Help each other out, take turns, and enjoy the process. Also, give the kiddos in the kitchen a chance to succeed and to fail – both are important. We’ve noticed that when our son takes ownership of making the meal, he’s more excited to try it! – Steven & Irena
We’re so thrilled to feature a cooking family team today for our Heroes in the Kitchen series. Mama Irena, Papa Steven, and Kid Luca are forces to be reckoned with. Together, they are unstoppable when it comes to creating delicious, homemade dinners that each member of the family could be proud of. Learning together and helping each other out has made them a team of Super Kitchen Heroes! Read more about their awesome cooking story below.
Name: Steven, Irena, and Luca
Age: 38, 31, and 4
City, State: Atlanta, GA
We cook for: each other.
Outside of the kitchen we: like to go camping, biking, and exploring the outdoors as a family!
If we each could have any superpower: Luca would have super speed, Irena would fly, and Steven would read people’s minds.
We cook because: our food is so much better than the stuff at restaurants (or in the frozen aisle)!
Favorite Cook Smarts meal so far: Luca loves the Mushu Chicken, Steven loves the Chipotle Shrimp a la Diabla, and Irena loves the Indian Meatball Masala.
HOW DID YOU guys LEARN TO COOK?
Luca is learning by doing everything we do in the kitchen, from cracking the eggs to stirring the sauces. It’s much messier that way, but we like being a “family cooking team!” Now, if you tell Luca he’s a good cook, he’ll respond with, “Yeah, I’m a good Cook Smart!”
Steven, who was raised on Southern classics like meatloaf and sweet potatoes, learned to cook through trial and error. Irena, who is originally from Serbia, learned to make (and flip!) crepes at her grandma’s side as a toddler. As adults, though, we often stuck to the same rotation of 5 to 6 dishes we were comfortable with. Cook Smarts has definitely expanded our repertoire, and has made us look forward to trying new things (like making summer rolls or trusting the fish sauce!).
WHAT’S BEEN the BIGGEST COOKING CHALLENGE for you guys?
Our biggest challenge has always been food waste – so many good intentions at the grocery store, so many wilted veggies by the end of the week. Cook Smarts has helped us plan wisely so we can make the most of what we have.
HOW HAS YOUR family’s COOKING ROUTINE CHANGED SINCE STARTING COOK SMARTS’ MEAL PLANS?
Cooking is so much more fun and effortless now! We never come home at 5pm just to dig through the fridge and wonder, “Hey, what should we eat?” We simply grab that day’s ingredients, pull up the Cook Smarts recipe, and breeze through meal prep!
“Cook Smarts has given us so much confidence in the kitchen – the meals we make taste like they should have been complicated to make, but they aren’t!”
Tell us about each of your proudest kitchen moments.
Steven was proud to make his first Tom Kha Gai soup, which amazingly tastes exactly like the soup we ate in Thailand! Luca is proud to try new things, and we, in turn, are proud that he isn’t a “mac and cheese only” kid. Irena’s proud to finally be the kind of person who cooks family meals.
Cook Smarts has given us so much confidence in the kitchen – the meals we make taste like they should have been complicated to make, but they aren’t! We also love how balanced they are, and that we wind up eating a variety of healthy foods without even really trying (thanks for doing all the work for us, Cook Smarts!).
What are your family’s tips for health and success in the kitchen?
Help each other out, take turns, and enjoy the process. Also, give the kiddos in the kitchen a chance to succeed and to fail – both are important. We’ve noticed that when our son takes ownership of making the meal, he’s more excited to try it!
Steven, Irena, and Luca, thanks so much for letting us be a part of your family cooking team. We’re super excited that our meal plans can inspire your family to create a variety of delicious and healthy dishes, as well as help you guys gain confidence in the kitchen. Steven and Irena, huge kudos to the two of you for raising such an amazing and healthy little eater. And Luca, you’re more than a good Cook Smart – you’re an awesome Super Cook Smart! We can’t wait to see all the other dishes you cook up!