President Barack Obama talks with Makenna Hurd of Mascot, Tenn., right, and Noah Koch, of Waterville, Maine, right, at the second annual White House Kids' "State Dinner" Tuesday, July 9, 2013, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. First lady Michelle Obama welcomed 54 children to the White House for creating winning recipes as part of a healthy lunch contest. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Michelle Obama says 54 kids who earned a trip to the White House by winning a nationwide recipe contest are showing how talented, creative and brilliant young people can be.

It’s the second year the first lady has hosted the kids’ “state dinner.”

The contest for 8- to 12-year-olds is sponsored by the Epicurious food website and the departments of Agriculture and Education. It drew a batch of more than 1,300 entries that were whittled to 54 winners — one from each of the 50 states, three territories and the District of Columbia.

Mrs. Obama singled out a few of the champion culinary creations during Tuesday’s meal, including Confetti Peanut Ginger Party Pasta from Missouri, Pan-seared Mississippi Catfish on a Bed of River Rice and Slam Dunk Veggie Burger from Texas.

President Barack Obama also made an unannounced appearance at the dinner in the White House East Room. He told the junior chefs they are showing that food can be both healthy and fun.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.