«C’est moi le chef!» allows children to discover seasonal and local products, with their parents and cook tasty meals without food waste, under the watchful eye of a renowned Montreal chef. The second part of our interview with Karine Desserre-Pezé, the initiator of this project.
How is cooking vegetables so well suited to the “C’est moi le chef!” approach?
Children often hate vegetables, and in many cases one of the reasons for this is that the way they are cooked is just not adapted to their palates. “C’est moi le chef!” wants to inspire children and help them discover the many different vegetables that are available.
During the workshops they learn that it takes time to produce them, and that they are produced by a grower who is passionate about what he does. They learn more about a specific vegetable (origin, varieties, shapes, colours…) and discover one or two ways to prepare it. “We let them customise the recipes to their tastes and we also place a strong emphasis on their creativity, so that they create their own version of the recipe. After all these different steps, they know more about the vegetable, which gives them the incentive to taste it. And if it looks and taste good thanks to the tips of a master chef, it’s hard to resist the temptation!”.
Why do chefs play such an important role in this project?
“Chefs are passionate about making people discover and taste local and seasonal products. They are also always looking for ways to share the importance of “eating well” with children, which is a combination of gastronomy, local produce and a balanced diet.”
“Chefs are very much aware of the vital role they can play, by promoting the raw products and countering the trend for ultra-processed products, which currently make up 55% of the diet of children in Quebec.”
What are your 5 top tips for making children love vegetables by cooking them themselves?
- “Take children to the market and the greengrocer’s to show them how many vegetables there are, to draw attention to their shapes, colours,…
- Talk to growers so they can ask questions and understand the origin of products: children are curious and they love to find out what’s behind everything..
- Involve them in the cooking process from a very young age, where possible on a daily basis. A two-year old can already add a pinch of salt or tear up lettuce leaves. Little gestures make all the difference for children!
- Encourage them to taste while cooking (raw, cooked…), to look at the colours and textures and how they change and to be creative when it comes to preparing vegetables.
- As parents, eliminate prejudice, let children discover things for themselves while setting a good example!”
On Sunday 18 February, the workshop with chef Alice Vanasse of the restaurant Le Diplomate put beetroots in the spotlight. A succulent way of adding some colour to your plate! With a confetti salad of yellow beets, a pink dip and pitta bread crisps, crisps and beetroot syrup. Some colourful dishes… and recipes that you can try with your children here!