Celebrity Chef Ayesha Curry on Food and Family
Lifestyle We sat down with chef and bestselling author Ayesha Curry to ask her about the importance of cooking and sharing meals together as a family.
What is your favorite aspect of having meals together as a family?
Ayesha Curry: Throughout my entire life, even back when I was young, mealtime was a chance for the family to get together, unplug from the rest of the world and reconnect. As an adult, both my husband and I juggle very busy careers that have demanding schedules, so this time together to reconnect is as important as ever.
Why is it so important that families regularly try to eat together?
Oftentimes, when schedules get hectic, mealtime is the first thing to go. Shopping, meal prep and simply finding the time to sit down and eat is becoming more and more difficult, especially for families with working parents. Helping busy parents find the time (and energy) to get a meal on the table is really at the foundation of why I do what I do. In fact, I recently launched my own meal kit company, Homemade, with this in mind. Each recipe is a family-inspired meal created by me, with the recipes and ingredients delivered right to your door. My hope is that by helping to curate the menu for the week and taking care of the shopping, families can cut straight to the cooking, eating and enjoying time together.
“Mealtime was a chance for the family to get together, unplug from the rest of the world and reconnect.”
Name one fresh ingredient that you regularly work into your recipes.
I try and incorporate a fresh garnish, like a chopped herb, at the end of every recipe to give each dish a bright, punch of flavor. Another unexpected fresh ingredient I love to cook with are mangos. I grew up with a grandmother who had mango trees in her backyard, so cooking with mangos are a reminder of home and my childhood. Pairing fresh mangos in a salsa for fish, or in a marinade for chicken, gives the dish that delicious balance of sweet and savory that I can’t get enough of.
What is the Curry household’s favorite breakfast recipe?
One of our all-time favorites are my pancrepes, from my cookbook “The Seasoned Life.” This “happy accident” came about one morning when I left the baking powder out of my ordinary pancake batter. The result was this perfect textural mix between a pancake and a crepe that I love to pair with a fresh fruit compote. It’s now become a regular part of our breakfast routine.
What is one piece of advice you can give to parents and families on encouraging their children to eat more of fresh, healthy foods?
I always encourage parents to get their kids involved in the kitchen. It’s going to get messy and that’s okay, because when you let your kids help, they’re more likely to try the dishes they had a hand in making. My oldest daughter was gifted a set of child-safe kitchen knives, so I’ll set her up with a cutting board and let her chop away. This gives her a chance to touch, taste and smell all sorts of fresh produce. I also find comfort in knowing that by allowing them to assist, I’m instilling in them kitchen confidence that can help them as they grow and start to make meals for themselves.