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Andy Waters starfish cakes

How chef Andy Waters gets kids cooking

by Great British Chefs 29 March 2013

As part of our Cooking with Kids campaign, we thought it would be fun to share with you the foods that influenced our chefs when they were growing up and what they now enjoy cooking with their own children.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

As part of our Cooking with Kids campaign, we thought it would be fun to share with you the foods that influenced our chefs when they were growing up and what they now enjoy cooking with their own children.

Looking at the work of top chefs, we can be tempted to think they’ve been cooking since they could toddle into the kitchen! Obviously this isn’t the case and it was fascinating to discover that food hasn’t always been a dream for our chefs. Andy Waters had a working class background and never imagined he’d be running an award winning restaurants.

Andy is head chef of The Queens at Belbroughton a 16th century pub in Worcestershire. Andy was recently awarded the prestigious Robert J Smith Award by the British Culinary Federation, for professionalism and dedication to the hospitality industry.

However, Andy grew up on a council estate and comes from a large family of six. He remembers how his mum, a confectioner, created beautifully scented vases of flowers from sugar.

Fortunately, being in a house that was often full of sugary delights, didn’t give Andy a great sweet tooth. “I never really took much notice of my mum’s cakes and to be honest becoming a chef when you grew up wasn’t inspiring back then. When I give talks at school assemblies now, everything has changed and children have a much greater interest in foods from around the world. I love their curiosity too and how they get excited when I show them that pancakes don’t just have to have sweet fillings”.

As a child Andy looked forward to family dishes like fish soups and Chicken Kiev. His family’s kitchen shelves contained some classic cook books by great chefs like Robert Carrier. “I remember my mum making some delicious stews and casseroles with rough cuts of meat.”

Andy now has a 6 year old son and 10 year old daughter who spend time in his busy restaurant kitchen watching him cook. “They love growing herbs and they both go to an eco-school where they learn about foraging and often explore the countryside for ingredients”.

When asked about how to get fussy children to eat he said: “The secret is to make your dishes look appealing and not spend too much time explaining to very young children what’s in each dish, as they may pick out what they don’t like.”

Serving soup in small cups can also help to make it more appealing to kids. Let the kids choose their favourite cups to serve the soup in, the more colourful the better! Keeping things colourful with ingredients is essential too, as you can see the bright carrots and spring onions in his Thai Chicken Soup which highlight this dish.

Andy’s final tip on tempting fussy eaters: "If they are part of making the dish, even if that’s just stirring or weighing ingredients, they’re much more likely eat all sorts of food. Vegetable lasagne is an easy way to introduce healthy green vegetables like kale into children’s diets".

 
 
 

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How chef Andy Waters gets kids cooking

 
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