WITH concern spreading among pediatricians and parents about the growing threat to the younger generation’s future health from poor diets and junk food habits, the chefs at 58 Ritz-Carlton hotels and resorts around the world have taken matters into their own hands…and kitchens! Totally revised “Healthy Taste” Ritz Kids Menus debuted on Mother’s Day.
Many of the chefs are also parents and understand better than most the importance of eating the right foods. “We know how to make food that is good for kids and tastes good, too,” said Lawrence McFadden, the company’s executive chef. “We want to make sure that our Ritz Kids Menus provide healthy, yet tasty, alternatives to the dishes we have offered in the past. This does not mean taking hamburgers or macaroni and cheese totally off the menu and substituting bean sprouts … we want them to eat their meals. What it does mean is taking another look at what we cook, how we cook it, and ways we can appeal to kids’ appetites.”
Over the past two months, Ritz-Carlton chefs have been challenged to experiment in their kitchens at work, and at home, to look for new ways to offer up healthier foods for the younger generation. Troy Thompson, executive chef at Jerne in The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey, has recreated his signature Japanese-style Bento Boxes to serve up pint-sized meals even adults would enjoy eating.
Thompson’s “Healthy Taste” menu items will include entrée choices of either “ants on a log” (celery stuffed with peanut butter and studded with raisins) or a chicken and veggie kabob, served with air-popped popcorn, fresh fruit, and low fat yoghurt. At The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, executive chef Rainer Zinngrebe wanted to give visiting youngsters a taste of the region on the kids menu. His offerings include steamed fish with rice and vegetables and nino fajitas dedos de pollo a la parilla con jitomate y tortilla, better known as “kids’ fajitas with grilled chicken strips on tomato and flour tortillas.”
The new items will be marked with a special icon to help parents and children recognise them easily.
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