Like many of you, parenthood was the start of a new food journey for me. I had been a Chef for 21 years. I was trained in Belgium, I had worked in high-end restaurants around the world and prepared food for clientele with discerning and demanding tastes. But as I soon learnt, nothing says (screams?!) “demanding” quite like a hungry toddler at dinner time.
I was fortunate to be at home with my eldest son, Louis, from when he was six months old. The introduction of solids to Louis was a new and exciting challenge for me. Ingredients, such as salt, that a Chef would ordinarily use for taste were now “no-no’s”. I also needed to consider the importance of food safety, nutrition, texture, bite size and portion size. Above all, how would I get my son to eat and enjoy healthy food?
The importance of flavour
It was Louis’ love of my slow-cooked beef stew that got me thinking.
I realised that Louis had developed an appreciation for foods which are umami rich. Umami is the Japanese word for pleasant, savoury taste. It occurs naturally in foods like cheese, tomato, seared meats and chips (which is why most of us love pizza, steak and chips!). The beauty of umami foods, especially when cooking for toddlers, is that they still taste good without salt.
Whilst nutrition had to be the end goal for me (as Dad), my toddler had reinforced for me (as Chef) the importance of flavour. Toddlers must first like the taste of their meal before they can get the nutrition.
The Little Dish Difference
With my Chef and Dad “powers” combined, I knew that I could help all toddlers to eat and enjoy healthy food. It was from here that the idea for Little Dish developed.
Being a Chef, I have cooked a lot of meals and cuisines. I focus on the best way to cook a certain ingredient or dish. Using the best techniques and making the dishes myself ensures that I can stand behind the flavour and quality of each Little Dish.
Being a Dad, I really care. When I cook for Little Dish, I cook as if I am cooking for my own family.
My recipe for Little Dish is simple. It’s restaurant quality food made for your toddler by a Chef and a Dad who cares. And it tastes amazing! (But don’t worry – there’s no pizza or chips!)