Are Your Fine Dining Days Over?

What is a foodie to do once she’s had a baby—is it dinner at home for the next five years? Can new parents ever hope for a night out that involves an amuse-bouche without a hefty babysitting bill?

Seattle PI food editor Hsiao-Ching Chou may have the answer. This week she writes about a baby-inclusive dinner she organized recently at Seattle restaurant Crush. Chou had asked Crush chef and owner Jason Wilson to offer a family night on a Sunday evening to which parents could bring their babies.

What prompted this gathering was my desire to eat at an upscale restaurant with my family but without the self-consciousness I’ve discovered now accompanies any visit to a place where the chef is known by name and the food has a pedigree. Me? Self-conscious in a restaurant? I never thought that would happen. But add an infant to the picture —even a mild-mannered one —and all eyes are on you.

But don’t expect motherhood to cause this food writer to give up her fine dining days. Nor is she inclined to leave her child out of the action, stating that she wants her daughter to get used to eating out and to develop a sophisticated palate.

The Crush baby dinner was so successful that it may become a regular event. Either way, Chou doesn’t plan to be relegated to dinner at home, fond memories of tasting menus fading fast—but she promises her future fellow restaurant-goers that she’ll whisk her babe out onto the sidewalk should the infant become distraught.

Perhaps there is hope for fine-dining parents after all. With a little planning you can have your child and eat out too.