Keep it simple, says Theo

Theo’s Simple Italian at Hotel Indigo, London Kensington recently launched its first children’s menu by acclaimed chef director Theo Randall.

Specially designed so families can enjoy authentic Italian cooking together, the three-course menu aims to make children feel ‘grown up’ when dining alongside their parents and is inspired by the growing demand for restaurants to offer children high quality, wholesome food. We caught up with Theo to find out more…

Why do you feel so passionately that children should be able to dine in restaurants alongside their parents/other adults? When I was growing up my parents would always take us to restaurants, I loved the experience and it is a great way for children and their parents to spend quality time. It taught me to treat the occasion as being special so my sisters and I were always very well behaved.

What inspired the kids menu at Theo’s Simple Italian? When creating the menu I wanted to give the children an experience that used the same ingredients we used on the a la carte menu. Children have very sensitive palates so when cooking for them it is important to stick to primary flavours so not to complicate their idea of what they are eating.

How important do you think the social aspect of eating out is to kids? From my upbringing it gives the children an important understanding of food being part of a social experience.

Did you find a demand for child-specific menus before creating your own or is this to try and encourage the demand? I just think that children should enjoy good food from an early age as this will make them less fussy with food in later life and appreciate good produce.

Which dish on the menu are you most excited about? I love the Sea Bream with courgette fritti because I think children should try fish from an early age and fresh fish will give them an experience that will make them more adventurous and less likely to dislike fish when they are older, also the combination of the juicy Sea Bream fillet with crispy courgettes is delicious.

Do you think schools are doing enough to instill healthy eating into kids? Having spent time cooking for children in schools I think the schools are trying much harder to cook good food but unfortunately the children have been exposed to lots of fast food that is not necessarily good for them and may contain large amounts of saturated fats, so they have grown to like a certain taste. A school meal is so important as it might be the most nutritious meal of the day. I think having something like raw vegetables like peeled carrots, cucumber and crispy lettuce quarters dipped in something like hummus is a great way for kids to start a meal. Carbohydrates are always seen as being fattening but are really important to a healthy diet especially for growing children, so a simple plate of pasta with fresh tomato sauce is a delicious and healthy meal.

Click here to read the rest of the June 2017 issue of Stir it up

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