ROYAL SONESTA ART BAR_BRIAN SAMUELS PHOTOGRAPHY_AUGUST 2015 - 36What started at the age of 4 years old at her grandmother’s counter helping with a catering job, has blossomed into a successful and delicious career – Christina Allen Flores is the Executive Pastry Chef at the Royal Sonesta Hotel Boston. Cooking, and more specifically, baking turned into more then a hobby – it was her passion. Growing up vegetarian, Christina would look for recipe cards with ingredients like whole grain flours and she would bake and share her goods with family and friends. At one point she loved cooking so much that she wasn’t interested in following it as a career path for fear that it would destroy her love. Lucky for all of us – she didn’t find something else that she thought she would really enjoy so she headed to the world renowned Johnson & Wales University to further develop her skills.

Fast forward to now, having worked in the industry ever since culinary school and you will find her even more passionate. When she’s not at work, she can be found baking up a storm at home and teaching her children her craft. Guests and employees alike enjoy Christina’s pastries. She works with produce vendors and focuses on and builds her menu from what’s local and fresh at the time and the seasons of New England are reflected in most everything she bakes. You can be sure she is in the know – Christina spends her spare time strawberry picking in Ipswich and apple picking in Danvers, touting – “locally grown is definitely the way to go.”

With two children of her own, Christina is also passionate about providing nutritious meals and snacks that kids will love. And since it’s back to school season – we’ve asked her to share tips on how to create lunches that you won’t find still in the lunch box at the end of the day!

Christina’s Back To School Lunch Time Tips

Make lunches fun – Variety – lot’s of options keeps them interested.  Mostly good stuff, some compromises, a few that would make their day, not necessarily yours.

Make lunches at night – after dinner, have them help you make it or pack it.  If you’re not making or packing their lunch, it would be good to peak at what their packing from time to time, to be sure they are not overdoing it on the  compromise items or few items that you’re not thrilled with.

Freeze Homemade snack tea breads/treats – toss into lunch box/bag just before they leave for school, the snack cake will hold it’s shape longer as it is tossed around in the lunch box or shoved into a backpack.

Sticky notes in fun shapes with a short positive/funny note, making faces on fruit cups, kids like individual/little things/food, surprises – funny eraser pencil topper, stickers.

Sandwiches/wraps – Nothing stinky, if they like tuna or egg salad when at home, save it for the weekends.  Stinky stuff gets tossed.

Spread light coating of softened butter on slices of bread before mayonnaise or assembly, helps keep the bread/wrap from getting soggy.

Use hummus or guacamole instead of mayonnaise (Coat bread with butter first).

Using baby spinach instead of greens or lettuce also better keeps bread/Wraps from getting soggy.

Use cherry tomatoes cut in ½ instead of tomato slices – better keeps bread/wraps from getting soggy.