If your nanny isn’t a chef . . .

If your nanny serves mac and cheese instead of citrus-glazed salmon and a gluten-free kale salad, hire a nanny consultant to turn the sitter into a chef, advises the New York Times in its Style section.

Don’t have time to sneer at the affluent kale-snappers? Allison Benedikt will handle it — free! — on Slate’s XX blog.

For $2,500, the upper-class New York City family gets 30 to 40 recipes based on their child’s eating habits and “areas for improvement,” plus shopping and cooking instruction for the nanny.

(A consultant will) come to your home for a two-day cooking demonstration, during which your nanny, who up until now has been eating all the wrong peaches, will learn how to debone a fish, cook Tunisian couscous with braised carrots, and make cinnamon ice cream with toasted almonds.

Erela Yashiv, 5, “likes pizza and cupcakes,” reports the Times. Mom wants her daughter to “adopt a more refined and global palate, whether it’s a gluten-free kale salad or falafel made from organic chickpeas.”

Both parents work and don’t have the time. And their Wisconsin-bred nanny “does not always know the difference between quinoa and couscous.”

Some nannies “are throwing chicken fingers in the oven, or worse, the microwave,” a consultant tells the Times.

So how did Erela’s parents even let it get to this point, where their young child actually likes pizza? asks Benedikt.

“We were too basic with her food in the beginning, so we want marc&mark to help us explore more sophisticated food that has some diversity and flavor,” [Johnson] said. “I don’t want her growing up not liking curry because she never had it.”

“Thankfully, Johnson and her husband caught the curry deficiency in time and were able to get the outside help they need,” writes Benedikt.

When the nanny moves on, she’ll be able to command a higher wage because of her skill in quinoa identification, adds Matt Yglesias.

Commenter Chris Hayes suggests the New York Times rename its Style section “First Up Against the Wall.”

Arts grads are in demand — as nannies

Affluent parents are hiring college graduates as nannies, writes Katy Waldman on Slate.

Fine arts diplomas are especially in-demand, because of the “level of creativity” they bring to childcare. (Whilst other nannies are gluing noodles onto construction paper, presumably, MFA grads can teach your kids how to make the latest Frank Gehry building out of play dough.) Parents also swoon for guardians who can scold their children in several languages, especially Mandarin Chinese.

The ultimate nanny has a master’s degree.

Unemployed teachers find work as nannies

Parents are paying $15 to $20 an hour for nannies with teaching degrees, reports the Chicago Tribune.  Some of the new nannies were laid off after years in the classroom. Others are new graduates who’ve discovered schools aren’t hiring.

After more than 30 years as a special-education teacher in the Chicago area, Olivia Romine was laid off in June.

After unsuccessfully applying for teaching positions at school districts in the fall, Romine, 55, recently posted a profile on child-care job sites, including care.com and sittercity.com. She holds a master’s degree in administrative education.

“I’m not going to get a public school job because I’m too old and I’m too expensive,” she said. “I went into teaching to help kids, so either way — if I’m a nanny, tutor, baby sitter, au pair, whatever — I still feel like I’m helping the kids.”

Only one third to one quarter of  Illinois State University education graduates finds a teaching job these days. The rest are encouraged to apply for related jobs, such as day-care provider, and hope for better times.

Sarah Simanskey opened a home day-care center while finishing her master’s degree in education at DePaul University.

Pregnant as she searched for jobs after graduation, Simanskey quickly realized that if she went back to work, she would pay more for her child’s day care than she would earn as a teacher, she said.

She charges $320 to $350 a week for children who attend full time; $85 to $90 a day for part time.

. . . “I’m just teaching in a different way,” she said.

Even in hard times, two-paycheck parents are willing to spend a great deal of money for child care. After all, even mediocre care is expensive.