Chef Challenges

How do the culinary experts get their kids to eat? We asked for some strategies.



Roberto Gonzalez

You’d think with all their culinary savvy, chefs with kids might avoid the pitfalls of picky palates, but the truth is cooking for kids is tough, even when you have decades of kitchen experience under your belt. We asked some local chefs to dish on their strategies for serving up healthy food that can win over even the trickiest taste buds.   

“Never force,” says Brandon McGlamery (above, with family), chef/owner of Luma on Park and Prato. “It doesn’t create a good relationship with food.” With the help of his wife, Liz, who admittedly does most of the home cooking, Ryder (4) and Ashby (3) are slowly served a culinary education. “Ryder is extraordinary picky. If he could eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches his whole life, he would,” says Liz. “So we try to make the healthiest choices within the perimeters of what he’s willing to eat while trying to expose him to new things. You just keep trying.” 

“Get them to try one bite,” says Chris Brown, executive chef at JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes. “My 5-year-old daughter has tried foie gras, smoked salmon and caviar.” Not to say that she or her 3-year-old brother became instant aficionados, but Brown emphasizes constantly introducing new flavors. “Katie, my wife, and I make it fun and interesting by making our own food from scratch, such as jams, and sneaking in flavors, such as key lime. That way they’re trying new flavors without ever knowing it.” 

“Keep it simple and get the kids involved,” advises Rusty Spoon chef/owner Kathleen Blake, whose four kids are now 16 and older. All four have visited growers with her and plucked veggies from the Primo restaurant garden back when Blake was a chef there. “I’d also get them peeling, mixing or measuring and had them make their school lunches with me.”

She’s a fan of simple cooking. “I never cooked big, extravagant meals when the kids were little. A staple was roast chicken, and I’d turn the extra parts into something else for later in the week. People get overwhelmed trying to do something elaborate. Keep it simple and focus on food as a way to bring the family together.”

“Never stop trying,” says Greg Richie, executive chef/partner at Soco in Thornton Park. “My 4-year-old son is my toughest customer.  He is very strong willed and we’ve had our share of stand-offs. For a while he won the battle but we came back a month or two later when he was more amiable. You can’t give up. You have to have some will power.”

Richie recommends starting with a food your child already likes, such as pizza or cereal, and then suggests introducing new ingredients, via toppings, to constantly add new flavors. “We build upon what he already eats and expand his palate slowly.” 

Edit Module
Want to read the whole issue? Download and read this issue and others on Magzter.

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags

Guides & Resources

Premier Realtors 2017

Let Orlando's best realtors help you find your dream home!

Orlando's Best Lawyers 2017

Our annual list includes hundreds of Orlando-area attorneys in dozens of areas of practice.

Orlando's Top Dentists of 2017

Our annual list featuring 224 of the area's finest dental professionals.

Guide to Private Schools 2017

Our searchable annual database will help you chart an educational course for your family.

2016 Premier Doctors

Our annual list of over 500 doctors.

Best Doctors 2016

The Annual List of the Best Doctors in Orlando.

Top Doctors 2016

The Annual List of the Top Doctors in Orlando.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

MoreRecent Blog Posts

Weekend Happenings Aug 18 to 20

Know what's happening in and around Orlando for the weekend.

How to Combat Soggy Soil

With the Florida summer rains, our gardens can become swampy–use these tips to improve drainage.

Health Hub: Send Your Kids Back to School Healthy

A back-to-school physical should be on your checklist.

Weekend Happenings August 11 to 13

Know what's happening in and around Orlando for the weekend.

Ditch the Ditch

Your guide to creating a realistic dry creek bed.
Edit Module