Earlier this week Lara got to meet one of her TV idols on a really inspiring trip to London. I think Lara is pretty unusual for a 4 year old in that she knew and recognised french chef Raymond Blanc; in fact, having recently enjoyed watching Raymond's BBC2 series How to Cook Well, Lara had been beside herself with excitement before our trip to Covent Garden this Wednesday.
Lara was invited for a cookery lesson with Raymond as part of the launch of a new iPad app by Raymond's son, Olivier. The app in question is Henri Le Worm : The Missing Cookbook which I intend to review on my blog in the very near future (it is fab) and it features a french chef (Henri le Worm) and his garden friends and is designed to encourage an interest in food and ingredients in children from 2 years upwards. The app also features a handful of recipes from Raymond Blanc for cooking and enjoying with kids. If you know anything about me and my food mantra for kids then you'll know how perfect this app and its goals are for Mellow Mummy.
Our morning at Brasserie Blanc in Covent Garden was great fun. When we arrived, the only other people there were the creators, Olivier Blanc and Charlotte Salt and one of my own comedy idols, Simon Pegg with his gorgeous daughter who was a little younger than Lara.
After a breakfast of fresh fruit and croissants there were the obligatory speeches and general congratulations and then came the important part - the cookery lessons.
The restaurant had been laid out with lots of individual cookery stations for the children. Raymond demonstrated the cookery skills with enthusiasm and plenty of arm-waving. He sang nursery rhymes and raved about great food and quality ingredients. He oohed and aahed and really encouraged and congratulated each of the children on their achievements. I thought he was hilarious but I'm not convinced that Lara could understand anything that he said... so we were thankful for some really talented chefs who stepped in to help the children where needed.
Lara took it all very seriously (as she does with most challenges she takes on) and was genuinely interested when I 'translated' to her Raymond's speech about the importance of animal welfare in egg production. I don't think Lara and I need converting to the cause of encouraging a love of great food and ingredients from a young age.. but it was very inspiring to hear both Raymond and Simon Pegg rave about how important an interest in food is for our children.
Lara made the most amazing chocolate mousse (helped I think by a really really good quality of chocolate) and enjoyed whipping the egg whites immensely. We took the mousse home with us and enjoyed it as a picnic on the train!
She also made and decorated these mayonnaise mice (one of the recipes from the Henri Le Worm app) from which she stole the salad (she isn't much in to mayo... even if it is home-made). Raymond gave Lara a high five for her decoration which bought the most enormous smile to her face.
Lara and I completed an amazing day with a bit of shopping in Covent Garden, an indulgent lunch and then a movie at the cinema. I wish all days were this amazing.