Whether there's a real baby boom or whether it just feels like one, so many chefs have recently become new parents that it definitely suggests a trend. Almost 20 percent of the FOOD & WINE Best New Chefs of the past five years had their first child this year. Katy Sparks, chef at Manhattan's Quilty's, marvels at how her formerly "baby-free" apartment building is now the home of four newborns, including her son, Luke. And Charles Dale, chef and owner of Aspen's Renaissance Restaurant, reports that his daughter, Liliana, is one of six new babies on his block.
Like anyone juggling the demands of parenthood, chefs with newborns have to devise strategies for creating speedy meals. "I used to be an impulse shopper," Dale says. "But now cooking at home is defined by what I can do in 15 minutes. I've even started to make grocery lists." Trey Foshee, chef and partner at George's at the Cove in La Jolla, California, whose daughter, Amanda, was born in March, says, "I like to make simple things that can sit for a while, because you never know when the baby will call." Sparks cooks large batches and stores them so she doesn't have to prepare meals every day. She is also a big fan of one-pot wonders, like her jambalaya: "Just put the lid on and go tend to the baby."