Meet Piers Buck, the founder of organic baby food company Little Freddie and this month’s That Papa!
Our That Papa of the month, Piers Buck, couldn’t find a baby food on the market that was tasty and healthy enough for his own baby, so he took matters into his own hands and created one. Talk about a hands-on Dad! We sat down with Piers, founder of Little Freddie, and got the scoop on his inspiration for this organic baby food company, his favourite family things to do around Hong Kong, and his secrets to getting his kids to eat healthy.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your background. What brought you to Hong Kong?
I was born in Australia and was raised in five European countries. I have had quite an international upbringing. Hong Kong always seemed to me to be an exciting part of that journey. I am glad I came to HK and have settled down now that I have two young children.
Tell us about your company, Little Freddie.
The company is named after my 2-year old son Freddie, who is the Chief Tasting Officer. It’s an organic baby food company devoted to the purest and most natural European produce. I visited over a hundred farms searching for the best ingredients, with a strong focus on provenance and food safety. It has no additives, no sugar, no GMA and surpasses the EU organic baby food standard. When I grew up in France my mother took me daily to the fresh food markets. I guess that’s still with me.
What inspired you to start Little Freddie?
My wife and I struggled to find pure and tasty baby food while we took our baby travelling. What we found either had ingredients we didn’t like or tasted horrible. We thought there must be so many parents out there thinking the same thing and so Little Freddie was founded.
How do you encourage your kids to eat healthy?
We are very fortunate that both our kids are great eaters. We can think of three things which may have helped:
- Put it in your mouth & chew it. If you don’t like it you can spit it out. More often than not they begrudgingly admit they like it.
- We have an allotment in Yuen Long where we grow our own vegetables (with a little help from the friendly farmer). The kids love eating the vegetables they pick themselves.
- I cook one meal every weekend with both my kids to get them involved in the process, if they cook it, they are far more likely to eat it.
How did you find out your wife was pregnant each time?
First time my wife rang me in the middle of the night whilst on a business trip in London. Second time, I heard the scream of surprise from the bathroom.
What was your reaction to the news both times?
First time, I may have shed a tear.
Second time, complete shock.
How did you choose your kids’ names?
My mother insisted my son was named after my paternal grandfather. We were given no other option…
Who is more like you, your son or your daughter?
My daughter can be theatrical, determined, impulsive, moody and persistent. I am told she takes after me.
What’s your favourite part of your parenting routine?
Without question, it’s bath time. Once I jump in too there’s quite a splash! Although I have stopped crying when the shampoo gets in my eyes.
Who’s the stickler and who’s the softie between you and your wife?
It’s not that simple. Cross-cultural marriages bring extra tensions. What I find important, my wife feels is trivial. And vice-versa. Children are smart…they learn how to use this to their advantage!
Favorite activities in Hong Kong to do with your family?
Star Ferry and The Peak Tram…I’m milking them for as long as I can.
What are your favorite kid-friendly restaurants in Hong Kong?
Might seem an odd choice, but we find Nobu to be very kid-friendly for Sunday lunch, especially tables by the entrance where the noise of your kids will be drowned out by all the other kids. We also like Ye Shanghai in PP and Din Tai Fung in CWB (get there early).
How do you balance work and family life?
With great difficulty. Since my wife and I work together, we are more flexible with our time. One of us will drop off or pick up the kids once a week, and we both make a special effort to attend their school events. Weekends we reserve almost exclusively as family time.
How do you keep the romance alive after having kids?
We travel a lot together so have plenty of alone time!
What’s the hardest part of being a dad in Hong Kong?
My childhood was full of the great outdoors. I’m a mad keen mountain biker. I summited Mount Everest.
I would love more garden and exercise space in Hong Kong for the children to get amongst the rough and tumble. Our family holidays in Australia are a great antidote.
What’s the best part of being a dad, in Hong Kong?
Having grown up in countries where the domestic chores take up so much of your free time, I am grateful for the support we get at home. Leaves me with more quality time to spend with the kids.
What traits do you hope you pass down to your kids?
Tolerance and multicultural values. Determination and self-belief. The French joi de vivre.
What do you wish someone had told you about parenting before you became a father? Biggest lesson learned?
Never wake a sleeping child. Ever. An empty cardboard box is just as much fun to a 2 year old as a $1,000 toy car. Try to say No less often. Re-word it into positive action.
What’s the best piece of parenting advice you have received?
Acknowledge your child’s feeling. Show empathy. It helps to guide their behaviour.
Funniest parenting story?
For a year Amelia kept telling us that a lizard had crawled into the air con but we never believed her. Until we had it cleaned.
How have kids changed the way you define work?
It’s no longer just about us. You can’t help but to have an eye on the future once kids are on the scene.
Do you have any tips for soon-to-be dads?
Tick the leather option for your new car – easier to wipe off the vomit/kids artwork. Throw away all marker pens – they WILL find them and they WILL draw on your favourite sofa.
Favourite date night spots with your wife?
Sushi Sase if we are feeling flush. We also like Upper House, the Swiss restaurant at The Peninsula and Fan Tang in Causeway Bay.
Something you do that you swore you’d never do when you become a parent?
Let them watch TV.
Your parenting secret weapon when all else fails?
Do you hope your kids carry on the Little Freddie legacy one day?
I have a say in this…?
What’s the one thing you want your children to grow up knowing?
At the end of the day, very few things in life truly matter. Above all, maintain a positive outlook and try not to worry which achieves very little.
All photos taken in the above article were taken by talented photographer Sakshi Verma of Sakshi Verma Photography.