Back when we were brainstorming stories for this issue, the original idea seemed simple enough: Ask chefs, the editor said, how they deal with feeding their kids. You know—chefs
must have secrets, know how to make magic meals children won’t scorn or shufﬂe off to the dogs, be able to inspire their offspring to become even better professional chefs than their parents. Well. Hmm. “No,” a chef said to me. “You’re not going to print this!” It would, he said, be a huge embarrassment as his kids were the worst of the pickiest eaters and there was nothing he could do, he believed, other than wait them out till they had kids of their own and ﬁnally could come together over the table.
Other chefs offered similar responses. “My kids eat nuggets. Pizza—bad strip-mall pizza,” an industry veteran said. “One likes strawberries. Or liked strawberries. This season, she wouldn’t touch them. Pasta, sometimes. But they hate my food” (which otherwise is celebrated by the food cognoscente). There was a top-tier chef who conﬁded that he basically cooks one food his children will eat: fried chicken. “That’s it,” he added. “You going to tell people this and put me out of business? My own kids won’t eat my food?” And there was a chef who said, “People beg me to cook for their weddings or birthdays. My own kid wants me to take him to Chuck E. Cheese on his birthday.”
Plan B. Which started out fabulously. I explained this issue’s Teachable Moment theme and asked a few culinary pros to tell me who taught, inspired and otherwise helped them chart their courses to a food career. After a few replies on the order of “Wow…great idea! I had great teachers at culinary school/a deity of a chef at my ﬁrst stage/read a cookbook I loved,” enthusiasm waned, especially after I said I was going to reach out to the mentor-teachers to let them know how they inspired a career and ask for their comments.
OK. Got it.