Kids Who Cook: Ramen Night Done Right!
It’s ramen night at Richard Blais’s house, where the broth is homemade and the toppings are whatever’s handy: Veggies, seaweed snacks—even hot dogs. See how this top chef and his daughters, Riley, 9, and Embry, 6, noodle around.
Celeb chef Richard Blais has had a killer career. He trained at California's legendary French Laundry and Chez Panisse, wrote two cookbooks (so far), and launched a handful of restaurants (including San Diego's popular Juniper & Ivy).
But the Top Chef alum, who lives in San Diego with his wife and two daughters, credits his TV work with preparing him for his greatest cooking challenge: pleasing his kids.
"On these shows, you have time limits. And when you're cooking at home, you have hungry kids and you need to get a meal on the table before band practice," he says.
To win at family dinner, Richard has a few strategies. First, choose something customizable. "I love themes," he says. "Ramen night, pizza night. Kids can choose—if they like olives, they can add a lot."
Next, have the right tools, like a pressure cooker, which makes his flavorful broth in 10 minutes.
Finally, relax the rules. "If there's a chicken tender in the kids' ramen, it's not authentic, but they're still exposed to a different type of food," he says. "It's more than just dinner. It's an opportunity to introduce kids to different cultures."
"It's all about finding those umami-rich ingredients and making something delicious."
Recipe: Use-It-Up Ramen
Try Richard's Use It Up Ramen
To Top It Off
Ramen is way more fun when you pile it high with tasty garnishes. This list will get you started.
- Canned Corn
- Chili oil
- Cooked bacon
- Fried onions
- Frozen peas
- Leftover chicken, turkey, or pork
- Leftover hot dogs
- Nori or seaweed snacks
- Pea shoots
- Shredded cabbage
- Sliced bamboo shoots
- Soft- or hard-boiled eggs
- Thinly sliced carrots
- Toasted sesame oil
- Togarashi (a spicy Japanese seasoning blend that typically includes chiles)
For more mealtime fun, check out Yum-o! (yum-o.org), Rach's nonprofit organization. You'll find recipes, tips for improving food in schools, and stories of people who are changing the way America eats. How cool is that?!