Making Meals Fun
Reaux, father of Haley, 5, and Hunter, 3, began experimenting in his home and resort kitchens with the goal of making the dishes more nutritious. Two years ago, he started creating an all-natural baby food menu. Hunter and Haley happily taste-tested. "But the kids' menu turned out to be more challenging," admits Reaux, who had cooked at New York City's Plaza Hotel and the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia before he joined Boca five years ago. "Infants aren't as picky."
After several months of trial and error, Reaux realized that Haley, Hunter, and the rest of their crowd would eat healthy foods only if they were presented in an irresistibly fun way. Among his clever culinary creations: whole-wheat pancakes shaped like tennis racquets; cheesy, fish-shaped pasta with peas; and veggie burgers tucked inside tasty multicolored bread.
Reaux isn't the only chef reexamining kids' menus these days, according to Michael Sanson, editor of Restaurant Hospitality, a magazine that features a kids' menu contest every April. "Each year the competition gets tougher," says Sanson. "But few chefs have focused on nutrition as much as James Reaux."
Want to try a sample? Reaux has allowed Child to exclusively publish seven of his children's favorite recipes from the new menu, which debuted this year. Even the pickiest eaters are sure to love every last bite.