Team Member Spotlight: Chef Marian Ionita

by Kids Inc Nurseries | 11 September 2023 | Blog

With ‘Organic September’ well under way, our nurseries are now harvesting their own-grown organic, fresh produce to be used in their menus. Our Clarence Avenue Day Nursery’s chef, Marian Ionita, is one such individual who’s paving the way for more nurseries to follow his sustainability example and grow great-tasting, fresh, organic produce. However, Marian isn’t just a nursery chef – he’s an integral part of Clarence Avenue’s culture and the children’s daily lives.



A Bit About Marian

Marian is passionate about getting the children involved with planting and growing organic vegetables in the rooftop garden. The items they grow are later harvested and used in the nursery’s menus, giving the children an understanding of the connection between nature and food sources. Marian also does his own composting, which he is encouraging the children to do at home with their families.

Marian chooses to plant easy-growing fruits, herbs and vegetables, such as tomatoes, lettuces, cucumbers, runner beans, carrots and potatoes, and explains to the children the purpose and benefits of growing their own produce. Not only does this educate the children about sustainability, gardening and nutrition and encourage them to be mindful of their own diets, but it also allows Marian to get to know each individual child and understand their unique dietary requirements better.

Marian also runs a weekly cookery club for each nursery room, ensuring that every child gets the opportunity to have a go at cooking. The children get involved with all stages, including food preparation, chopping, blending, mixing, etc. This sparks the children’s curiosity and promotes healthy eating habits.



Marian prioritises the children’s nutritional needs, crucial for their growth and future eating habits. This involves a well-rounded diet incorporating a variety of food groups, including:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Lean proteins, such as chicken, fish and legumes
  • Dairy

To make fruits and vegetables more appealing and accessible to children, Marian uses fresh, frozen and pureed ingredients. The consumption of sugary and processed foods is minimised to prevent dental issues and unhealthy weight gain. Above all, by communicating with parents and observing children’s responses to different foods, Marian adapts the menus to meet each child’s individual requirements, contributing to their healthy development and well-being.



Awards, Awards, Awards!

The hard work that Marian puts into every single day at Clarence Avenue doesn’t go unnoticed. Back in June, the entire Kids Inc Nurseries group came together under one roof (or rather, marquee!) to celebrate 20 years of Kids Inc Nurseries.

A highlight of the evening was the awards ceremony to recognise the amazing efforts of certain individuals here at Kids Inc Nurseries. Marian received a special recognition award for his dedication to Clarence Avenue and for providing the best possible food for our little ones. Of course, it doesn’t stop there …

Marian was also recently named as a finalist for Nursery Chef of the Year 2023 in the prestigious NMT Awards! This award will be awarded to a chef or cook in a nursery setting who shows exceptional ability in providing well-balanced, nutritious and delicious food, taking the individual needs of children into account and giving special attention to allergies, sensitivities, cultures and food hygiene. It’s our strong belief that, given his incredible talent and passion for what he does, Marian will also take home the trophy in November to add to his growing collection of accolades!

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