario. “Hey Sophie, try this, it’s delicious!” he said. He held a freshly picked pepper in front of my face. I didn’t want to act like I didn’t know what to do with the pepper so I took it from his palm and stuck it in my mouth. He was right. It was delicious.
We started to film certain parts of the show where they were picking what the wanted to use as their ingredients for the meal. This was absolutely the longest part of the day; it just kept going on and on! Where was The First Lady? In the corner of my eye, I spotted a bee hive and I thought to myself, “A bee hive? Really? Well, that must be some pretty fresh honey.”
We then backed up to the beginning of the show which took place in the back of the White House. Just as I was about to fall asleep, Bill came rushing up to me and panted, “A gift from us to you.” He held out a jar of honey all perfectly packed and wrapped. I was an owner of White House honey.
All of a sudden, a crew of people scurried out the back door and there she was; the First Lady, Michelle Obama. I was speechless, she was absolutely beautiful. She walked with confidence and grace, how all women should walk. I must admit, she was wearing a brightly colored, very cheerful outfit! She wore a bright orange dress with a teal cardigan and shiny teal heels, she was workin’ it! She speaks very wise of her garden and it didn’t take her long to come up with the answers for the questions the chefs were throwing at her about her garden, such as, “if there was one ingredient that we could not pass up, what would it be?” she simply replied, “ sweet potatoes, you must not pass up the sweet potatoes”.
After shooting, Dad gave me a signal to come over by him, so I did as I was signaled because I wanted in on this. As my Dad was in full talking mode with Mrs. Obama, he politely introduced me and he said, “Mrs. Obama, this is my daughter Sophie.” I shook her hand and she replied, “Oh Sophie, you’re beautiful, how old are you?” I said, “Oh thank you so much! I’m thirteen.” She turned to my dad and said, “Here come the rough years!” everyone laughed and she said, “Well, Sophie it was very nice meeting you.” And I said back, “It was a pleasure meeting you, thank you so much.” Then she took a couple of pictures and vanished into the White House.

That was a day that will stick with me my whole life from day forward. People say that I’m lucky because my Dad has fame but he only has it because he worked for it. It didn’t just appear one day. And personally, I don’t think he gets enough credit for all those sweat and tear moments that made him Bobby Flay. It wasn’t easy, my Dad didn’t go to college and him and his father didn’t even have close to the relationship they have today. But he stopped goofing off and day by day he is creating a stronger career for himself. Being able to have that experience shows me how hard my Dad works. If he wasn’t the person he is today, none of this would have happened. I hate to say it but parents work harder than we think and we don’t give them enough credit. Look at Mr. Obama, the President of the USA.
My Dad and Cris won!!!

The author's comments:
My piece is about an oportunity i was able to have that not many teens, let alone people in general were able to have. But they best part about it is that it's from a teens point of view.

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.


MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!