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Colin McGurran on Cooking with Kids

by Great British Chefs 29 May 2013

Continuing our look at how the award winning chefs from Great British Chefs cook with their own children and their own favourite childhood food memories. Colin McGurran reveals that he was a fussy eater as a child and what happened to give him a love of food.

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Colin joined Winteringham Fields in 2005 and quickly set about founding a farm on the estate – a farm which now supplies McGurran with hand-reared lamb and fresh eggs.

In 2012 he received media prominence on the popular BBC cooking competition, Great British Menu, where he wowed the judges with his main course ‘quail in the woods’ which made it through to the Olympic banquet.

Colin was born in Zambia and spent the first six years of his life there where his father was an engineer. The family then moved to Abu Dhabi where he stayed until he was 20. Colin’s initial food pickiness wasn’t helped by the way his father got him to eat food:

“I’d sit there for hours while my dad made me eat everything on my plate so by the end it was over-cooked and stone cold. That’s no way to get kids interested in food.”

However, Colin’s grandmother finally got him into cooking.

“She got me making Yorkshire Puddings and pies. I really enjoyed sitting down to eat it and we’d discuss how we could have done it better or what we liked about it. I’ve always been creative with my hands and so I really enjoyed that side of it.”

Colin is now a father of three girls aged nine, seven and five and clearly loves cooking with them and helping them to extend their palates.

“As long as children are supervised I can’t see any problem with them getting stuck in, how else are they going to learn? Obesity is a big problem and one of the reasons is people just don’t know how to cook any more. If we can get children cooking good healthy food which is fun it has got to help.”

From his own childhood experiences, Colin believes that parents have a big part to play in children’s love of food:

“I think kids like all kinds of food but it’s all about what the parents like as well. If my wife pulls a face at an ingredient, the chances are of my girls doing so too is very high. If parents are very positive about ingredients and adventurous about food, the chances are their children will be too”.

“The main thing is not to give them any preconceptions. Don’t let them see that you don’t like something. If it is something new and they aren’t too keen I ask them to try to find one thing they like about it. After they’ve said one thing I can usually coax a few more positives things they like about the food. The main thing is to have fun.”

Involvement and being adventurous while shopping, is also key. He said:

“I love cooking with my girls. We go shopping together and I get them to choose something they have never tasted before, we cook it together and then they eat it. Sometimes they love it, other times they don’t. But it doesn’t matter so long as they are trying new things.”

 
 
 

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