Knowledge Base > Dan Marek - Ask Me Anything (Office Hours)

Ask Me Anything (Office Hours)

Dan Marek - Ask Me Anything (Office Hours)

This event was on Tuesday, March 12, 2024 at 11:00 am Pacific, 2:00 pm Eastern

Join Chef Dan Marek in his virtual office as he welcomes all of your questions. This event was created for you and we encourage you to Ask Anything – from cooking techniques to cours… Read More.



Can you suggest any recipes that have special appeal to teens?

— Jennifer Schnabel


So, uh, I think the, probably, like what I said before is probably the best way to do this is kind of approach them where they are, um, and take some of their favorite dishes and convert them into a whole food plant-based style instead, right? So, um, it's, it's okay that kids have favorite foods. It's wonderful, and they're, it's okay that, you know, some of their favorite foods are not the best for them, but we don't want them to have those every single day, right? So we're not gonna eat mac and cheese for every single meal, um, you know, until they're 30, right? But you can take mac and cheese and you can kind of flip it upside down a little bit and make a vegan vir version of it. You can do things like put broccoli into it. You can, um, you know, switch up the ingredients into it to make it into something else. Um, but I think by starting with the flavor profiles that they like is probably the best way to go. So, you know, like I said, if it's mac and cheese, flip it just a little bit into a different style of mac and cheese. Um, try adding other things to the macaroni and cheese to be able to make it so they're kind of taking those, you know, baby steps in the right direction. And you'll see the more you kind of play with it, you'll find that they do like certain things, they don't like certain things, but don't stop it the first time. They say, I don't like this. Um, you know, our, our taste buds are constantly evolving, especially kids. Um, and, you know, it's, it's takes seven days to reset your taste buds. So if you go without like, salt for an entire seven days, uh, like if you go to, you know, your favorite, you know, burger and shake place, uh, whatever, you know, the vegan burger and fry place, you, you wouldn't be able to eat the french fries afterward because the salt would be so overpowering. Um, you know, so the kids taste buds are constantly evolving like that. So trying different things often, you know, like at least once a month kind of a thing is, is a good idea to be able to, to, um, you know, get those diets to change a little bit. So my biggest recommendation is definitely go for flavor profiles that they're used to, you know, um, but then switch things up a little bit, you know, make something I know they're going to make, but then add in something that it's like, okay, this is your first time trying this. You might not be a big fan of, you know, uh, udan noodles on the first try, you know, but like, at least try it and see what you think of it. Um, and that's a rule at my table, uh, with my kids all the time, is you don't have to like it, but at least try it. And if you don't, if you don't like, you have to try it is like one of the, the first things we always say. Um, but of course, I'm not gonna make them eat a whole meal that they don't like. Um, they're gonna have some of their favorites that we've worked up to, to be able to make that happen. Um, but again, start with the flavor profiles that they're used to. Uh, mac and cheese is probably not the best for that, but it's a good example for those. But you could also, you know, anything that you can do in a, you know, processed world, you can definitely mimic into a whole food plant-based world. You just have to be very inventive about it. Think outside the box a little bit, literally outside the box. Um, and, you know, you can look up all kinds of fun recipes that are great conversions for people. I also find that kids in particular are more likely to eat something if they've made it themself. So try to get them involved in the kitchen with you. Um, you know, if they're a part of something and they're tasting it as you go as well, they can tell you, you know, like, this is just a little too bitter, or this is, you know, too sour. Um, or maybe this is too spicy. You know, so kind of switching things up a little bit and letting them be a part of the process, I think will help quite a bit.
Dan Marek

Dan Marek

Director of Plant-Based Culinary & Dev