Kids Academy Hornsby puts gourmet on the menu

Kids Academy Hornsby is training little tastebuds to appreciate good food, making delicious and nutritious meals – and food education - part of every day.

Centre Cook Daniel Try, who joined the centre six months ago coming from a background in cafĂ© operation, says he is ‘on a mission’ to normalise healthy eating habits for the 118 children aged one to five years old who attend the centre each week.

“I love watching kids get excited over food and being educated about where it comes from,” said Daniel.

“To be able to help set the norms of a balanced diet for these children so they can successfully navigate a healthy food lifestyle and get the most out of their lives is a pleasure.”

Daniel’s ‘Ginger and Soy baked fish with hokkien noodles and vegetables’ is a favourite dish at the centre, along with ‘Baked pork with parsnips, green beans and appleslaw’; ‘Beef and quinoa meatballs with Mediterranean vegetables’ and ‘Hoi Sin chicken and tofu noodle stirfry’.

According to Daniel, one of the biggest challenges is ‘scaling down’ the intensity of added flavours.

“At this age many of our children are yet to have their palate’s distorted by high sugar, salt and processed foods, and they really enjoy whole foods, so our philosophy is to plan our menus around simple, natural flavours,” he said.

Other challenges Daniel has met successfully include providing healthy food which can be embraced by children from broad demographic and cultural backgrounds.

Part of the Lifelong Learning Centres network owned and operated by Affinity Education Group, Kids Academy Hornsby is also participating in a national initiative in partnership with The Gourmet Nutritionist Kelly Richardson.  Videos, recipes, ‘Healthy Eating Choice’ certificates and tips for busy parents have been well received by parents, says Centre Manager Amanda Smith.

“Lifelong Learning Centres around Australia are all working together to address and improve nutrition on our menus, and support parents to make healthy eating choices at home with their children,” said Amanda.

“We’re excited some of Daniel’s recipes are now being introduced to other Lifelong Learning Centres – the clean plates, smiling faces and full tummies are fabulous to see!” she said.