Last fall, Cecily Gans was watching “Top Chef Masters” on Bravo. Among the challenges: take a randomly selected food that most children hate — cottage cheese, anyone? — and create a recipe that kids would scarf down. The cast of Nick Jr.’s “Yo Gabba Gabba” came on the show, encouraged good eating habits, then watched as the boys and girls judged the top chefs’ creations.
Cecily was more than mildly interested. For one thing, she is a wildly popular culinary teacher at Staples High School.
For another, she has a daughter the same age as the kids on “Top Chef Masters.”
For a third, she’s worked with the tots who attend Staples’ adorable pre-school (part of Linda McClary’s child development classes).
You know where this story is heading.
Last month, Chef Gans’ advanced class conducted their own “Top Chef Masters” competition.
The students — who spend the semester creating meals from local, seasonally available foods — drew ingredients out of a hat. They included butternut squash (yuck!), brussel sprouts (ugh!), tofu (ick!), cauliflower (blech!) and plain yogurt (gross!).
Each student then devised a unique recipe.
“It went extraordinarily well,” Cecily says. (Phew!)
The pre-schoolers eagerly tried new things. One girl ate everything: mac-and-cheese with tofu, butternut squash ravioli, you name it.
There was only one dud: roasted brussel sprouts with maple syrup glaze. Even all that sugar didn’t help.
The competition went so well, in fact, that Chef Gans is planning another, bigger version this spring.
Click below for a report on the Top Chef Challenge, broadcast on the “Good Morning Staples” TV show. Click here if your browser does not take you directly to YouTube.