Lisa Huff describes herself on Linkedin in as “Freelance Recipe Developer, Blogger/Writer, Food Stylist, Photographer, & Award Winning Home Chef.” On her social channels you’ll find lots of divalicious food porn photos. So it wasn’t a big surprise that Lisa would want to write a cookbook.
What was a surprise was even though Lisa’s a mom with two cute kids, her first cookbook kid chef Bakes was written not for adults but for kids. However, browsing through kid chef Bakes — don’t you Love reading cookbooks?! — I found so many delicious “grown-up” recipes that I wanted to (and will) try!
For example, the Lemon Loaf Cake Recipe (Click for PDF of the recipe) looks fairly simple to bake. But I bet it would be wonderful with an (adult) afternoon cuppa tea or a (kid) after school snack — not to mention a (family) dessert with a scoop of ice cream!
In this special interview Lisa kindly agreed to share her insights about writing and promotiong a cookbook. She also tells us her point of view about recipe development and baking with kids. Enjoy!
Diva Foodies: Who inspired your love of baking and why?
Lisa Huff, kid chef Bakes: My parents are both great cooks, so I grew up in the kitchen. We were always making dinner, baking treats, and always making something. Of course as a kid, baking special treats was always my favorite because who doesn’t love cookies?! My parents would always let me experiment in the kitchen and try new things, even when it meant a big mess!
Diva Foodies: Why did you focus on baking for your first kids’ cookbook?
Lisa Huff, kid chef Bakes: Since I’m now a mom and have two children of my own, I knew baking would peak the interest of most children. It always seems to be what my kids ask to learn first as well as other kids. Once my kids learned to cook what they loved (desserts) they started branching out to other things.
Diva Foodies: What would you consider to be “age appropriate” for kid chef Bakes readers?
Lisa Huff, kid chef Bakes: For kids about 8-13ish just learning to bake, age appropriate recipes would be basic baking recipes such as simple cookies, cakes, pies, pizzas, etc. Recipes with not a lot of steps, easy to find ingredients, as well as easy to find baking tools and pans which is what we tried to incorporate into Kid Chef Bakes.
Diva Foodies: We understand that you are a freelance recipe developer who has won many awards. What did you take into considering when creating recipes for kids that you might not include for adults?
Lisa Huff, kid chef Bakes: I tried to stick to recipes that don’t have elaborate steps and are on the shorter side. I think most kids get intimated when they see a very long recipe with numerous steps. I also tried to keep to basic easy to find ingredients but tried to throw in an ingredient every now and then that may be a little different. However, too many special ingredients can be a little scary when learning to cook and bake, so I think it’s something most kids need to work their way up to.
Diva Foodies: Most successful chefs and bakers have a unique POV or point of view. What is yours and it is the same for recipes you create for kids?
Lisa Huff, kid chef Bakes: I love taking traditional recipes and putting twists on them or combining foods for fun “fusion” type recipes. Updating old favorites for today’s kids is always fun. For example, in the book there is a recipe for Blueberry Muffin Tops with Cheesecake Drizzle. Most kids are familiar with blueberry muffins and cheesecake, but the recipe takes those two, and combines them for a fun twist.
Diva Foodies: Much time goes into creating a cookbook including testing the recipes. Did your kids Jordan and/or Cora “help” to ensure the recipes were kid friendly? What is their favorite recipe? Would love to hear any behind the scenes stories!
Lisa Huff, kid chef Bakes: My kids loved helping with the book! My daughter loves to cook and bake. She gave me a lot of input and also helped make many of the recipes in the book by prepping and measuring ingredients, as well as baking some of the recipes from start to finish. My son also loves to bake, but he loves taste testing more! He was always willing to try everything and give advice on how to improve each recipe.
Diva Foodies: Baking with children can be a joy and sometimes a bit of a challenge. In life we learn from many people. What lessons did you learn from the children involved in helping (review, sample, etc.) with kid chef Baker, as well from her children Jordan and Cora?
Lisa Huff, kid chef Bakes: Yes, it was definitely fun but challenging baking with my own kids. The biggest challenge was trying to get a consensus on each recipe. They have such different tastes that it made me realize you just can’t please all kids. They’re all going to have their favorite recipes as well as recipes they don’t like.
Diva Foodies: TV food programs like Masterchef Junior (Fox) and Baking Champions (Food Network) are popular with both kids and adults. As both a children’s cookbook author and a mom, what are your thoughts about kid food TV competition shows from the point of view of kids watching these shows And kids competing on national TV?
Lisa Huff, kid chef Bakes: I have competed in many recipe contests over the years. They can be a lot of fun, but very stressful.
I love that these shows have introduced another generation to cooking and baking. I think for some kids, competing is a great thing, however, for children who don’t handle stress or rejection well, it’s not a good idea. You definitely need “thick skin” to get through those competitions, so not for everyone.
Diva Foodies: There are many home cooks who love to cook with their children and have interesting ideas for cookbooks. What advice would you give the wanna be cookbook author?
Lisa Huff, kid chef Bakes: I would recommend doing a lot of research first. There’s a lot of time and effort behind writing a cookbook, so make sure you have a lot of time to devote to the project. Talk to some personal friends who have written a book. They will probably be your best resource.
Diva Foodies: You have several social media, we like to call them assets, e.g. Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. How are you using digital and social media to promote your cookbook? What is working best for you and why?
Lisa Huff, kid chef Bakes: I love connecting with my readers on social media! I personally find Facebook to be the most effective for promoting my cookbook because it’s the easiest way to connect with my readers compared to other social media platforms.
Diva Foodies: It’s said that the best food is made from love. What does that mean to you?
Lisa Huff, kid chef Bakes:
I think like with anything, when you put your heart and soul into something it shows. If you love cooking and baking, your love will shine through in your food.
Diva Foodies: The Big Question! Why this cookbook for kids? What makes kid chef Bakes extra special?
Lisa Huff, kid chef Bakes: I think what makes this book extra special is that it fills a gap between photo cookbooks for young children where you learn to make cut out sandwiches and smoothies and with adult cookbooks with more elaborate ingredients and steps.
Diva Foodies: As is our tradition at Diva Foodies, we’re tossing the virtual mic to you. Wrap it any way you’d like!
Lisa Huff, kid chef Bakes: Thank you so much for the interview! Writing kid chef Bakes was a fun project and I’m so excited to share it with everyone. It’s not only a great book for kids, there are so many great recipes in the book that are perfect for all ages!
Diva Foodies: We totally agree with that Lisa!
Here’s one more receipe Lisa shared with us from kid chef Bakes that is sure to be a hit with both kids and grown-ups — Soft Pretzel Sticks With Honey Mustard Dip (Click for PDF of the recipe)
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