Jessica Biel's "Au Fudge' Restaurant Sends Kids the Wrong Message

Just what the world needs: more celebrities opening restaurants. Isn't it enough that they already bombard us with their own clothing, cosmetic and perfume brands--and even cookbooks? Because, of course, being good at acting means you have a better sense of smell--and a superior palate. More likely, you just need the publicity and something to invest all your cash in.

But here's what really grates on me about Jessica Biel's soon to open kid-friendly "Au Fudge" which will cater, of course, to Hollwood A-listers. "The 120- to 130-seat restaurant will be set up with areas where kids can do art projects and other activities — but, of course, they’re also welcome at the table with Mom or Dad," reports People magazine.

Because, you know, they really need more places where they can dump off their kids.

Also, how revolutionary that they're "welcome at the table." What ever happened to kids just sitting quietly at dinner eating what the rest of the family is, maybe coloring on a kiddie paper placemat if the restaurant feels like even being that indulgent? Must we continually strive to entertain our children in the most elaborate ways wherever we go--even when we're just going to shove some food in our faces? And since when do kids not like to eat?

LA Chef Vic Casanova, who owns L.A. restaurant Gusto and is opening Italian spot Pistola in the next few months, told People magazine that "he didn’t know Biel very well when Stanley, a good friend, asked him to create the menu for Au Fudge. But, as a young dad, he immediately identified with their restaurant vision: To create 'somewhere that’s an oasis for families, a place where the kids can go do educational things and the parents can have a great lunch or breakfast or dinner.'"

Because not only must we entertain, but we must constantly educate too. I have a six-year-old, and while I'll fully admit that dining out can sometimes pose challenges, I still wouldn't miss the opportunity to teach my kid what it means to sit together, share a meal and have some conversation. Not to mention try some new foods.

Sure, sometimes she gets bored. Sometimes I get annoyed. Sometimes I wonder why we didn't just stay home and eat Mac 'n' cheese. But guess what? I suck it up. Why? Because kids need life skills. They need to learn how to speak to a waiter, how to be patient, how to not always depend on something exciting and made just for them to get through every minute of their day. That's a kind of education in itself -- one that children are sorely lacking these days.

Last week I took my daughter to a new restaurant and she came away with a weary but perceptible appreciation of pasta with a light meat sauce with diced onions and carrots (not marinara sauce). She also told her first joke (a knock knock one but, hey, it's a start).

Would I have savored my glass of wine more if she were across the room climbing a wall or creating mini masterpieces? Perhaps. But too bad.

At Biel's "Soho House for Kids," mom and dad can stay pleasantly out of touch, dining on expensive food while their kids get the royal treatment and maybe pop over for a lemon bar when they're not immersed in a cooking class (which I'm sure they'll put to good use when they grow up!).

Even better, reports the New York Post, "Mrs. Justin Timberlake has been posting Instagram pictures of her baking efforts, including an attempt at making cinnamon buns that went seriously wrong when 'I mistook the salt for sugar.'" Jessica: Do us all a favor and stick to whatever it is you're good at...uh, I mean acting.

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