A mother from Stanmore has cooked up a fresh new children's book to encourage kids to eat better. 

Jo Leslie-Briggs, a communications consultant who lives in Berry Hill, and friend, French chef Fabienne Viner-Luzzato of Deansway, Hampstead, co-launched their first book Steamer the Cooking Wizard on January 11, packed with fun stories, important facts and delicious recipes.

It also includes a contribution from both parents' daughters Jemima Briggs and Yael Viner, both aged 11, who have hand-drawn illustrations alongside the stories.

The mums who have been friends for more than 10 years came up with the idea about 18 months ago after a discussion over lunch about children and eating disorders and distracting their own children from the never-ending tempting snacks around.

Mrs Leslie-Briggs, 51, said: “As a chef Fabienne is passionate about encouraging people to eat well and said she wanted to write a cook book for children. I suggested that she put it in the context of a story. Although we had loads of ideas between us, it took a long time for the book to come into fruition as neither of us had any experience with book publishing.

"We also held a couple of focus groups with children in our target age range to try out our story ideas and their interest levels, plus Fabienne needed to make and photograph all the recipes. It’s impossible to change the world, but if this book helps one or two children (and their parents) to understand more about ingredients and the need to eat and cook healthily, we’ll be very proud."

Steamer the Cooking Wizard
 

Steamer is a magical master chef on a mealtime mission to inspire healthy eating and more home-cooked meals among children and their parents in this 54-page book.

It aims to tackle the increasing problems of childhood obesity and diabetes in today's society, in a light-hearted way, by providing facts about fats, sugars and additives through six witty short stories written for and about 'tweeners'.

At the end of each chapter there are a couple of mouth-watering recipes relating to an ingredient featured in the story from fresh pasta and healthy party food to a trio of chocolate mousse and apricot and cherry tart.

Mrs Viner-Luzzato, 41, said her favourite story is the introductory chapter which looks at two naughty boys encouraged to stop making mischief and instead study the benefits of different ingredients. The authors hope their take on eating healthy will see more tweens pay attention to what they put in their tummies and encourage parents to serve more homemade meals.

Watch out for a sequel in the future as the pair have many other story ideas up their sleeves.

Steamer the Cooking Wizard is published by Swift Publishing Ltd and is available on Amazon at £8.99.