While Coq au Vin isn’t a dish typically seen on kids menus, our chefs find a way to develop classic dishes into family-friendly recipes that can be made at home in about 30 minutes. Once the chef hats come off, the focus is on cooking meals that don’t come from the freezer aisle.
For Chef Chris, all it takes to get his daughter involved in the kitchen is making sure she’s interested in what she’s making. “She loves cupcakes, so if we’re making strawberry cupcakes, we’ll make everything from scratch, including strawberry ganache.” While they don’t have to love everything he makes them, he always encourages them to at least give everything that hits their plates a try, and sometimes they surprise him. “My kids actually love clams. I often make Beer-steamed Clams using a can of Dos Equis, some red bell pepper, onion, long neck clams and butter.”
Chef Nigel doesn’t like to make distinctions when it comes to “kid food” and “grown up food”. When it comes to making macaroni and cheese though, the stuff that comes in the blue box is banned from his kitchen. “My daughter loves macaroni and cheese, so it’s something we make often, and totally from scratch, which she loves to help with.” The key, he says, is not to get stuck on one thing, and know that it’s okay for kids to make mistakes or to lose interest while helping in the kitchen. “My daughter may only be five, but already she’s got her own chef’s jacket and hat. She tells me she’s going to work with me at Home Chef someday, and I love that – that’s how I know she’s my kid.”
Check out Chef Nigel’s Chicken Shwarma Bowl
Chef Scott, on the other hand, grew up in a household where Kraft Mac & Cheese was always welcome. His first game-changing food experience was with Rumaki, a 50s-era appetizer made with chicken liver and water chestnuts wrapped in bacon. “I thought it was so exotic as a seven year old, because next most adventurous thing at our table would have been ranch dressing,” he recalled. Since then, Chef Scott’s taste have evolved from from boxed macaroni and cheese to Coq au Vin. While salt and pepper were the only spices on the rack growing up, it made him appreciate simplicity and ingredient forward cooking, which he incorporates into the recipes he develops at Home Chef. As a small way of showing his gratitude, he likes to cook for his dad whenever he visits, including his favorite: over-hard eggs seasoned with salt and pepper. “To this day I still have an affinity for over-hard eggs,” Scott laughs.
Check out Chef Scott’s Lasagna Bianca
Chef Jimmy’s daughter on the other hand, doesn’t have your average kid’s tastes. “It’s funny, because she totally won’t eat things like macaroni and cheese, but she loves to snack on chicken feet.” His dad was the cook in his house growing up, and he hopes to pass down his recipe for Filipino Chicken Adobo to his daughter someday. When it comes to cooking at home though, he often takes the night off and lets his family take the lead. “We actually subscribe to Home Chef, believe it or not. My wife is not an experienced cook, so I try to keep her and my daughter in mind when I’m developing recipes at work.” They’re finding it’s a great activity to do together, and his daughter is learning new things in the kitchen every day.
Check out Chef Jimmy’s Fish Croquettes with Pimentón Cream
Chef Dave’s Mexican roots have always been his main inspiration in the kitchen, and food has always been strongly associated with family. “Growing up, my dad worked long hours in the steel mill. On the weekends though, we always bonded over grilling and eating together. He taught me everything I know about making great burgers and steaks, and I actually bring a lot of those flavors and techniques I learned into the recipes I develop here at Home Chef” When they get together these days, not much has changed. “We still love to grill together, tailgate and go to baseball games. The only difference is I love to cook for him whenever I can now, as a way of saying ‘thanks!’ ”
Check out Chef Dave’s Mexican Street Corn Flatbread
While not every child will be excited to try chicken feet, any time spent in the kitchen with kids is a formative experience. Our chefs use the skills they learned in the kitchen growing up in their recipe development today. It would be safe to say the apple may not fall far from the tree (or pie dish).