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The Daily Dish Top Chef

Padma Offers Parents Advice For Picky Eaters

The 'Top Chef' judge has some delicious advice for parents.

By Jocelyn Vena

Not every parent has a kid as in love with food as Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi. In fact, her daughter Krishna is already quite the foodie. But Padma understands what it's like to have a kid who isn't as open to trying out new flavors—and now she's offering up her advice for all the grown-ups out there.

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"My daughter is probably a rare case because she grew up on Top Chef," she told "So even when she was nursing, she had a lot of funky flavors through me, in her breast milk. But she has a really good appetite. At home, we make one meal for everybody. It's a mild meal that doesn't have a lot of chilies in it, which I add later to my food."

So what dishes does Padma suggest parents try at home to appease their little ones? She does note you don't have to rule out ethnic cuisine like Indian.

"If you're going to try Indian food, you can have plain rice and Tandoori chicken," she said. "Make it fun—say it's orange chicken! Tandoori chicken is really mild, it doesn't even have the skin on it. If you're going for Thai food, have plain rice and chicken satay. Krishna loves satay because it's chicken on a stick!"

She further noted "you need to look at the cuisine and find the most kid-friendly items within that cuisine."

Eating isn't just big in the Lakshmi household. Cooking is too—and it turns out Padma's daughter is following in her famous mom's footsteps.

"Krishna loves to cook," Padma said. "In fact, she's great at rolling out pie dough. I make the pie dough but I make her do the rolling out because she has little hands. She breaks the end of beans. We have a stool that we keep in the kitchen and she's always dragging it everywhere because she wants to be tall enough to reach the counter."

So what have the Lakshmi ladies been dining on in their own kitchen? Every Sunday Padma cooks up a traditional Indian dish called kitchari.

"It's a really savory rice and lentil porridge," she said. "It's usually two cups of rice to one cup of lentils, and I just invert the proportions. I do two cups of lentils and one cup of rice. While that's boiling together with salt and bay leaf, I saute a lot of vegetables and I cut them small, so you can't pick them out. It's really comforting and you can eat it in one bowl. You can freeze it, or it lasts forever in the fridge."


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