Andy has been a professional Chef for much of his adult life, drawing inspiration from Celebrity Chefs like Jamie Oliver, Andy’s food philosophy is one driven by passion for creative and healthy foods that taste great. We meet Andy below:
Where do you believe your passion for food came from?
My passion for food started when I was 16. I loved to watch Jamie Oliver on television back when he was doing “The Naked Chef”. I guess I was drawn to the creativity involved with cooking and that level of charisma.
What is it that you like most about working at Coomera Clubhouse?
There’s a certain peace and quiet in my kitchen which I love. I have worked in very busy kitchens all my life so it’s good to hear myself think for a change. The clubhouse surroundings are great too. We have started a great little vegetable garden and there’s the Chicken Coop for the kids. Produce at your fingertips is any Chefs dream.
Cooking for children can be a challenge, is there any secret to creating healthy meals that the children will enjoy?
I think the biggest secret to cooking for kids is to be open minded. They aren’t going to love everything you put in front of them. Every parent including myself knows the struggles associated with feeding children. Their taste buds are changing all the time so it’s a challenge to keep up but I try to get the teachers input as much as possible. The biggest challenge is always educating the children and changing their mindsets to seeing green vegetables and vegetables in general as delicious and healthy that’s why we have started our vegetable garden. The kids have a direct involvement and association with fresh produce therefore it’s food by association. They see where it comes from. How it grows. How much effort is involved in looking after the plant and then finally there’s the reward to eating it.
What are you favourite meals to cook?
My favorite meals to cook are curries like the Butter Chicken we cook here the kids love it, and pasta dishes like Macaroni and cheese. Dishes like these for the kids are notoriously unhealthy but it’s really easy to dial down the unhealthy additives and replace them with good super foods. For example with macaroni and cheese instead of a white sauce with the cheese we can substitute cauliflower. It tastes just as good without the added flour and butter.
You are all about creative and nutricious foods, how is this reflected in your meals for the children at Coomera Clubhouse?
Food here at the Clubhouse has to cover many taste buds. An 18 month old has completely different tastes to a 2 or 3 year old so you always have to be mindful of this. I try to pack as much nutritious vegetables into every dish at least five. Most often then not we blend the vegetables into the sauce or the base of the recipe so that, that way the kids aren’t instantly deterred from eating it. You have to be creative in the way you hide vegetables so that’s what most of my day is spent doing.
What does being active and healthy mean to you?
Being active and healthy is the foundation of a great life. Growing up I always ate healthy. My dad was a horticulturalist so we grew vegetables all the time. Healthy eating was instilled in me from a very young age so it was probably no surprise I became a Chef really. Eating healthy and being active go hand in hand. You can’t be active without the right fuel source and you certainly can’t get the best out of healthy eating for your body without using it to fuel an active life.