How Iron Chef Jose Garces Got His Kids to Eat Their Veggies
Iron Chef Jose Garces shares his culinary approach to parenting. It turns out even a celebrity chef sometimes falters by letting his kids eat junk food.
Jose Garces is an Ecuadorian American chef, restauranteur, and Iron Chef. He is a 2009 winner of the James Beard Foundation’s prestigious “Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic” award. Garces was born in Chicago to Ecuadorian parents and he is the Founder and Head Chef of Garces Group.
Jose Garces: You know as a parent – so I have an 11 year old and a 7 year old and I’ve gone through the whole process up until now. I think I have like I would say like a ten year market study of my kids’ eating habits and how they were formed and hopefully like where I can take them to. When they were young and I’m going to go back all the way to like from bottle feeding. They went from breast milk to formula and then onto solid foods. And that was a key point where we could still control what they were having, what their intake was. And knowing this as a chef I would make fresh purees in the restaurants and then cryovac them. So I would make sweet potato puree, malanga puree, spinach and carrot. These days you can vacuum seal just about anything. You can buy a vacuum seal at Target and make your purees, put them in the freezer, pull them out and then, you know, you’re giving – you can really at that point still control their internal environment.
I think where we made a mistake – and I’ll say this is that we started to – as they got older we started introducing them to whether it was pastas or French fries and that sort of kind of like, you know, the busy parent ends up feeling like oh, I just want to like feed them and move on. And it’s foods that they like and I just think that that’s a mistake that we made and now ever since then we’re still trying to make up the ground on how do we get kids away from these unhealthy foods that they naturally gravitate towards.
I think that there’s a textural issue with kids that really is hard to overcome. So I’ve kind of overcome that by doing a lot of, putting a lot of things in the blender and getting that first initial eating experience as a soup. So it’s a warm soup but that has all the good nutritional ingredients and elements into it so that they can have something healthy. And then at that point it’s still a battle, it’s still tough.
Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler, Elizabeth Rodd, and Dillon Fitton
Iron Chef Jose Garces shares his culinary approach to parenting.
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