Award-winning chef Barny Haughton, the brains behind ethical eatery Bordeaux Quay, shares his tips for getting children cooking
Barny's mission has been to create a world-class restaurant and food business which is committed to sustainable food practices, responsible energy use, zero waste principles and community food education. And where better to start educating the population about good food habits than with our children.
Says Barny: "A large part of our work at the Cookery School is teaching children of all ages how to cook. Whether you're working with a little, local nursery school or a group of teenagers who want to become chefs, there is a recipe, a technique and a new ingredient to inspire every child.
Give them a hand
Children will often try a dish as long as they've had a hand in cooking it. Cooking together at home is a good opportunity to introduce new ingredients and recipes into children's diet.
School is a great place to implement change. Not only are there hundreds of children all in one place, but the regular daily routine means that any change is quickly and firmly established. Cookery clubs and cookery lessons may not be compulsory but they're easy to set up and eagerly received.
Eat the same thing and eat together. Different meals at different times make cooking and eating a chore for everyone involved.
Mix it up
Introduce new ingredients into your fridge and store cupboard. Make sure you have different types of fruit and vegetable for children to choose from. The more choice there is, the more likely they are to find something they like.
Discuss the week's menu with your children to ensure they have some input into what they eat. Let them write it down and decorate it then pin to up on the fridge so everyone can see what's on the menu each day.
Bake cakes, cookies, pancakes, bread and scones, don't buy them. Baking is cheap and the end result is usually very pleasing. You'll find the homemade version more satisfying, healthier and gratefully received.
No mess, no fuss?
Don't worry about mess. Let your children stir, mix, chop and taste. Encourage them to have a go and you'll get there in the end.
Give your children tasks in the kitchen - even if it's something they don't like to eat, they can certainly have a hand in chopping or preparing the dish - even if it's only switching on the oven.
Give them their own cooking kit. Gather together a small, inexpensive knife, a saucepan and wooden spoon and a chopping board with their name painted on and you'll find they're keen to use them.
Start small. Try blending a banana smoothie together or mixing up a salad dressing. It won't take long to move onto bigger, better things.
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