Family

Altair, so much more than food flair

Plus Kelvin Shaw’s tips for cooking with kids …

Published in Warrandyte Diary Cook-up Lift-out 
By Michelle Pini

Photos SallyAnne Hartnell

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ALTAIR Restaurant offers multi-influenced flavours, innovative, wine-matched degustation menus using select, local and seasonal produce, as well as winemaker dinners and themed evenings. It also boasts a comprehensive wine list, 32 different beers and attentive service. With this level of excellence, staff members also need to be knowledgeable.

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Husband and wife team Kelvin and Michelle take their restaurant staff training seriously and implement ongoing training in food service and wine appreciation, including trips to wineries and cheese producers. They are rewarded with a reliable team and few staff changes.

Kelvin says, while other restaurants advertise for experienced staff, they prefer personable people with a keen interest in hospitality who are willing to learn. There are no aloof or affected wait-staff at Altair. “We want to offer a city-style, fine dining experience but we also want it to feel like Warrandyte, so our staff reflect Warrandyte’s friendly, relaxed environment,” Kelvin says.

Kelvin and Michelle are passionate about opportunities for young people to discover their flair for cooking or hospitality and will also be conducting junior “Master Chef” classes for budding little cooks early next year. “I’m excited to show kids how to use fresh ingredients and prepare dinner for the family,” enthuses Kelvin.

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Kelvin’s Top Tips for Cooking with Kids

1. Take your time, be patient and EXPECT MESS! Like licking that chocolate spoon, food memories can stay with us forever and mess is a big part of the experience.

2. Develop their senses
Touch, smell, taste and educate. It’s important to teach respect for food and ingredients and tell the truth – that chicken is a bird and a steak is a cow and that food is seasonal.

3. Method
Method is important for every cook, but for children method also allows them to learn and discover reading skills, math, the science of cookery and geography from weighing and learning about ingredients.

4. Don’t under-estimate kids
Peeling a carrot or stirring chocolate can be fun for a while but without being challenged, cooking will become boring. By using plastic or ceramic knifes (available in most supermarkets) children can learn about cooking and also be educated on kitchen safety.

5. Have Fun!
Cooking can and should be fun. By being patient with kids, you can help them develop a valuable skill that will stay with them for years to come.

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