Kids Cooking as Easy as 1-2-3

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Rozanne Gold

Award-winning chef and cookbook author Rozanne Gold has adapted her unique 1-2-3 cooking format, using only three ingredients per recipe, for kids ages eight to early teens. Her new book, Kids Cook 1-2-3, illustrated by Sara Pinto and coming in October from Bloomsbury, is her first for children.

Gold was almost still a child herself when, at age 23, she began her career as the executive chef at Gracie Mansion for then-New York mayor, Ed Koch. She went on to become consulting chef at several of New York's preeminent restaurants, including the Rainbow Room and Windows on the World. A three- time winner of the James Beard Cookbook Award and winner of the Julia Child/IACP Cookbook Award, Gold is the author of nine cookbooks for adults and is a familiar face to many regular viewers of the Food Network.

For Kids Cook 1-2-3, Gold had 10 young people working as her sous chefs, assisting in developing, tasting, and evaluating the recipes from a child's perspective. The opinions of these five girls and five boys were essential in creating the book, Gold told BTW. "Children today are very food savvy and TV savvy," she explained. "They grew up with the Food Network and cooking camps."

In a recent survey, Gold noted, "Ninety percent of kids polled thought that cooking was fun. Kids like simple foods so the concept of only three ingredients worked well. Not all of the recipes are easy or very quick, some are quite labor intensive."

Nor are all the recipes low caloric or low carbohydrate; Gold explained, "I work with a nutritionist and all the ingredients are fresh, natural, and unprocessed -- Well, all except for canned tomatoes and pesto in a jar.

"Kids shouldn't be counting calories. We have a chapter on desserts and one on quick and healthy snacks. I'm a believer that you can eat everything if you eat a balanced diet and eat in moderation. While kids are learning to cook, they are learning about portion size and alternatives to junk food. And three ingredients leaves no room for additives or other bad things."

Gold will be promoting Kids Cook 1-2-3 on a tour that will take her from her home in Brooklyn, New York, to San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon, among other locales. She'll visit bookstores, cooking schools, and synagogues.

"I hope to be able to bring some of my sous chefs along on some of the stops," she told BTW. "They were essential to the development of this cookbook. Kids are the new chefs; I think the time is coming soon when a young person will be 'The Next Food Network Star.'" --Nomi Schwartz