Sid and Zoya Sahrawat
Hospobaby is growing up. Bite readers have been following her mealtimes and adventures since she was small but Zoya is now a food-loving three-year-old who is helping her chef papa Sid Sahrawat in a new Bite column where the two of them cook together. Mum Chand records the delicious results. Most of the week, however, Sid can be found behind the stoves at his Auckland fine dining restaurant Sidart or at his newly opened, modern Indian eatery, Cassia. We asked Sid – and Zoya – to tell us more…
What will you be making for your first dad and daughter feature in Bite?
Zoya and I will be making duck pappardelle. She will try to make her own fresh pasta and help in slow cooking the ragu. I think pasta making is an essential skill to master in the kitchen and will help her in the future.
Can we expect fudge and cupcakes? What sort of dishes will you two be dishing up?
We will dish up everything Zoya likes to eat. Dishes that are favourites with the kids will definitely feature, however it is also about trying recipes that challenge the kids’ palates and introduce them to new flavours/cuisines.
Will these be recipes that children can make unaided?
It really depends on the child’s age and experience in the kitchen. A 10-year-old can probably execute a recipe with minimal help from a parent, while a four-year-old will require their parent to guide them every step of the way. I always believe in supervising children no matter how old they are while they are using knives and working with elements that involve heat.
How old is Zoya now and how old was she when she first ‘helped out’ in the kitchen?
Zoya is now three and a half years old. We have a video clip of her mixing chocolate brownie mix at 15 months old and then sticking her head into the bowl to lick it. She has always been keen to get involved in the kitchen and her interest and skills are growing every day.
How often do you cook together?
Zoya cooks almost every weeknight with Chand. She pulls a dining chair to the kitchen bench and helps with preparing vegetables or sautéing food. We cook dinners together on Monday nights as I am home and we can give Chand a night off.
What tips do you have for parents trying to encourage their children to cook?
Give children choice when cooking, involve them in the process. Even young kids can help pick recipes that they would like to cook for dinner by looking at the pictures in books or online. If your child is young, read the recipe and decide the parts they can help with beforehand. Once children know beforehand the parts they are allowed to help with and those they can’t, the cooking process will be more harmonious for all involved. I am never pushy with getting Zoya involved in the kitchen, if she wants to leave and do something else, it’s fine. She always comes back to help and asks to be involved. Cooking together is a great way for us to spend time, it also makes her appreciate the effort involved in putting a meal on the table. She always remarks, “This is made with so much love”.
Does Zoya like the food at both your restaurants?
Zoya loves the food at both Sidart and Cassia. She has been to Sidart for staff dinners more than actual sit-down meals. She has seen Cassia take shape from the first day we got the keys to now seeing diners in the space. She feels at home at both restaurants and knows exactly where the sorbets live in each of the kitchens so she can help herself to them.
Do people feel that they know Zoya through the Hospobaby column?
I feel a lot of people know of Zoya through the Hospobaby column. We often have diners who comment that they read the column and they ask after her. She eats out a lot and a lot of restaurant owners and our friends know of and follow her adventures.
Has Zoya always eaten the same food that you and Chand eat or do you make special kid-friendly options?
We have always believed in encouraging Zoya to eat the same food as us. Once she outgrew the pureed food stage she was eating the same food as us 90 per cent of the time. The only time a meal will be made more kid friendly will be if it has chillies in it. She will be presented with a milder version but no special meals are made for her or alternative options given. If Zoya doesn’t eat what is made for her she can go without dinner or dessert.
What do you like to cook, Zoya?
Dumplings. I also like making cake and pasta.
Do you cook with Daddy and Mummy?
I cook with Papa on his days off and with Mummy every night for dinner.
What is your favourite thing to eat?
Macaroni and cheese with broccoli, Zoya sauce (soya sauce) on my dumplings, chicken.
What food do you think is yucky?
I don’t like mushrooms a lot but no food is yucky. You can’t be Sam I am (Dr.Seuss- Green Eggs and Ham).
Which of Daddy’s restaurants do you like to eat at more?
I like Cassia more than Sidart because you can go there more times.
Do you like going out for dinner?
The answer is yes, yes, yes. I love it.
What was your last birthday cake?
It was a chocolate, hazelnut cake (from Milse) and Mummy put Peppa pig toys on it and candles.