It's not child abuse if they enjoy it, right?
There’s always something special about a home-cooked meal, and today’s home chef isn’t necessarily the mom!
Kids are increasingly taking more interest in cooking and presenting some pretty impressive dishes, and they have a powerful advocate in professional chef, TV host and proud dad Curtis Stone
As co-host and head judge for 'Top Chef Jr', a reality cooking competition featuring 12 talented kids aged 11-13 years, Curtis is a firm believer that cooking is an essential life skill for kids.
Most importantly, with your help and support, your child may prove to be just as talented!
So, if you have a kid (or kids) at home, here are some tips from Curtis Stone himself to help kickstart your kid's cooking career. Who knows, they could be the next Chef Wan:
1. Start them young!
Like everything in life, the sooner you get them to start on something, the more they will learn and grow. Cooking is no different, said Stone.
"Involve them from a young age and make it fun," he told Rojak Daily
One way you could do that is to tailor tasks based on your kids’ age and abilities.
"Even young children from the age of three years can help to measure ingredients, mash potatoes or wash vegetables while older children can be taught to handle peelers and small knives safely under supervision".
2. Encourage experimentation
If your kids are creative, great! But if they're not, don't be too harsh on them. Children need some time to learn about stuff before they can think outside the box.
One way you could help them get their creative juices flowing is by giving them the freedom to experiment.
"Kids often think of things that adults wouldn’t consider," Stone explained, "so allow them to try something new and creative even if you think it might not work. They might surprise you!"
So, if your kid wants to put a blueberry inside of a raspberry and call it a "braspberry
", let them.
3. Keep things simple and healthy
We know it requires a lot of time and effort (and it's also expensive) to make your food from scratch, but Stone said it's important. Encouraging them to make their food from scratch will help them stick to a healthy diet as well.
"Let the kids see that chicken fingers and pizzas don’t have to come in frozen packages.
"When kids see how fresh, wholesome ingredients are transformed into something delicious, they will learn to make better food choices," Stone stressed.
By encouraging them to cook their own meals, they will grow up with a healthier diet.
4. Stock up on ingredients
If you want your kid to grow up to become a well-known artist, buy him lots and lots of crayons and paper. If you want your kid to become an architect, getting him Lego sets would be a good call.
So, if you want him to grow up to become a master chef, give him lots of food to play with, said Stone.
"Make sure your fridge and pantry are full of ingredients that are easy for kids to work with, such as pasta or pizza base that they can customise with their own choice of meats and vegetables," he said.
5. Let them create!
The worse thing you could do, according to Stone, is to limit their imagination and brush off their creation. Even if their food is not delicious, do make sure you're generous with your praise.
"Help them come up with their own recipes or signature dish that they can serve with pride," he added.
You can catch Curtis Stone and the talented young chefs in 'Top Chef Jr' every Tuesdays to Thursdays, 8pm only on Lifetime (Astro Ch 709).