Food For Thought: What Our Chefs Cook Their Kids
School is back in session and our chefs are cookin’ up a storm…but this time for the kiddos. We asked chefs Kaze Chan of Sushi-san, Humberto Morales of Wildfire Lincolnshire and Marcelo Han of Ramen-san and Christian Eckmann of Bub City what they feed their little ones to fuel them up for a run around the playground or to help them stay awake during history class.
Said to be the most important meal of the day, our chefs make sure their kids have the right tools to tackle the day ahead, which includes a hearty breakfast. Mornings can be hectic with cranky children who happen to be extra picky in the early hours, but there’s one thing that is for sure: kids love pancakes and eggs!
Chef Christian’s little one is a notoriously picky eater but clears his plate when dad makes his homemade buttermilk-chocolate chip pancakes. Meanwhile, Chef Humberto goes for the gold with a plate that checks all of the morning boxes: homemade pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon and fresh fruit.
Chef Marcelo takes eggs a step further, serving his daughter roasted seaweed with fried egg whites, paired with a fruit smoothie ensuring it’s pink-approved with the addition of a handful of strawberries! For a little fun, grab a paper chef’s hat and have the kids help out by cracking and whisking the eggs.
Midday & Supper
There’s nothing better than getting the family around the table for dinner, that is until a dinner table tantrum is thrown over a plate of spinach.
In a shock to, well, nobody, kids love chicken of all fried and baked varieties. Chef Humberto opts for oven-baked chicken wings marinated in kid-friendly ingredients like orange juice and zest, thyme, rosemary, garlic, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Or skip the fuss like Chef Christian, who takes his son to Ramen-san for the panko fried chicken.
Chef Kaze keeps things interesting with his pint-sized epicureans preparing sushi with them! Need to ease your little one into trying raw fish? Start with the rolls. Tuna and salmon are good starts for familiarity, and once they graduate from that move on to unagi or hamachi. For over-adventurous eaters, Double Dog Dare them to go straight for the sashimi.
For an easy, last minute meal Chef Marcelo makes crack slaw served with rice or greens. What is crack slaw, you ask? A kitchen-sink-esque meal with lean ground beef, cooked cabbage, onions, garlic and a touch of sriracha (for flavor, not spice).
Any time the weather allows grilling, Chef Humberto fires it up to make the girls his Corn Salad with grilled corn, cotija cheese, salt, pepper, lime, olive oil, white onion and jalapenos (seeds removed, of course), served with his Grilled Beef Mexican Ribs marinated in lime juice, salt, pepper and olive oil.
Want to teach the kids to make pizza without your home covered with flour? Head over to the Chef’s Counter at Stella Barra in Chicago from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM Monday through Friday and let them adorn their pizza with their favorite toppings. The chefs will pop it in the oven and the kids will watch their pizza puff up right before their eyes.