Growing Junior Chefs...one child at a time.

Something exciting is happening in Manhattan Beach - kids are eating their fruits and vegetables - and loving it!  You may know Manhattan House as the place to meet for delicious seed-to-plate dishes and a laid-back bar with some of the best Manhattan-style cocktails in the South Bay. You may also know that we pride ourselves on creating fresh, seasonal dishes using hyper-local produce grown by our dedicated team and our very talented Chef D in our Manhattan Beach community gardens. What you may not know is that our top goal is to broaden both minds and palates. Not just to our guests, but to the entire local Manhattan Beach community.

While some kids might cringe at the thought of eating brussel sprouts, Manhattan House has made the notion of ‘eat your vegetables’ fun to kids, by involving them in the growing process.

Manhattan House partners with GrowingGreat, a non-profit community garden nutrition program that works with students in local schools. Through this, kids get to learn the ins-and-outs of all things “farm-to-table” by growing  wholesome vegetables, preparing them, and cooking them.  For example, with GrowingGreat, local kindergarteners get to learn about how to plant and maintain a garden. As a result, kids get to enjoy the little things: like the way their hands smell after harvesting herbs like basil, and the gratifying crunch of a freshly picked radish.

When the children become fourth and fifth graders, they get the opportunity to really see the “fruits” of their labor come alive! A select group of 12-18 students form “focus groups”, and are invited by Chef D to conceptualize and produce a savory dish using the fresh-picked produce that they, themselves grew in their garden.

Once the students collaborate on a dish they would like to create, they cook the dish in our Manhattan House kitchen with Chef D. This special-edition menu item will then be available on our menu for an entire month. It’s a win-win situation for all: Studies show that children are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables, if they are involved in the gardening process.

The students can also feel like a star chef for the night. When they come into Manhattan House to dine with their families during that month, they are invited to go into the kitchen, and actually prepare their dish with the assistance of Chef D for their families to enjoy!

Our program is receiving very positive response and we have already cooked up some tasty dishes by students at nearby schools like Meadows Elementary and Pennekamp Elementary. Past Junior Chef delicacies include: gnocchi with broccoli pesto and bow-tie pasta with smoked bacon, roasted cauliflower and ricotta cheese.

 Come to Manhattan House all throughout the month to eat our unique Pacific Garden Salad, made with love and care by the students of Pacific Elementary school. It will be available until the end of March!