Shane Smith, head chef at Jamie’s Italian restaurant in Melose Arch, Joburg, gave a healthy-eating tutorial to children as part of the iconic chef Jamie Oliver’s food revolution which preaches the importance of a balanced diet for youngsters.Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha
Eating healthily and being conscious of what you put in your body is no laughing matter, especially when it comes to planning a family menu. Cooking nutritious food without sucking the life out of it can be tricky for most parents.

The usual challenge is always getting the kids to eat their greens, and staying away from sugar.

The first annual Jamie’s Italian Food Revolution was launched by the head chef of the Melrose Arch restaurant, Shane Smith, on Friday. The initiative seeks to teach the little ones about healthy eating, and that healthy food is more of a need than an option.

By educating the children, there is hope that they might have an influence on their parents when they buy food.

Smith created a kitchen space for the boys and girls, and the mantra throughout his tutorial was to stay away from sugar and junk food. Culinary skills were passed on to the kids, dressed in aprons and chef’s hats, who had to put what they learnt into practice.

They were put on the spot about choosing healthy food, and in their pantry of the day were vegetables and fruits.

Perhaps not surprisingly, something sweet got them excited.

The chocolate mousse made with avocado was a win for all in the room.

The initiative is a South African first, according to Smith.

“Jamie Oliver has done this for many years – now we are bringing the food revolution to South Africa. This will be a yearly event in May. It is only a small beginning. We plan on doing bigger things with schools and underprivileged children, making kids more aware.

“Sometimes as a parent, you don’t think of what you are buying for your kids when shopping. Once your kid tells you, then you get that little mind shift.”

His message for moms and dads was clear: stick to the basics when cooking.

Saturday Star