Naomi Marklew: ToddlerChef

I’d like a cooking programme on TV
whose judges range in age from two to three.
Grown-up food critics are too soft for me.

They’ll happily consume, without kerfuffle,
a steak tartare, or sea-weed, or a truffle;
sit quiet and wait, not play with forks and scuffle.

Inscrutable, as you prepare their lunch
the toddlers are a terrifying bunch,
fastidious about what they will munch.

Contestant One. Your meal must be rejected.
We’re sorry, but you seem to have neglected
memos regarding greens – the plate’s infected!

Contestant Two. You’ve fallen down on sauce.
This meal needs deconstructing, a divorce
between the pasta and red stuff, of course.

Contestant Three. Now, this is hard to say.
While we like everything, it’s all OK,
you didn’t slice the same as yesterday.

Those gallant souls who dish up toddler’s dinners
that meet with their approval, are true winners.
All other chefs are relative beginners.