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'Expanding Kids Palates': "From Sushi to Caviar, from Lobsters to Scallops, How I Introduce Bold Flavors to My Children."

We sat down with Mumble member Vittoria Veltri to hear about her love of food, and to learn how she cultivates that love in her own children, as well as the children and adults who attend her celebrated Pasta n’ Play Italian cooking classes.

1) What is your first memory of food?

As a child, I cherished cooking with my Calabrian ‘Nonna’ in her tiny kitchen. Every Sunday, we'd rise early to prepare homemade pasta for our lively Italian family. Those Sundays were pure joy, filled with laughter and delicious food. I still recall the wooden surface where we rolled out the dough and the sunbeams streaming through the open door. Our basement kitchen was always bustling with visitors dropping by to say hello. Most memorable of all, was the aroma that danced through the air, the scent of simmering sauce permeating every corner of our kitchen, that truly enraptured our senses. Hours of patient anticipation culminated in the ultimate reward: the first taste of our meticulously handcrafted pasta, adorned with the rich flavours of our labour of love.

Now, in London, I'm on a mission to share those flavours with others through my business. With each dish, I hope to bring a piece of my cherished childhood to the table, reminding everyone of the simple pleasures found in good food and family

.2) What about your career brings you the most joy?

Cooking the dishes my Nonna taught me brings back cherished memories that are the most beautiful moments of my life. In Italy, preparing and sharing meals isn't just about food - it's about forging bonds with loved ones. Reliving those moments and being able to inspire others to create their own joyful memories brings me true happiness.


3) How do you describe your overall cooking philosophy?


To raise kids who enjoy food, it's important to introduce them to various types of foods. Even if they initially reject new dishes, they'll gradually become more open to trying them. I believe we can encourage positive mealtime behaviour by involving children in meal planning and preparation discussions. Talking to them about what they'd like to eat, what groceries to buy, and including them in food prep fosters their interest in food. I enjoy gardening with my kids, and they love visiting my Dad's large vegetable garden to pick and eat fresh fruit and veggies straight from the trees.



4) In your opinion, what are some of the most common mindset myths related to cooking for children that you wish to change?


Myth 1: "children must eat children's food" The concept of "children must eat children's food" is a common misconception that suggests children should only eat specially prepared, simplistic, or bland dishes typically associated with children's menus or preferences. This myth often leads parents to offer a limited variety of foods to their children, primarily consisting of items like chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, or plain pasta.However, this notion overlooks the fact that children, like adults, benefit from a diverse and balanced diet, rich in nutrients from various food groups. Parents may unintentionally limit their child's exposure to new flavours, textures, and nutrients essential for healthy growth and development.This myth can perpetuate picky eating habits and reinforce the idea that certain foods are exclusively for children while others are only for adults.

In reality, children are capable of enjoying a wide range of foods, including those traditionally considered more "grown-up" or complex.

Myth 2: "children should not be allowed at the grown-up table" By excluding children from the grown-up table, parents may inadvertently miss out on important moments to teach and model proper table manners, communication skills, and healthy eating habits.


Myth 3: "Cooking with kids is messy" By setting clear expectations, establishing age-appropriate tasks, and providing guidance and support as needed, parents can help minimize messes while fostering their child's independence and confidence in the kitchen.While it's true that cooking with kids may require some extra patience and supervision, it can also be an incredibly rewarding and educational experience for both children and adults. In fact, involving children in cooking can help develop a range of valuable skills, including fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, maths and measurement abilities, and an understanding of nutrition and food safety. Additionally, cooking together provides opportunities for bonding, communication, and shared creativity. Children often take pride in contributing to the cooking process and may be more willing to try new foods that they helped prepare themselves.


5) Can you tell us more about your classes and what makes them different?


I host cooking classes for kids and adults, inspired by my Southern Italian Heritage. Beyond cooking, my classes cherish the rich traditions inherited from my Southern Italian Nonna, offering a blend of culinary education and cultural appreciation.Ideal for kids' parties and adult gatherings, such as birthdays, hen dos and team away days, my workshops cover a range of exciting topics. From pasta making and sourdough baking to crafting bagels and rainbow bagels, attendees also learn the secrets behind crafting delectable Italian sauces and desserts.


6) What is your favourite meal to prepare for someone and why?


Baking bread with and for my family is my favourite activity that brings joy and warmth to our home. As the aroma of freshly baked bread wafts through every room, it creates a sense of comfort and anticipation that is truly special.There's something magical about kneading the dough, watching it rise, and finally pulling a golden loaf from the oven. Beyond the tangible rewards of freshly baked bread, there's also the intangible satisfaction of creating something with my loved ones. I love the sense of togetherness and cooperation as we work side by side in the kitchen, sharing stories, laughter, and memories along the way.In today's fast-paced world, taking the time to slow down and engage in the art of bread baking is a precious gift. It allows us to connect with each other and with the simple pleasures of life, reminding us to savour the moments spent with those we hold dear


7) What are the most challenging aspects and the most rewarding moments of balancing motherhood and the role of an entrepreneur?


As a mum and entrepreneur, I am constantly juggling between kids, work, personal hobbies, families’ members’ hobbies. It can be overwhelming at times, but once you manage it, it becomes very rewarding.8) Please share all details on how to get in contact with you and book a class!




 

Want to get in touch with Vittoria Veltri or follow her daily tips?

Contact: (+44) 07453262554


 

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