Take 11 top chefs, a bevy of enthusiastic youngsters, some tasty ingredients, mix together and you have Cooks & Kids – a new recipe and nutrition book for children and teenagers that will be out this autumn.
Cooks & Kids is the brainchild of the National Fostering Agency (NFA), one of the most experienced and long established fostering agencies in the United Kingdom. The aim of the book is to improve children’s knowledge and understanding of nutrition and healthy eating, while at the same time having plenty of fun. The NFA is also highlighting the crucial need to encourage more people to come forward as foster carers.
Among the leading chefs taking part in the project is Chris Lee of The Bildeston Crown in Suffolk. Chris was one of the chefs who took time out to cook with some of the children: "I was particularly interested in "The Magic Breakfast" project as I think we are not sufficiently aware of the hardship and neglect endured by children in this country. I was happy to be involved and support this excellent project. These children are cooking from the heart. The recipes chosen reflect what they enjoy to eat and this enjoyment comes through in the taste."
Other chefs include Lisa Allen, from BBC Two’s Great British Menu; Tom Kerridge, a regular on the Good Food Channel’s Market Kitchen; and leading Indian cuisine chef Atul Kochhar.
Royalties from the sale of Cooks & Kids will be going to Magic Breakfast, a food charity ensuring children get a nutritious start to the day by providing breakfasts to more than 5,000 children at schools in London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds and Rotherham.
Iain Anderson, CEO for NFA fully supports this initiative and said "The Cooks & Kids project has not only been a fantastic and fun opportunity for our foster and birth children to be involved in, but has developed their own interest in food and nutrition, and engaged them in an activity to help children who are less fortunate than themselves. The book has been achieved on a time and talent basis, and I am both proud and delighted at the support it has received."
Andrew Isaac, Marketing Director of the NFA, said: "Cooks & Kids was born out of a passion for food and a fun way to engage children and young people in all the wonderful tastes and combinations you can find on a plate. We were determined to engage and encourage young people to think about food, what is good for them and more importantly to have a go at actually preparing something to eat. Their recipes were wonderful and the chefs helped to hone them to perfection."
The pictures contained in the 96 pages of Cooks & Kids clearly demonstrate the fun that was had by children and chefs alike. Among the tasty recipes are Macie’s fairy cakes, Rebecca’s Dahl and Almonds, Alyssa’s dairy free apricot rock cakes and Dylan’s Sunday leftovers Risotto.
Andrew Isaac added: "I must say a sincere 'thank you' to John Woodward, Executive Head Chef for de Vere Hotels and Venues, who helped sort the recipes into a practical and workable series of dishes that could become part of a cookbook for kids and by kids. De Vere kindly hosted the photo shoots and John and his team of award winning chefs set about pairing up with the youngsters and creating a series of dishes the youngsters would be asked to prepare in addition to their own recipe.
"This was definitely a surprise for many of those taking part. In all honesty I have never seen such fun had by so many for such a long time - and the resultant food was amazing."
Cooks & Kids, published by Graffeg, will be in the shops and available from online retailers this autumn, priced at £9.99. Further details can be found at www.cooksandkids.com.