Having patience with new flavours

(h)Alyn Williams blog TESCO

As part of our Cooking with Kids campaign, we asked a number of chefs from Great British Chefs to share memories of the food they loved when they were growing up. Alyn Williams shows how a simple cookery book helped to inspire his love of food.

Alyn Williams has been mentored by some of the best chefs in the country including Gordon Ramsay, Angela Hartnett and Marcus Wareing. After working as Head Chef at Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley for 5 years, Alyn Williams took over the Westbury in the autumn of 2011 and quickly won a Michelin star.

Alyn’s interest in food began at an early age “My Mum bought me a book called ‘The Fun Food Factory’ when I was about 10, I made my way through every recipe from anchovy eggs to chocolate cornflake cakes. It was then that I knew it was for me!”

His father was also a big influence on his cookery. Alyn said: “He loved to cook, he didn’t teach me but I watched and got interested more in eating than cooking, that came later.”

When it comes to getting children to experiment with flavours, Alyn is an advocate in starting young. He said “I think the earlier you develop a palate and a broad range of flavours that you enjoy the better. I remember there only being a few flavours that I didn’t like as a child”.

However, we all know that children can be fussy eaters and Alyn’s own children certainly had their fussy times:

“For his first two years my youngest son wouldn’t eat anything but sausages and cucumber. Fortunately that changed. I think you just need to be patient and slowly introduce new flavours and ingredients into their diet. I find it helps if you explain where different foods come from and get them interested in the provenance.”

Simplicity is key for getting children into the kitchen. Alyn said:  “When we do cook together it tends to be making fresh pasta, simple sauces and roast dinners, where I get them to peel the vegetables”

With Christmas on the horizon we asked Alyn for his strongest memories of food over the festive season when he was a child:

“I loved it all and still do, Christmas was always a very happy day at home and food was the main part of it. From the walnuts and Clementines in the stocking to the Terry’s Chocolate Orange and coffee liqueurs before bed!

Contrary to popular opinion, I think a well cooked turkey is delicious. I have always had a sweet tooth and my mum always made great rum and brandy butters to go with mince pies on Christmas Day. I always looked forward to them in particular and they rarely made it to the 25th as I would eat them on their own.”

For more of Alyn William's kids recipes visit Great British Chefs Cooking with Kids Collection.

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