FoodieKiDs: What a Michelin-starred chef cooks for his children

Chef Roberto Rispoli from Shimmers at Jumeirah Mina A’Salam shares his advice on cooking for your children


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As children discover and become acquainted with the world of food, they can often develop an interest in new flavours or retreat to the comfort of their home cooked favourites. Here, we speak to Michelin-starred chef Roberto Rispoli, at the helm of beachside restaurant Shimmers at Jumeirah Mina A’Salam, to learn about his earliest memories of food when growing up and what he enjoys cooking for his own children.

Jumeirah's Michelin-starred chef Roberto Rispoli


What are your favourite meals to cook for your children and why?

In my country, pasta is one of the most famous dishes and it’s easy to cook - especially for toddlers and pre-schoolers.


What are your earliest memories of food from your childhood?

Pasta with butter and parmesan. Simple, but delicious!


How have you introduced eating vegetables to your children?

Sometimes I like to add vegetables to the kid’s pasta as a natural way to introduce vegetables to their diet. We tend to eat vegetables together with the kids, and I always ensure that vegetables are part of our daily meal. I take care to explain the benefits of eating healthy food to them.


What is the most challenging part of inspiring your children to eat healthily?

I do not have any challenges with my kids as they actually love eating vegetables. They seem to have already understood the benefits of eating healthy food at their young age.


What advice would you offer to other parents when cooking for their children?

I would recommend that parents start giving vegetables or meat to their children from an early age – it’s also fun to try and create something unique and colourful on their plate using healthy ingredients.


Do your children show a natural interest in food?

Yes, they watch me when I prepare food for them, and I can see that they have potential and may wish to follow in my footsteps.


Are there any resources for teaching children about food that you’d recommend?

When I go to another country, I always get something special from that place to bring back for my children to help educate and inspire them.


Do you encourage your children to cook for you?

Yes, as soon as they were a suitable age, I encouraged them to cook.


What type of skills do you think cooking can help children develop or improve?

Most of the time, they help me to prepare food every time I make our meals. I believe the best way to help children improve their confidence in cooking is to watch cooking shows and to let them get involved in the actual cooking and preparing of their own meals. Getting them to bake something sweet such as cookies or cake also helps!


View of Burj Al Arab from Shimmers restaurant Jumeirah


To find out more about healthy dining options with Jumeirah FoodieKiDS or to discover an array of wonderful, family-friendly restaurants with stunning views of Dubai, get in touch with our Concierge team at the Jumeirah Dubai Collection.