DC Refined: Four youngsters preparing to make a big impact in the culinary world

From DC Refined by Lani Furbank:

“When we talk about rising stars, we’re usually referring to 20- or 30-somethings who are turning heads with their unique cooking styles or cultural influences. These young guns are certainly impressive, but there’s an even younger generation of epicures-in-training that’s preparing to give them a run for their money.

These tykes have their professional chef fathers to thank for their head start on the path to gastronomical stardom. Here are four tiny gourmands to look for in food headlines … in 2040.

Charlotte worked at Kyirisan this summer with her dad, chef and owner Tim Ma

During her vacation from kindergarten, six-year-old Charlotte had an unusual summer camp experience at her dad’s restaurant. “We had a routine,” Chef Tim Ma says. Each day, they’d enjoy breakfast together, spend time exploring the city, and then head to Kyirisan to check in before lunch. After a snack and a quick nap, Charlotte would help with prep by doing simple tasks like picking cilantro or cutting mushrooms (with scissors). Then they’d prepare for dinner with the front-of-house staff. “My staff was so great about it. Through service, busy or slow, they’d entertain her with little drawing projects or even make a puppet show for her. She would help garnish dishes and cross out items and stab tickets in the ticket wheel,” Ma says. Of course, Charlotte didn’t stay all the way through dinner service – she was off to bed by 9 or 10 p.m. “It was such a special time for me to have her with me over the summer,” Ma says.

Courtesy Tim Ma

Courtesy Tim Ma

Audrey has a green thumb like her dad, Rob Weland, chef and owner at Garrison

Whether it’s on a farm or in the kitchen, Chef Rob Weland’s seven-year-old daughter Audrey definitely has a future in food. Weland has taught her the basics of container gardening on their urban patio. “People are always surprised at how much I can grow in containers, but herbs and even tomatoes or beans or peppers are great for that,” Weland says. “Container gardens are great for kids. They are manageable, don’t require mulching and or much weeding and even the smallest kids can handle a small watering can.” Audrey caught on quickly, and she currently runs her own farmers market in her neighborhood, which she calls the Green Market. She’s made about $30 from friendly patrons.”

Courtesy Rob Weland

Courtesy Rob Weland

Read the rest of the article and see the full photo gallery HERE!

Featured photo courtesy Tim Ma.