Get kids into the kitchen, young chef says

CHARLEY MANN
Last updated 10:36 23/08/2012
Mike Lee
MIKE LEE: "Getting kids into the kitchen is key for them to start appreciating food."

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Getting children involved in the kitchen is key to healthy eating, chef Michael Lee says.

Christchurch-based Lee, 20, presents a cooking segment on The Erin Simpson Show, aimed at encouraging children to take an interest in cooking.

At just 17, Lee was also the youngest contestant on MasterChef New Zealand last year.

"Getting kids into the kitchen is key for them to start appreciating food,'' he said.

"That is where I started and where so many professional chefs started.''

The Ministry of Health food and nutrition guidelines for healthy children and young people, released this month, recommends children should be involved in food shopping, growing vegetables and preparing meals.

Lee said it was important to teach children good habits early on, so they did not fall into the trap of relying on convenience food.

"We live in a time where everything is convenient. Food is secondary to everything we do, it's just sustenance,'' he said.

"People don't realise how easy it is to cook really tasty, healthy meals.''

He recommended trying different recipes on fussy-eaters to introduce them to interesting flavours and textures.

''I think people don't like certain food because they have not tried it cooked properly.

"I hated brussels sprouts until I tried them pan-fried with shitake mushrooms and a little bacon. That was delicious.''

Lee is also judging the MAGGI Kitchen Showdown, which screens on The Erin Simpson Show tomorrow afternoon, where intermediate school pupils have to cook a main meal for four and prepare a dessert supplied by the judges.

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- The Press

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