No 10-year-old eats better than F&W Best New Chef Nate Appleman's son. And that's by design.

By Max Bonem
Updated June 01, 2017

Nate Appleman, former F&W Best New Chef and current VP of fast casual restaurants for OTG, loves cooking for his 10-year-old son. However, one thing that you’ll notice if you follow Appleman’s instagram account, where he documents his home cooking, is how diverse and well-rounded his family meals truly are.

While many people probably assume that a 10-year-old would not be keen on foods like monkfish curry, kimchi pancakes or purple potatoes, Appleman sees things differently. “I don’t believe that kids don’t like certain things just because; there are always circumstances that cause that.” Here’s how Nate Appleman teaches his son to appreciate food.

Nate Appleman
Credit: Courtesy of Nate Appleman

Don't simply cater to your son or daughter's tastes.

“Since my son was born, he’s traveled the world with us and we never catered to him being a kid,” Appleman says. “It gets tougher as he gets older, but since we started so early, we’re in a better place than we could be. I see in general that kids today are way more open to new foods and flavors than in the past."

Celebrate food on a daily basis.

“I think we’re in a world where food has been put on the backburner for the longest time in order of importance,” he says. “I want my son to grow up with the idea of treating food as something special every single night. I really want that to translate to every aspect of my son’s life so I’ve really made an effort to emphasize that.”

Teach your son or daughter how to operate in a kitchen.

“My son definitely sees what goes on in the kitchen,” he explains. “At some point, he’s just going to know it. There are a lot of things that he picks up on in terms of how I behave in the kitchen, including being disciplined and organized. Those things manifest in a way that will lead back to cooking.”

Adapting to your son or daughter's changing interests.

“He just turned 10 and he used to cook with me a lot more when he was younger,” Appleman says. “Now, though, if we’re not talking soccer, he doesn’t want to hear it. If I can figure out how to cook a soccer ball or if I had Messi in the kitchen with me, he’d be all over it.”

Nate Appleman
Credit: Courtesy of Nate Appleman