Forget the typical fried chicken nuggets and high fat mac n’ cheese, and French fries that dominate most children’s menus. This summer, the Hyatt Hotels and Resorts introduced a new, innovative and responsible children’s menu called “For Kids By Kids” in all of its full service hotels in North America. The menu is designed to make the healthier choice, the easier choice by providing more nutritious and healthy offerings for their youngest guests. Hyatt’s food and beverage philosophy, after all, is “Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served.”
Recently, my sons and I were invited to attend a preview of the kids menu at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa. Executive Chef Chris Savage did a cooking demo with the children. Together they prepared a healthy salad and waffles. The tasting buffet featured whole grain pastas with a choice of 2 sauces: tomato and cheese; a build your own taco bar, and waffle dipping sticks. All the items are part of the “For Kids by Kids” flavor journey menu tasted, tested and approved by a team of children led by 11 year old cooking enthusiast Haile Thomas.
One of the best things about the new menu is that it appeals to both kids and parents. The ingredients are fresh not frozen. But perhaps the biggest draw for kids is that they have a hand in making their food – sort of – because it all starts with making good choices. They can build their own whole wheat sub sandwich, for example, and create their own pasta by choosing the pasta (penne, spaghetti, gluten-free), sauce (tomato or cheese), protein (turkey meatballs, chicken breast), vegetable (peas, broccoli, carrots, spinach, zucchini).
Another wonderful aspect of this new menu is that world renowned food revolution pioneer and edible educator Alice Waters is a part of it. She has lent her inspiration and support to the new kids menu. According to Waters, “All children deserve to eat real food – fresh, seasonal, organic, and delicious.” She adds: “I wanted to do a small, three course meal, within the context of Hyatt’s initiative, that could be sourced exclusively from organic farms across the country. Of course it’s about taste and ripeness and seasonality-but it’s bigger than that, too: it’s about supporting the people who are taking care of the land for our future generations.”
Now that’s definitely something to chew on.
For more inspiration, watch Haile Thomas TEDx Kids talk. And here’s a video of Alice Waters talking about the new Hyatt Kids Menu. View more photos from the event via my Flickr stream.