One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is an appreciation of healthy, wholesome foods. Welcoming them into your kitchen is a great way to get them excited for mealtimes, and it might just make them more open to trying new foods and flavors.
Join some of FOOD & WINE’s favorite personalities as they share the kitchen with their children. Get step-by-step instructions for preparing their favorite kid-friendly dishes, and follow their tips for coaxing kids to get cooking.
After all, if meal prep is a family affair, it'll mean less stress for mom and dad—and better nutrition for everyone.
After a childhood spent in cosmopolitan cities around the world—Milan, Paris, Villefranche, Washington, D.C., Rome and Genoa—Marc Murphy realized he didn't have the funds to follow his first passion, becoming a professional racecar driver, so he followed his brother to the Institute of Culinary Education. After graduation, he apprenticed in France and Italy before returning to New York, where he earned critical acclaim in the kitchens of several of the city's most prestigious restaurants, including Le Cirque, Windows on the World and La Fourchette.
In March 2004, Marc opened Landmarc in Tribeca, his first solo enterprise, which won rave reviews. Following its success, he opened Ditch Plains in the West Village in 2006 serving casual, beach-style cuisine. In 2007, Marc opened another Landmarc in the prestigious Time Warner Center. Ditch Plains has also expanded to include outposts in Brooklyn and on the Upper West Side. When he's not in the restaurants' kitchens, Marc can be seen as a judge on The Food Network's Chopped. He also serves as the official spokesperson for Share Our Strength's Dine Out For No Kid Hungry campaign.
Marc lives in Tribeca with his wife, Pamela, and their daughter, Campbell, 8 and son, Callen, 5.
- Favorite Kid-Friendly Recipes
- Family Photo Album
- Q & A
What life lessons about food and eating do you hope to pass on to your children?I want my kids to really understand the joys of food and appreciate all the flavors and ideas that are out there. My wife and I don't talk about "getting fat" or foods that are "fattening." We talk about healthy choices for our hearts, our brains, our muscles. I think the biggest lesson you can teach a kid about food is not to be afraid of anything. Life is much more fun when you take some risks!
Why are so many children drawn to fast food and processed foods?I think it's a little bit of a chicken or the egg question: Are kids drawn to fast foods and processed foods, or are parents too tired to make foods from scratch? I think as a society we tend to take the easy way out, and that means macaroni and cheese from a box rather than buying the pasta and fresh cheeses and making it yourself, which is almost as easy. I grew up in Europe and this stuff didn't exist—my mother made everything. I can tell you that I was never drawn to fast food because I never knew about it!
Are some children just born "picky eaters"? Or do children evolve into picky eaters?Before I had kids I always secretly blamed the parents for kids who refused to eat certain things. I figured if you put food in front of a kid, they would try it and I assumed that if a kid wasn't trying it, it was up to the parents to insist. I was relieved of that theory when my son spent an entire year refusing to eat anything except Frosted Mini-Wheats. And I mean, he would eat NOTHING. He would go to bed hungry if we didn't give them to him for dinner and would wake up the next morning and have four or five bowls for breakfast. It was crazy. So yes, I think some children are just born picky eaters.
How do you get your children to cook with you? How can other parents make food more enticing than video games?My kids have always loved cooking with me and I find that they try more things when they can take some ownership over it. But a good trick to get them into the kitchen is to ask them what they want for dinner and then tell them they can have it if they help make it. All it takes is one or two meals for kids to realize how much fun it is to create something and then get to eat it. Plus, you can't eat a video game when you're hungry.
If your child got to decide what's served for dinner, what would the meal consist of?If it were up to my daughter, we would start with dessert for sure. She has a huge sweet tooth. After that, we would probably have hamburgers, french fries and broccoli. My son would want escargot followed by pancakes. After all those Frosted Mini-Wheats, he branched out and is now our most eclectic eater.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.