Australian – Page 2 – Dani Valent

Kids in the kitchen. Fairfax, Good Food.

The prevailing narrative about children and food is that they’re eating too much, it’s the wrong food anyway and they’re eating it in front of brain-draining screens. They’re overweight, potentially diabetic and on track to number among the 65 per cent (and rising) of Australian adults who are too hefty to be healthy. But there’s a counterweight tale too, one of children who cook and eat healthy food, building good habits for their own lives and perhaps for their less aware elders. They are influenced by cooking shows on television, educational programs in schools, other family members and, sometimes, necessity.

Jacques Reymond

It’s Friday night in Jacques Reymond’s kitchen and I’ve just saved a junior chef from a bollocking. The Birkenstocked underling has just burned some wafers, and it hasn’t escaped the notice of the eagle-eyed maestro. But nor has my presence – even as I’m backed against the door with notepad and pen – and that’s enough, apparently, to make Reymond dish out a glare rather than the expected yell. “He sees everything,” says my wafer-burning friend. “I would have copped a spray if you weren’t here.”

Pierre Khodja

It’s not unusual for chefs to wax lyrical about meals shared with their children. Most nights they tiptoe to bed hours after the kids are tucked in, so family dinners “ when they happen “ are special. But Pierre Khodja, chef at Hawthorn’s Canvas restaurant, becomes particularly emotional when he talks about enjoying meals with his wife, Debbie, and their daughters Jamila, Anisa and Haniya. He has good reason: five years ago, it looked like the Khodjas may have eaten together for the last time.

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© Dani Valent 2022