Feeding Your Future Foodies
Live with some unadventurous young eaters? Here’s how to expand your kids’ culinary horizons while traveling.
Exploring the world with little ones in tow doesn’t mean family culinary adventures have to be kids’ stuff. When children participate in interesting, sophisticated food finds, it can help them develop adventurous palates that appreciate and enjoy cuisine on a global scale. Experiences like the ones below can help set your kids on the path to choosing chicken confit instead of chicken fingers.
Get Out and Explore
Instead of introducing kids to unfamiliar foods around the dinner table, let them experience new flavors while immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of authentic markets and eateries. At The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto, your family will enjoy a tour of the city’s bustling Chinatown — one of the largest in the Western Hemisphere, representing Cantonese, Szechwan, Mandarin, Shanghai, Fukin and Vietnamese cuisines — on a 4-hour “Off the Eaten Track” tour. The experience includes 10 stops, ranging from dim-sum restaurants to traditional Chinese bakeries, during which participants will absorb the history and culture of Chinatown while learn shopping and etiquette tips.
Spark an Interest in Foodways
The more kids understand what they’re eating — where it comes from, how it was harvested, how it fuels their bodies — the more interested they’ll be in trying new things. For this reason, learning about the origins and preparation of local food plays a major component in the Ritz Kids program at The Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay. During the program’s sushi making classes, guests discover how to prepare their own fresh sushi under the direction of the resort’s sushi master, and also learn about the bountiful array of sea life that exists around the island province of Hainan. In the “Things We Eat” course, kids are introduced to the range of ingredients specific to the Hainan region — seafood, spices, tropical fruits and more — and learn the nutritive value of their daily diets. And during the winter and summer holidays, the coconut trees in the resort’s green gardens become virtual climbing walls for young campers, who are safely harnessed before ascending the trunks using brightly colored grips, with the goal of ringing a bell at the top. Once back on the ground, they’re instructed by Hainan coconut butlers about how to open and enjoy this exotic drupe.
Get in the Kitchen
It’s one thing to eat a delicious meal; it’s another thing to help prepare it. A series of baking workshops in the pastry kitchen at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester allows budding foodies ages 11–18 to have what will most likely be their first hands-on experience in a professional kitchen. At the Junior Chefs Academy, participants don their own chef’s aprons and hats and learn cooking techniques and kitchen safety; past workshops have produced everything from holiday cookies to homemade pasta, tiramisu and scones with bacon and cheese.
For culinarily curious kids ages 5–8, the Young Chefs Academy sponsors a “Family Fun in the Kitchen” series of hands-on classes in the Donald and Charlotte Test Pavilion at the Dallas Arboretum. The pavilion and its test kitchens are nestled amid A Tasteful Place, a 3.5-acre European-style garden, vineyard and orchard that grows fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs and offers samples made with sustainable, locally grown produce, just minutes away from The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas.
Make Time for Teatime
Sophisticated flavors will likely be better received when served with sips and sweets as part of a high-tea experience. The Lobby Lounge at many Ritz-Carlton properties offers Afternoon Tea, featuring an array of petite sandwiches and quiches that serve as perfectly delicious delivery systems for introducing new ingredients — duck salad with black truffle at The Portman Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai; grilled halloumi cheese at Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Oman — to young palates. Reward their adventurous spirits (and yours!) with the accompanying scones and other desserts.