On television, they make it seem so easy, but when the stars of the Food Network head home, they have their youngest – and most ruthless – food critics to deal with. Here’s how the stars of television’s tastiest station keep their little ones happy and healthy.
A former chef at the internationally heralded Parisian restaurant Guy Savoy, Alex Guarnaschelli, host of Alex’s Day Off, now spends her days fielding culinary requests from her two-year-old daughter, Ava. To encourage kids to err on the healthy side, Guarnaschelli recommends slipping a few healthy sweets in with her strawberry salad. “I feel like this salad rides the perfect line between first course (arugula salad) and dessert (strawberries),” she says. “Your kids will love the combination.”
One of the finalists on The Next Food Network Star, 41-year-old Mesa keeps his kids healthy thanks to his background as both a chef and a personal fitness trainer. Specializing in Latin dishes with a nutritional twist, the father of two makes shopping for ingredients and cooking a family project. Mesa’s special flan gets rave reviews from his youngest taste testers. “We think it’s delicious,” Herb says, “or as we say in my house, ‘herbalicious.'”
According to the gospel of Aaron McCargo Jr., the key to creating fast, family-friendly dishes is keeping it simple. The New Jersey-based father of three and host of Big Daddy’s House, McCargo says that the secret to raising happy eaters is fast assembly and sneaky substitutions. “The Big Daddy Parfait is great for kids because it is a healthy alternative to an ice cream sundae,” he explains. “Kids can even help assemble the parfait, which makes for great family time.”
In the d’Arabian household, cheap is in. A wife and stay-at-home mother to her four preschool-aged daughters, the host of Ten Dollar Dinners is an expert on how to stretch a buck. She’s also a pro at how to tackle picky eaters: To coax young foodies to expand their palates, d’Arabian recommends parents slip new flavors into old favorites. “At first glance, people usually think ‘What? North-African Meatballs for kids?,’ but this recipe takes the familiar shape of meatballs that kids love and allows you the flexibility to try out new flavors and spices,” says d’Arabian.
As a single mom with a growing three-year-old, Aria Kagan understands all too well the beauty of quick, simple and fun recipes. The Next Food Network Star finalist says that this short and sweet jam recipe is a hit among younger and older crowds since it can be used as part of a healthy breakfast or dessert. “It’s great on toast, mixed in with yogurt or served warm over ice cream,” says Kagan. “Kids not only have a great time making it, they have an even better time eating it!”
Photos Courtesy of the Food Network
The Next Food Network Star airs Sundays at 9pm EST on the Food Network.
Ten Dollar Dinners airs Sundays at 12:30pm EST on the Food Network.
Big Daddy’s House airs Sundays at 1:30pm EST on the Food Network.