Neil Patrick Harris Throws Chopped-Style Cooking Playdates for His Twins
Neil Patrick Harris has set the bar high for his kids’ afternoon play dates.
While appearing at the Heineken Light tent during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival on Saturday, the actor revealed that he and husband David Burtka recently hosted a full-blown cooking competition playdate for their six-year-old twins, Harper and Gideon.
“David just threw our version of a Chopped Junior competition in the kitchen with our kids and two of their friends each, so six kids total,” Harris told PEOPLE during the festival’s Grand Tasting. “They had baskets with ingredients that they didn’t know, and they teamed up in groups.”
The food-loving parents made sure the kids’ competition was as official as possible: “The teams each had a mentor—David’s culinary assistant Susan and Michael Symon‘s sous chef—because that’s how we roll sometimes,” Harris laughed. “They had all these special ingredients, and I was the sole judge, and they did three courses.”
As to the difficult role of playing judge to his kids, Harris created category winners so that each team went home with a prize. “I gave acknowledgements for different reasons. Harper and her teammate won for best plating because it really was impressive plating. And Gideon and his friend won the best overall,” he says.
The A Series of Unfortunate Events actor, 43, admits that Gideon received the big prize because he prepared his father’s favorite snack.
“I was really impressed that they remembered I loved nachos so much—it’s kind of my kryptonite,” Harris says. In fact, the actor loves the dish so much, he’s always trying to improve his own version. “I’m trying to perfect the nacho because there is an innate problem with it. You need the cheese to be real and yet liquid-y. Malleable.”
WATCH THIS: Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka Talk Cooking in the Kitchen
While on the topic of food, Harris—who hosted the Academy Awards in 2015—also predicted whether Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel would have a new food stunt during the awards on Sunday, like Chris Rock’s Girl Scout cookie sell-a-thon and Ellen DeGeneres’ delivery pizza prank from previous years.
“Maybe airplane bottles of alcohol. It seems like the crowd would appreciate that more than a Thin Mint,” joked Harris, who is a spokesperson for Heineken Light. Upon further reflection, he realized that might not be the best idea to warm up the audience. “Although, the crowd fills in with non-winners at the Oscars so it gets a little surly by the last half hour.”