Last month, six second graders from a Brooklyn school were treated to a seven-course tasting menu at French restaurant Daniel, one of New York’s most upscale restaurants. The meal was worth a total of $220 (per person!), but the kids got to try it for free. The restaurant’s namesake Daniel Boulud oversaw the meal himself; he wanted “the children to really discover a lot of flavour, a lot of layers, a lot of texture.” Boulud noted that he never went fancy restaurants when he was a kid. This experience allowed Boulud to see the joy and bewilderment the children had while tasting all these unfamiliar, complicated dishes. The dishes included the Smoked Paprika Cured Hamachi, Crispy Japanese Snapper, and Wagyu Beef Rib-Eye (the last of which was apparently “a big success”).
The children understood what it means to dine at a fancy restaurant: the sat politely and said “thank you” when the waiter filled their glasses with water.But when it came to two knives instead of one, a few of the kids we stumped!
The reactions to the meals actually surprised me: I didn’t expect the kids to be so adventurous and willing to try everything. My favourite quote? “This is a strange and delicious-looking one.” The Smoked Paprika Cured Hamachi with Ossetra Caviar in particular was the subject of much debate, with one child staring curiously at it, observing that “it looks like a little forest.” Another child simply lamented with disgust “I can’t believe I’m going to eat fish eggs” before finally tasting the caviar.
None of the meals received a thumbs up for all of the kids, but what was unanimous was the adorable reaction from each child upon observing and tasting the dishes before them. I loved the “it looks like soap! This tastes like soap. Why am I eating soap right now?” reaction that the Squash Ravioli with Pork Belly “à la Plancha” was greeted with.
My favourite kid was the surly little Chester Parish, who barely touched any of his food, that is until dessert arrived! A kid after my own heart!
All of the student’s reactions were captured by Jeffrey Blitz, the director of the Oscar-nominated documentary “Spellbound.” Watch the hilarious video below and let us know which reaction was your favourite!