TV masterchef’s inspiring new cook book

Chef Matei Baran launches his new cook book Big Chef, Little Chef. Picture by Stephen Beecroft.
Chef Matei Baran launches his new cook book Big Chef, Little Chef. Picture by Stephen Beecroft.

A masterchef is hoping to encourage young children to cook healthy food after being inspired by his son.

Matei Baran, a quarter finalist in TV’s Master Chef: the Professionals, is bringing out a new cook book to celebrate the bond with his son Armin.

Armin was born with cystic fibrosis and was a seriously ill baby, undergoing operations, daily medication, physiotherapy and physical activity, with a healthy diet now helping.

His mother Luminita Hatneanu said: “He says he wants to be a chef and he wants to be a doctor and he wants to save people’s lives.

“Armin loves cooking and he loves food.

“He’s very proud of his dad’s job. The book shows the bond between Matei and his son.

“I’m very proud of them both. It’s their story.”

Matei, head chef at the Salt Cove restaurant in Tynemouth, said: “It’s all about cooking for kids, with kids.

“I’ve been thinking about this book for a while and when I saw a photograph of Armin and me walking side by side, the idea of calling it Big Chef, Little Chef came to me.

“The photograph was the inspiration for the image that will feature on the book’s front cover and on the little chefs’ aprons.”

He added: “Every dad is proud of his children and Armin is so brave and happy that I wanted us to do something really special together.

“Eating healthy food is so important – and not just for children with cystic fibrosis. Learning about ingredients and cooking when you are very young means you have a lifetime of understanding and enjoyment of good food ahead of you.”

Big Chef Little Chef, due to be published in early 2019, will feature recipes prepared by Matei and Armin with the help of other little chefs, with proceeds from the book going to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Gemma Williamson, the trust’s community fundraiser in the north, said: “As well as raising money, it will also help people to understand. I think it’s fantastic and really inspiring.

“The parents of children with cystic fibrosis will really love the idea, especially all the different recipes.”

Lee Hall, from Tynemouth, whose children Clementine, eight, and Morris, six, help in the book, said: “We made some home-made pasta recently and there was more mess than anything else.”

Other little chefs include Nicholas and Charles Armstrong, from Monkseaton.

Romanian-born Matei, 40, moved to the north east in 2009 and has been the head chef at Newcastle’s Jurys Inn and executive head chef at the Bannatyne Hotel, Darlington, and Northumberland Arms in Felton.

In 2016 Matei qualified for the televised rounds of Master Chef: the Professionals, but broke his hand playing football in a charity event the day before his first appearance.