Introducing the MEplace Chef: Daryl!

Content Creator Lizzie interviews Chef Daryl on plant-based eating, cooking for children and toddler palates.

If you’ve been following MEplace for a while, you’ll know how passionate we are about nutrition. So of course, we were beyond thrilled when we found our very own chef in Daryl! Read on to learn all about her passion for plant-based…

So, first up, tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Daryl Claire, I am a plant based chef from Cape Town, South Africa. I trained as a chef in Thailand as well as being amongst the first to complete Le Cordon Bleu’s first ever plant-based culinary arts diploma. I’ve always been passionate about cooking, the environment, animal welfare, health and wellbeing. 

What made you decide to become a plant-based chef?
When I was 17 I adopted a plant based diet which meant all my interests and values were aligned and I’d found my niche. I didn’t grow up in a foodie household so I’ve been cooking for myself, family and friends since I was a young teen. I’m my happiest when cooking. I’m an extremely creative person, I love making creations with my hands and coming up with new and exciting ideas to inspire people to live and eat better.

What interests you about cooking for children?
What interests me about cooking for children is how different their palates are to adults. I think my personal preference when cooking for myself aligns fantastically with the demands of children as I really enjoy simple food that is also nutritious and delicious. I love celebrating an ingredient for what it is. I’m passionate about making people fall in love with fruit and vegetables. They’re so versatile and I love celebrating them and their diversity. 

How have you designed your menu to instil a love for fruits and vegetables in young children?
There is so much room for creativity with plants, the possibilities are endless! I studied graphic design at university so, naturally, I’m easily excited by the colours, textures and shapes of foods. I believe we eat with our eyes first. This is why I feel this role as a nursery school chef suits me perfectly. My visual design creations always tapped into my inner child; my style is bold, colourful, organic, childlike and fun. I hope to use this to my advantage to make veggies cool and exciting for the kiddies. 

What kinds of dishes will the little ones get to try?
The kiddies can expect colourful, bright, tasty and exciting food. Perhaps it’s something they’ve never tried before, but I’ll do my best to make it as un-intimidating as possible and keep it simple but packed with the freshest organic, nutrient-rich foods.  

Anything to add?
I strongly believe that there’s a misconception that children don’t enjoy vegetables or it’s always going to be a struggle to get kids to eat more plants!

Thank you, Daryl! 
If you have a little one at the nursery, we hope they’re enjoying the new menu!

If you have any questions, want to share your favourite plant-based recipe, or have a topic you want to hear more about, you can drop us a message via our Instagram.

Happy snacking!

Content Creator at MEplace

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