Chefs’ Picks: Kid-Friendly Snacks in NYC

Though they may helm their own professional kitchens, these New York chefs let their kids steer the way when it comes time to get some grub.
Okra Fries from Old Monk

Photo by: Nicho


Chefs’ Picks tracks down what the pros are eating and cooking from coast to coast.

Chefs in New York City work practically non-stop, which makes a food break with family all the sweeter. And though they may helm their own professional kitchens, these top toques let their kids steer the way when it comes time to get some grub. From cooking together at home to sharing scoops at an ice cream shop, here is what the future food fans of the Big Apple love to eat.

French Fry Flip

For most kids, green is a feared color in the food rainbow. But that’s not the case for the daughter of Navjot Arora. As chef of modern Indian soul food restaurant Old Monk, Aurora has found just the trick to get his little one to love a particularly green food. He uses his culinary wizardry to transform okra into fries. “They are a healthier version of a typical kids’ snack,” says Arora. Served at Old Monk, the fries are made by cutting okra into thin slices, which are dredged in chickpea flour then pan-fried. A sprinkle of dried mango powder balances the savory bite. In addition to the okra fries, Arora has gotten his kids to embrace another veggie-centric snack. “At home as an after-school snack, my kids and I take the leftover cauliflower, potatoes and peas to make toasters, which is a type of Indian sandwich similar to a panini.”

Cow Trax

Ferris Acres Farm's Cow Trax ice cream for Connecticut's Best Dishes as seen on the Food Network

Photo by: Ryan Kundrat

Ryan Kundrat

Farm Fresh

It’s a pretty sure bet that ice cream can win over practically any child, and it’s certainly true in Chef Darren Carbone’s house. When he’s not in his lower Manhattan Mexican restaurant, El Vez, he’s off to Connecticut for some ice cream straight from the creamery. “I take my kids to an ice cream shop called Ferris Acres in Newton, Connecticut, that’s nested among a field of pastures, whenever we have a free second,” he says. “It’s a very popular, remote spot that draws massive lines of kids and families.”

Egg Tacos


Photo by: Charles Masters

Charles Masters

An Egg-cellent Choice

It seems Chef Julian Medina’s daughter has inherited her dad’s passion for Mexican food. “My daughter Olivia loves taquito de huevo (scrambled egg tacos),” says Mexico City-born Medina, who oversees a slew of Mexican restaurants in New York, including Toloache. “She eats them any time of the day with salsa verde.” Olivia also shares her dad’s enthusiasm for making this Mexican dish. If not ordering taquitos off the menu at one of her dad’s restaurants, “she cooks them herself at home,” Medina says.

Try your own take on the Mexican specialty with this easy Egg Tacos Recipe from Food Network Kitchen.

Chef Galen Zamarra
Sizzle Reel

By day, Executive Chef Galen Zamarra of Mas (farmhouse) in the New York neighborhood of Greenwich Village prepares cuisine reminiscent of the South of France. But by night, those French-accented dishes give way to a culinary darling of another sort: the dumpling. For Zamarra, this fried snack has proven to be the perfect food for viewing flicks as a family. “We like to make dumplings for movie night,” he says. “We make the dough and filling, form them and fry them off, and sit around the TV with a huge plate of dumplings.”

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