We’re excited to be launching a new series here on Cool Mom Eats that’s all about kids and food, but from a unique perspective: Chefs that happen to be parents too.

This week, we’re pleased to welcome Chef Kevin Sbraga, father of two kids ages 5 and 10, and the winner of Top Chef Season 7. He’s the chef-owner of three popular restaurants that we’ve dined at ourselves (lucky us!), including Sbraga and The Fat Ham, both in Philadelphia, and Sbraga & Co in Jacksonville, Florida, and this season, you can catch him as a judge on MasterChef, one of our favorite shows to watch as a family. Here’s what Chef Sbraga has to say about feeding kids, plus tips for cooking up tasty family meals in your kitchen.

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What surprised you (or what has surprised you) about feeding your own kids?
My daughter is very picky and for the longest time, wouldn’t eat anything green. She is just now starting to come around. My son is all about textures. Last night we had mussels for dinner. Within a second of putting it his mouth, his gag reflex kicked in.

How do you manage the busy life of being a chef and being a very involved dad?
I surround myself with a great team. A team of passionate, dedicated people who want to achieve the same goals. The truth is that I don’t do it all like so many people think. It’s really my team that does it all, collectively.

Most underrated ingredient that families should be cooking/eating more of:
Dill. I want to see more dill on the dinner table.

 

The delicious mustard green salad at Kevin Sbraga's The Fat Ham, located in Philadelphia

The mustard greens salad that Kristen’s kids fight over at The Fat Ham

A tip for parents who want to get their picky eater to try new things?
That’s really tough. At this point, I don’t give my kids a choice anymore. They have to try it. My only other suggestion would be to blindfold them and make a game out of it.

Name one meal kids that are your own kids’ ages (5 & 10) should be able to make all by themselves in the kitchen?
Grilled cheese sandwiches!

The kitchen tool that every single parent should have in his or her kitchen (beyond the basics):
A Vitamix blender

And we have to ask: Bringing your own kids’ food into restaurant, yay or nay? 
No way.

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Top photo credit of Chef Kevin Sbraga by Michael Spain Smith

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