With a little more than a week until Mother’s Day, we continue our series of interviews with famous chefs who are also parents. Today, Artisanal’s Terrance Brennan talks about dining with his three children and navigating their unique appetites.
Known for introducing the traditional European cheese course to American diners through his restaurants and Manhattan’s Artisanal Premium Cheese Center, Terrance Brennan’s growing restaurant group also includes the Michelin-starred Picholine, a longtime favorite of New York’s gastronomes. As he expands his restaurants in Seattle, this ambitious chef has still managed to find time to be a dedicated dad to his three children, ages 11, 15, and 17.
Chef Brennan emphasizes the importance of manners when introducing children to the world of fine dining. “My number one piece of advice would be to teach your children manners.” Modeling good dining behavior is also helpful. He says, “Lead by example. Parents should show respect to waitstaff and other members of the service team, so children can see how to handle themselves in a restaurant.” Interacting with each other during the meal is important, too. “Whether dining at home or dining out, it’s valuable time at the table meant for conversations, checking in, and not just playing video games and playing on iPhones. That being said, don’t be overly strict with too many rules!” He admits that his children eat too quickly. “Remind your children to enjoy and chew and really experience the food…this is something I am always encouraging.”
To help create a successful dining out experience, he recommends trying to find a restaurant at which your children will be able to eat something they love. He shares, “I have three kids and each of them likes different things. So, make sure you pick a restaurant that’s flexible and has diverse options. My daughter is adventurous, and my two boys are not so adventurous. The boys won’t eat fish, but my daughter will; she loves lobster bisque.” As for their favorites at his restaurants, Brennan says, “At Artisanal Bistro, my children love the gougeres, Jamón Ibérico, steak frites, profiteroles and chicken under brick. They also love the pizza at Bar Artisanal.”