Asking the pro's

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Presenter of CBeebies 'I Can Cook', Katy Ashworth, shares her tips on cooking with kids.

Katy Ashworth
– Children's TV Presenter of 'I Can Cook' (UK)

  • Q: You're great at making food fun for kids. What little tasks in the kitchen have you found get children excited about cooking?
  • Just turn it in to 'PLAY'. I turn the food INTO things to really get the imagination going. Get the children to make things up too. Take a spring onion for example, it looks like a man with three legs and silly spiky hair. So we need to give him a haircut! Children come up with the strangest things. It is just as entertaining for adults too. Ask children what they think a vegetable looks like and go with it!
  • Q: Making food that tastes great while learning fun things is a big plus in my book. What kind of things do you teach children while preparing food to make it educational as well as enjoyable?
  • Generally I will do something fun and silly with whatever I am cooking and then ask them questions about where it comes from and do all the actions - the combine harvester, driving the lorry to the supermarket etc. I guess you could draw pictures instead if you're a tired mummy!
  • Q: Most parents struggle with ‘fussy eaters’, let alone managing a restricted diet. On your CBeebies show 'I Can Cook' all the children seem to be eager to eat what’s in front of them. What’s your secret?
  • Honestly I think the excitement of being on the show has a lot to do with it. Also, we do actually have children who don't want to eat what they have made sometimes, so don't worry, I am not completely magic! I like to think a lot of the reason most of the kids eat what they have made is because THEY made it.
  • Q: They say too many cooks… and your kitchen is always crowded! If there are lots of little helpers all wanting to be involved, how do you keep them all engaged and under control?!
  • Because I am Katy of CBeebies! It does me a lot of favours, seriously. I am sure it won't be as easy when I have my own children. The good thing about 'I Can Cook' is that each of the kids is doing their own thing. We stop a lot for filming and mistakes which keeps it under control- it is like a military operation seriously! Reality is a lot messier- it HAS to be! Generally though, I have found that all the games, questions and just keeping the 'fun' up is why it works.
  • Q: You make sure you teach children to wash their hands first before any cooking begins. What other important steps do you teach children in the kitchen?
  • To tidy up and clean up!
  • Q: What dish have you found is a clear winner for children to make and eat and why?
  • All of them! For all the reasons at the start. Obviously, there are the favourites like chocolate cake. Every kid loves chocolate cake!

    Brilliant, thanks for the insider tips Katy! For allergy-friendly recipes you can make with kids, visit our children's recipe section

  • May 2013
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