12 year old Scarlett Smorynski was honored to have been able to compete and win season 1 of Rachel Rays Kids Cook Off. This homeschooled 7th grader received both $20,000 and her own web series on foodnetwork.com titled This Cali Kid Can Cook.
“I do crossfit-weightlifting, and play basketball,” said Scarlett.
Right now, her web series is called ‘Scarlett Cooking’.
“Being the winner has given me a lot of opportunities, like food and video stuff,” she said.
“Well, the show I won was just the 3 webisodes for Food Network’s YouTube channel. It was a lot of fun to do. I also have my own YouTube channel, which I share recipes to teach kids and adults how to cook,” is what she said when I asked her about her favorite part of having her own web series.
“It was filmed in NYC, over a weekend,” is what she said about her web series. “We had to go in to Food Network kitchen, which was awesome. It was long days, but fun, too. And, meeting the chefs was sooooo cool.”
This is what Scarlett said about the audition process. “First, you fill out an online form about me; I had added pics and some YouTube videos. After that, there was a phone call, then several Skype interviews. It was stressful, but exciting.”
“The learning experience and meeting my favorite chefs and getting new friends,” is what she said when I asked her about her favorite part about competing.
She didn’t really care about the cameras following her every move. “It didn’t really affect me; I just focused on what I was doing, cooking and talking about it.”
Knowing that people were watching didn’t make her nervous. “…I wasn’t really thinking about it. I was thinking about the food!”
Each week for six weeks, eight kid chefs would showcase their talents by competing in a series of two challenges per week. The first challenge would be to get immunity, which meant the winner who got it would be staying in the competition for the next week no matter what happened in the second challenge. In that challenge, the junior chefs would be faced with another grueling challenge, and that week’s guest judge who also judged the immunity challenge of that week would help Rachel Ray, the show’s host, pick the winner of that week who would be moving on the immunity winner. The two judges would also pick the unfortunate competitor who would be eliminated and wouldn’t be continuing on in the competition.
“It’s all the magic of TV!” Scarlett told me.
She nailed the final episode’s challenge. “The challenge was to make a dish that represented you and your point of view for the Chopped judges.” She received the help of one of her previous competitors that had gotten eliminated. Sabrina Richard, this soux chef of hers, assisted Scarlett in creating her lamb chops with stuffed arancini avocado sauce, pickled daikon and carrots and cucumber kimchi.
“They were all great!” said Scarlett about her competitors. “You experience each person differently, and that’s what makes it interesting.”
“No words can describe how surprised, excited, emotional I was. Oh wait, those are words!” was her reaction when she won.
“It’s for my culinary education!” said Scarlett about the prize money.
“Well, I definitely want to be a chef, own my own restaurants, and be a TV chef as well,” she said.
“I got to be on a bunch of talk shows; that was cool. It made me confident to pursue cooking more!”
Scarlett described how and why she first got into cooking. “Well, my parents can’t cook, so I watched Food Network and started trying things.”
“There is so much variety and every culture has their own way of cooking,” said Scarlett about her favorite part of cooking. “It’s a big part of each culture; you literally can’t live without food!”
She’s not really sure what her style of cooking is because she loves so many.
Asking her about the best dish she could prepare is, “like asking an artist what’s their favorite piece of art!” she said.
“Food Network chefs have motivated me the most, but I am certainly finding a lot of great chefs on YouTube.”
Scarlett, thank you so much for everything!!!!! Don’t change anything about yourself because you’re amazing just the way you are, and please keep cooking!!!!!