Most Chefs do not enjoy cooking for kids. Getting kids to enjoy food that isn’t processed has been tough in the past. Good examples would be Mac & Cheese, I’ve found that a lot of kids enjoy Kraft verses homemade. Then I think of processed chicken fingers. Kids that I’ve served in the past have expected that.
In the last few years I have noticed a shift. More parents have introduced real food to the day to day consumption of food. Kids palates are a fun challenge. It’s almost uncharted territory when serving some of them real food. On the other hand some kids have been eating real food all along. To them it’s just another good meal. Alright back to the kid who has been eating chemically sealed and engineered food. It’s like messing with yourself in some ways. Most of us eat that shit growing up. I sure did. Eating easy to be prepared food was like muscle memory for a while. Know it just tastes like plastic to me. So I’ve got that going for me which is nice.
Basically most kids do not like change. They don’t like to eat food that isn’t familiar. They also don’t like to be forced to eat anything. Trickery towards my pitch to get them to give it a shot is all I’ve got. Sometimes I surprise myself, when I can get a kid to like something most kids would otherwise scream at feels good.
Kids typically have no problem telling you that they don’t like something. I can respect that. Perhaps that’s because they are innocent, tired or even other politically incorrect words.
Spicy & bitter are no no’s. Who would have thought.. Seasonings can work against you in a different variety verses cooking for adults. Figuring that out should a trip seeing how taste buds typically evolve. Overall the little palates can’t handle certain things. So stunt doubling my friends food and their kids food typically isn’t going to fly. But sometimes give it does work. Raw tuna. Not so much.. But offering it is always worth the facial expression.
Luckily I’ve got some kids that don’t have parents flipping the bill. (in case you were wondering). Other than that I play it safe with what I have seen work. Having a substitute snack is a good go to. kids need to eat incase the experiment doesn’t work out. Fresh fruit works. The natural sugars should do the job. A little protein will be a good go to. It’s also a good idea to pitch something that you enjoy eating. Just incase the scream fest in sues.
When I first started thinking about kids more carefully as a Chef I was working in a country club in Colorado. The owner said we were going to give kids carrots and celery sticks with ranch dressing as soon as the table sat down. It worked amazingly. The kids were occupied and the parents could relax. It was healthy. It also didn’t effect the other peoples meals by the kids running around like animals. That’s when I really noticed how important these kids are. You just have to keep them happy or they will ruin it for everyone if you let them. I remembered thinking “why isn’t everyone doing this”.
More recently I’ve been thinking about how food helps & effects kids. When a kid has balance with eating quality ingredients that kid has a head start verses a kid who eats processed food. Yes, it seems like common sense. It would be clutch if more people could look long term as far as a kids future. Eating shit food is going to create a pattern of learning disabilities, bad health and so on. It doesn’t take a doctor or a Chef to see this, but it does take a corrupt society to discredit primitive food to benefit corporations who increase profit margins by making kids and adults sick and dumb. Wow.. I’ll wrap it up. I’ll go back to my truffle oil & raw sugar.