Cooking with a Manicure


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Interview with Annabel Karmel – Celebrity Children’s Chef

What inspired you to become a children’s chef? I was actually a musician at first and travelled the world as a harpist, playing with people such as Boy George and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Although, saying this, I’d always had a passion for cooking from a young age. After tragically loosing my first child, I knew I could never go back to being a musician – it just didn’t feel right. The thing that pulled me through my depression of losing Natasha was getting pregnant again with my son Nicholas. As loved and wanted as Nicholas was, he was also extremely difficult, and didn’t want to eat or sleep. I was so worried about him not eating, I felt so vulnerable and I wanted him to have a reserve in case he needed to fight anything.

Is that what prompted you to start writing?We were going to playgroup and there were other mums whose children wouldn’t eat and I was making up recipes and giving them out. They said that I should write a book about feeding children and I thought what a wonderful legacy it would be to Natasha, so I did; with my first book being – The Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner. 21 years later it is still a best selling baby food book in the UK.

You are a best selling international author for baby and children’s food nutrition. Can we expect to see a new book launch in 2012?I have 26 books on feeding babies and toddlers, as well as a website which has won several awards, and my TV show Annabel’s Kitchen, so I’m very proud of the level of education that’s been raised for parents about nutrition for children through these channels. My latest project is not what the babies and toddlers should be eating, but what mum should be eating when she’s pregnant. It’s very important that mum knows what she should be eating for the baby, so my new book to be launched in 2012 will be ‘Eating for Two’ and will have advice, recipes and tips for a healthy pregnancy.

What’s the best advice you can give to parents of fussy eaters?Let them be hungry. Fussy eaters tend to stick to four things, but if you allow your child to be hungry and don’t give them an alternative, they will eat different things.

What are your plans in the Middle East?When I came to Dubai for the Literary Festival, I discovered that the region has the second highest rate of diabetes in the world, so I wanted to help the mothers of diabetic children here. Some of my food is stocked in Spinney’s like baby pasta, but there’s a whole range in England that I’d like to see stocked here.

Can we expect to see more of you in the Middle East?Absolutely! With the problems of diabetes and obesity, I can guarantee that you’ll see more of me in the Middle East, before children’s bad dietary habits really gets out of hand. Watch this space.