While we have collated a schedule to enlist in a programmed way, the Lessons we look forward to sharing with you , those on cooking styles, the organic way, sustainable produce, new In Season ingredients, tools in the kitchen and whether we over invest in them, how to be more proficient in the kitchen etc., wherein our Master Chefs will share their learnings, experiments, culinary philosophies, what inspires them, it seems imperative; as it does pressing to begin with in my opinion the most critical lesson . . . the way our kids are eating today.
Much before I had children of my own and even before I started my career as a professional chef, I recall eating “differently” in my parents’ home. As children we always ate what our parents did. And so just as I did not baby speak with my kids, I don’t baby cook for them.
And so at ITC Hotels, when we identified the urgent need to rework and construct a “today relevant” culinary philosophy for our24x7 Pavilion restaurants: creating Caringly - selected and mindfully - prepared cuisine from Indian and global kitchens: it gripped us with paramount importance that our restaurants should as they have always done, break the stereotype and change the paradigm.
Specifically, the typical kids menu has been replaced to encourage our young adults to eat differently. More importantly while smaller portions of adult food have been included in our menus as kids portions we looked at our menu offering in a way that we put the interest of our children first, in a way reversing the brief, to their advantage.
Introducing new ingredients, albeit subtly though not necessarily “under garb”, new flavours and certainly foods that will tickle their curiosity and both train and inspire their palate.
In my experience – parental and professional, children are immensely receptive to experiment. The combination of being inquisitive and generally unbiased, holds tremendous potential in guiding them towards eating better and more knowingly. The time in now since eating habits are learned ata young age and pretty much determine the way our children and theirs will eat in the future to ensure long term nutritional habits.
Here are a few pointers that help:
1. Kids will eat what the adults around them do. Besides they don’t tolerate or endorse double standards!! We will need to be their role models here too and lead by example.
2. Expose. Expose. Expose: Involve children in the process. Get them to make up a list of Super Foods, grains, vegetables. Walk them through aisles of stores that have a large offering of fresh produce. Allow them to decide, to select, to discover. Lesser coercion to try new ingredients will be required this way.
3. Cook from scratch. Too much in the way of processed foods has begun to occupy our refrigerators and larders. Getting children to knead to whole wheat pizza dough or make up a pasta sauce that does not come out of a jar (from an indescript place) can be extremely fulfilling and exciting. I remember as a child it was not so much in the eating of the cake but in the licking of the bowl in which the batter had be whipped that.
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