For traveling babies, a special chef can make a big difference. Club Med's chef Virginia Evans, winner of FTF's 2000 Tiny Travelers Hero award, shares her recipes.
“You can force ’em, you can get upset, but they’re not gonna’ eat unless they’re hungry,” states Virginia “Ginny” Evans, as she looks up from a tray of apple muffins.
Since 1995, as chef to the stars at America’s most exclusive Baby Club, Chef Ginny has fed thousands of demanding diners, ages 4-24 months.
How does she get the fussiest ones to pull up a highchair at the restaurant she runs for Club Med’s Sandpiper Resort in Port St. Lucie, Florida?
“If you cook good food, they’re gonna’ enjoy it.”
A mother of four, grandmother of three and former firefighter, Chef Ginny studied nutrition while working on her teacher certification. She believes in variety and offers her pint-sized guests up to a dozen purees daily. Favorites include green bean casserole, turkey, corn pudding, and mixed organic vegetables, to accompany the finger foods –homemade fish sticks, steamed baby carrots, fresh-baked muffins, cookies — required by her older patrons.
She’s trained to handle special diets and, with advance notice, will prepare entrees for lactose-intolerant, allergic or Kosher guests. Without divulging her recipes, Chef Ginny offers advice to hysterical home chefs.
“I have a lot of Moms come into my kitchen and pick my brains. I tell ’em, ‘Make something fresh.’ I never keep a puree more than 48 hours. I had a lady from Paris call me to say her dumplings didn’t look like mine.” Her eyes begin to twinkle. “Guess she’s just cooking ’em wrong!”
Throughout the day, parents and nannies bring their little wards into her cheerful lounge. The Sandpiper Baby Club restaurant officially serves from 11:15-12:30pm and 6-7:30pm daily, though there’s always something on the stove for tummies gurgling in different time zones.
Chef Ginny will also make a take-out plate for guests who prefer to dine in-room, or join their older siblings in the main dining room. What’s her reward?
“All I ask is that the bottles and diaper bags are well-labeled, and that guests take a happy, full and contented baby home with them.”
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