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Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio Feeds His Kids Oysters. Would You Do That?

Wed, September 22, 2010 8:15am EDT by Add first Comment

The celebrity chef believes kids aren’t as picky as you’d think and says that it’s up to parents to teach their children to be adventurous eaters.

None of that tired PB&J for Tom Colicchio‘s kids! The brand new daddy and head judge on Top Chef plans to treat his 10-month-old son, Luka, to exotic dishes as soon as possible. “I think it’s a good idea to open them up to new flavors, new foods and different ethnic cuisines,” he tells “I think a lot of the problem is that kids eat like their parents and their parents aren’t trying. I remember giving my kid oysters and saying, ‘Here, try it. It’s not going to bother you.'”

The Bravo TV star has put his beliefs into action with his 16-year-old son, Dante, who’s grown up to be a huge foodie. Tom continues to encourage him to try new foods. “He likes going out to dinner — he gets that from both his mom and me. We have him try everything. If he doesn’t like it, that’s fine, but he can’t not eat it just because it’s green,” he says.

Tom’s newest restaurant, Colicchio & Sons, isn’t for the timid eater. The choices range from sweetbreads to pork belly and duck ham. Not exactly the mac and cheese most kids love, but his offerings are exactly the kinds of foods Tom thinks children should try.

The 48-year-old blames picky kids on picky parents and is against the idea of any kid ordering off a bland children’s menu. “I think they’re better off ordering appetizers,” he says. “Some kids are picky eaters but I think a lot of it has to do with parents saying, ‘Oh, you won’t like that. You don’t want to eat that.’ Why? You don’t know what they like until they try it.”

Little Luka isn’t ready for solid foods just yet, but Tom and his wife, Lori Silverbush, have already taken him out to eat. “I feel like before your baby turns 1 you can take them pretty much anywhere.”

That’s not to say the new dad would tolerate Luka crying in a restaurant. It’s one of his pet peeves. “My feeling is if the baby is loud and screaming, you’ve gotta leave. If something’s going on and you can’t get him quiet, just pick him and leave. Say, ‘Sorry, I gotta go.'”

We’d agree with that!

–Tiffany Miller

Tell us: What’s the most exotic food that your kids will eat?