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Kids choose fine dining over fast food

Dan Stock, January 31, 2017 5:45PM Herald Sun

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MOVE over Maccas, it seems Aussie kids are increasingly choosing fine dining over fast food.

A growing number of children are swapping sausage rolls for sushi, fish fingers for seared scallops and washing the lot down with almond milk and coconut water.

According to research commissioned by online reservation* company OpenTable, this next generation of foodies have increasingly sophisticated* tastes, with a majority of parents reporting their kids prefer ordering off the adult menu when dining out.

Almost two in five Victorian parents admit their children are “foodies”, and almost 1 in 3 Aussie mums and dads say their kids choose fine dining over fast food.

And parents are increasingly happy to oblige*, with almost 1 in 5 eating out with their kids every week, with a quarter happy to spend more than $26 on a meal for their child when they do so.

But two-thirds say they won’t continue paying for their meals once they turn 18, with just a third happy to shout their kids a meal whatever their age.

Sushi is the most popular dish for fussy fine-dining children to order when dining out, followed by macaroons. Wagyu beef, veal, scallops and lobster are also on the menu for gourmet kids, with coconut water and almond milk the top drinks they like served alongside.

Fitzroy North mum Sam Davis said her seven-year-old daughter Charlotte was an adventurous eater who enjoyed trying new dishes and ingredients.

Charlotte, 7, Sam Davis, Julie Perera and Mylo, 7, enjoy a sushi, sashimi and dumplings. Picture Rebecca Michael media_cameraCharlotte, 7, Sam Davis, Julie Perera and Mylo, 7, enjoy a sushi, sashimi and dumplings. Picture Rebecca Michael

“Charlotte loves sushi and sashimi, but also all types of seafood,” she said. “She’s tried rabbit and duck, emu, crocodile and calamari. But she doesn’t like burgers.”

She said Melbourne restaurants were getting better at welcoming children.

“They seem to be more interested in catering to kids, and children are better behaved the more experienced they are in dining out.”

Lisa Hasen from OpenTable said it was exciting to see children engaged* with food trends and that they were so open to trying new flavours.

“Australians are known for being daring when it comes to dining choices, so it’s no surprise our youngsters are too,” she said.

Callum Martin from Japanese restaurant Sake Hamer Hall said they had experienced an increase in the number of families dining at the restaurant, and that children were becoming more adventurous in their meal choices.

“Kids are really getting into our sushi, especially sushi rolls,” he said.

“Dumplings are huge hit, too. Tempura, such as our mixed vegetable tempura, also goes down well with children.”


reservation: in this instance it means to make a booking

sophisticated: having, revealing, or involving a great deal of worldly experience and knowledge of fashion and culture

oblige: do as someone asks

engaged: occupied with



Activity 1. Fine Dining

After reading the Kids News article, answer the questions below in as much detail as possible and practise using correct grammar and punctuation.

— How much money are adults willing to spend on an adult meal for their child?

— Which company did the research for this article?

— Why would this company be interested in researching this topic?

— How many families eat out with their kids?

— What is the most popular dish for children eating out at restaurants?

— What are the most popular drink choices?

— Do you eat out with your family? If so what type of food do you like to order?

Extension: Design a fine dining menu for children at a fancy restaurant.

Time: Allow 25 minutes to complete this task

Victorian Curriculum links: English

Activity 2. Your Ideal School Canteen

Design and write a new menu for your school canteen. You may like to include some of your favourites that are already at your canteen and add lots of new things you’d like to see and eat at school. Be sure to include a full menu of items, including snacks and drinks with their price. Give your school canteen a creative name.

Extension: Write a list to parents of how to help kids behave when eating out at restaurants.

Time: Allow 45 minutes to complete this task

Victorian Curriculum links: English, Health & Physical Education, Critical & Creative Thinking

VCOP Activity

(Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation)

Activity 1: Vocabulary

Find all the maths related words in this story about fine dining kids. Once you have created a list, group them according to how many syllables each word has.

Extension: Create a menu of all your favourite fancy foods. Include a name for your restaurant and a price for each item.

Time: allow at least 30 minutes to complete the task

Curriculum Links: English, Big Write, VCOP

Activity provided by Andrell Education

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