KIDS IN THE KITCHEN
WITH more than 20 years in restaurants around the world – including the first Fifteen Restaurant in Australia which taught underprivileged youth to be chefs – numerous TV appearances, and four bestselling cookbooks, celebrity chef Tobie Puttock is passionate about teaching young people the benefits of getting in the kitchen.
Q. How important is good food and nutrition for young kids?
Society surrounds us with glossy packets and attractive advertising campaigns drawing us in to eat unhealthy products. Now more than ever is the time to get your kids in the kitchen and get them cooking.
I always find that when my daughter is involved with the cooking she takes an interest and at the same time I’m giving her a skill every person should have.
Q. Do you think food and nutrition should be a stronger focus in children’s education?
Hell yes! Learning about nutrition and learning to cook basic food should be compulsory!
We have become a society of convenience, but obesity and diabetes definitely isn’t convenient.
These illnesses can be prevented. It was compulsory to learn Latin at the school I went to, yet I wasn’t taught to steam vegetables or boil an egg.
Education is everything, and with some early education kids are given the knowledge to understand the outcomes of what they are being fed at home.
There are a so many programs out there educating kids about food, but for me it needs to be compulsory in schools.
Q. Do you think schools need stronger Vocational Training programs around food and nutrition?
100 per cent. School should be as much about teaching kids life skills as gearing them to make money.
In my mind the system is all back to front. The system seems to concentrate on creating money makers and doesn’t nurture our most basic needs.
Q. Do you think we need to educate parents on healthier food choices?
We can do all the educating we want but if the parents aren’t on board the example is not being set.
The majority of the time when I see overweight parents the kids are also overweight; although genetics will play a part, diet can also drastically help reduce obesity.
Q. What advice would you give to determine the best foods to sell at the canteen?
I think it is wise the school consult a nutritionist; there will often be a parent who is a nutritionist who would be more than willing to donate their time to help shape a schools offering to better the eating habits of the students.
Q. Do you think school gardens could engage more students to learn about sustainability and where their food comes from?
We’ve all seen Jamie Oliver’s shows where some kids aren’t sure what a carrot looks like.
I think giving the kids ownership of what they are eating is everything.
Being a parent I totally get that feeding kids their daily veg portions is not easy, but there are ways of getting kids involved with cooking and making recipes that are fun to make and healthy.
Celebrity Chef Tobie Puttock.