9 Twin Cities chef-dads share what they cook for their kids

Jose Alarcon (Popol Vuh, Centro) and his mini sous chefs

Jose Alarcon (Popol Vuh, Centro) and his mini sous chefs Zoe Prinds-Flash

Unless you’re roommates with Beyoncé, you probably don’t have a live-in chef. It costs her, like, $7,500 a month. We Googled it.

But some live-in chefs cater to a not-ultra-rich class of people—and they don’t even ask them for money.

Their kids.

While a night of Popul Vuh’s smoky Mexican fare or casarecce carbo-load at Mucci’s Italian is a treat for most of us, children of chefs snag snacks out of refrigerators they share with some of the biggest culinary names in town. But what do they actually cook at home? Is Spoon and Stable’s Gavin Kaysen whipping up foie gras pavlova for his 7-year-old? And would a 7-year-old eat it if he did?

In honor of Father’s Day (which is this Sunday—hit the Hallmark aisle or make some plans if you haven’t already), we asked a handful of chef-dads around the Twin Cities to talk about what and how they cook with their families. From scratch tortillas to flatbread pizzas to “bullshit boxed rice pilaf,” here’s what they’re making for the kids.

David Fhima, Fhima’s Minneapolis

“On Sunday mornings I make a different breakfast for my family. We use only ingredients we have on hand. Sometimes it’s eggs, sometimes it’s Challah, sometimes it’s beans, potatoes—even garden herbs and veggies in the summer. A favorite is eggs huevos rancheros-style: beans, onions, jalapeños, salsa, eggs over easy. The girls (Chloe, Mimi, and Racquel) are sous chefs, chopping the ingredients. Eli (Elijah), my son, makes the coffee, and I make breakfast. It’s our favorite morning of the week.”

Matty O’Reilly, Republic, LLC

“On the weekends, I love to make pancakes with my kiddos and family. Pancakes pretty much rule. For dinner, we’ve been getting into ramen and rice bowls. This way, we can all eat the same base meal (other parents know what I mean here!) and then doctor them up based on our individual wants and needs. I love mushrooms, but my wife doesn’t. One of my kids loves edamame and the other doesn’t. It’s just a great way to prep the same base meal and adapt from there.

Most importantly, we just try to connect at meal time as much as possible. Sitting in the same place, going around the table and talking about our days. It doesn’t matter if it’s cereal or fancy food, those moments are the greatest.”

Gavin Kaysen, Spoon and Stable, Bellecour, Demi

“I usually spend time with my boys on my days off by way of sports. They are pretty active boys, ages 7 and 10, so we spend time outside now. For dinner, I cook what I know they will eat... whole roasted chicken with sweet potatoes, ribeye, and their favorite: paella!”

Tim Niver, Mucci’s Italian

“Typically I cook for my family on Mondays. It’s always pretty basic. I love to sear off a big piece of salmon or roast a whole chicken and serve it with some sort of simple sautéed vegetables on the side. Usually I get some bullshit boxed rice pilaf that I like. There is always a green salad, always. I’ll have a few gin drinks.”

Andy Vyskocil, La Voya and Bradstreet Craftshouse

“My 4-year-old son and I like to bake fresh flatbread pizza on our Big Green Egg at home! Greysen helps me roll out the dough, spread the pizza sauce, and sprinkle the cheese on it. Our latest creation (his favorite) was a marinated fresh mozzarella, torn basil, red sauce, and good olive oil.”

Mike DeCamp, Jester Concepts (Parlour, Borough, etc.)

“I love to make fresh pasta with my daughter. It’s something that we started to do when she was very young and it has stayed strong to this day. We also do a fair amount of baking—I always thought that doing things with flour was super cool and an extremely great ability to have as you grow up. I hope that she continues to show other people what she has learned and continues to love to cook.”

Mateo Mackbee, Model Citizen and Krewe (coming soon)

“My son is 20 and lives on his own now, but I can remember waking him (Makel) up for school and asking him what he wanted for breakfast. It was always eggs. He loved eggs before he got on the bus. We would usually put some kind of onions in the eggs. That was his job. I would scramble while he would slice some scallions to put in. He really loved to season them too. I would teach him the proper way... just a little water and season after. I miss those days!”

Jose Alarcon, Popol Vuh and Centro

“A favorite in our house is tacos, no surprise! I have taught my 9-year-old daughter how to make guacamole by herself now, and I love to make tortillas from scratch with my 6-year-old son. I love watching them in the kitchen, and it’s a great way to spend time together.”

Jordan Smith, Black Sheep Pizza

“My family is like the Brady Bunch; together, Colleen and I have five kids, and we’ve been together for 20-plus years. Jacob, the ‘baby,’ will be 23 this summer! A lot of crazy things happened over the years, but eating together was always the thing that connected us. Each kid today says the meals we shared were the best memories of their childhood with us. When we come together today—whether at our apartment, the lake, or in a foreign country—we share a meal, drink wine, and laugh. Food is what kept us and keeps us together. I am proud and grateful for that link.”