We’ve got used to the idea of chefs branching out into their own product lines, like Masterchef’s Marion’s Thai Kitchen Food Range. But get set to say hello to a new range of fresh baby food, yes baby food, developed by Michelin Star-trained, mega-chef, Luke Mangan. We asked our Scoop intern Camilla to road test and investigate.
Camilla Ferraro is an dietitian-to-be currently in her 2nd year of nutrition and dietetics at Latrobe University. She’s started her own blog “Be” and is passionate about many things including cooking and eating whole, simple and nutritious foods; experimenting with new foods and flavours; and constantly drinking tea.
As Patrick Swayze found in that iconic movie scene, ‘No one puts baby in a corner’ anymore, and it appears the same rings true when it comes to baby food. But to me, really tasty baby food sounded too good to be true?
Creating baby foods is not as simple as ‘chucking’ a number of soft cooked veggies and meat in a blender…it’s actually a tough gig. The texture of foods designed for our young people has to be spot on, with implications for fussy eating and oral motor development, including speech, if the timing and texture is not right.
When initially starting Baby Bites, co-founder Melanie Gill completed a child nutrition course and then worked closely with Luke and a food scientist to develop the product range. Appropriately the products are free from added salt, sugar and additives and made in small batches and gently cooked. “It took over two years of research and development to get the Baby Bites by Luke Mangan product range to a nutritional standard and consistency that ensured each piece of food in our Toddler Pots was at the recommended size for the 10month+ age group, ” said Melanie.
I took it upon myself to individually taste test the range of Toddler Pots which includes three dishes; Lamb Pot Roast with Vegetables, Chicken Casserole with Pearl Barley and Chicken Paella. The verdict? Well I was pleasantly surprised, having tried my fair share of baby foods in the past. And no I’m not talking about the baby food diet…how yuck…. rather thanks to braces and repeated incidents of a swollen mouth.
Given, however, that I am quite a number of years past the recommended age of 10+ months (*cough* try 19 years past) I also recruited the delightful Ryan to give the flavours a go. The results? As mothers know best, Ryan’s mum provided the following feedback: “They were both a hit! The lamb hot pot was really chunky. At first Ryan wasn’t sure (I think because it’s a much denser texture to the mashed ones he’s used to) but he ate it. He took heaps longer to chew it, but I think that’s a good thing. There were actual pieces of meat and veg that you could see. His dad fed him the chicken paella. He said when he tasted it, it was like ‘real’ food, not baby food. Again, that’s a positive because we want him eating ‘real food’ at this age, not mush.”
But personally, I think the photos below speak for themselves!
The Baby Bites Toddler Pots are suitable for toddlers over ten months old and are available nationally at Thomas Dux , or delivered to your door by Aussie Farmers Direct RRP $3.95 for a 180g pot.
Disclosure: Product samples were provided by Grapevine PR on behalf of Baby Bites by Luke Mangan.
Thanks Camilla and a huge thanks to Ryan and his family. Love seeing an empty bowl and a smiling bub. And love seeing Chefs follow their strengths in food quality and flavour to better our food supply. How about you lovely readers? What was your favourite food as a baby? What are you feeding your kids now? Do you have any questions on the range we can investigate for you?