Kids 8–12 hijacked The Chef Upstairs’ Mt. Pleasant Road kitchen July 3 to raise awareness for the Moms Helping Moms campaign from the World Food Program.
The cook-off featured 12 kids making breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner, using sponsor Tilda’s rice and getting the chance to work alongside chef René Brunet.
Guest judge and Rogers TV personality Sonia Sache said she was delighted by the cuisine-savvy children taking part, and their interest in eating right.
“We’re trying to raise awareness about fighting hunger around the world, especially in developing countries,” she said, adding that the “up-and-coming youth chefs” were also learning “the importance of nutrition at an early age.”
One such chef-in-training was 12-year-old Daniel Hamilton, who has his own YouTube channel and website called Quiteabite.com. The Bathurst and Eglinton native has been cooking since he was 4 and has appeared on the national TV show Rachael vs. Guy Kids Cook Off.
Daniel heard about the Moms Helping Moms campaign through Sache and wanted to take part, as well as hone his kitchen art skills.
“The thing I like about cooking is creating and doing your own thing,” he said. “Someone else can do the cooking for you, but it’s different when you do it yourself.”
He shared an anecdote about how he surprised his mom, Sandra, one day when she was too tired to cook.
“She was sleeping on the couch, and I told her I would make her some food, and she probably thought I was going to make her a sandwich but I made her baked salmon with asparagus and eggplant,” he said, with his mom by his side.
“I didn’t know if I should be angry because he used the stove without me being there,” Sandra put in. “I was surprised that he cooked that.
“I was happy because it was good. I had all of these mixed emotions.”
The Chef Upstairs owner Greg Heller said he was more than happy to participate in the Moms Helping Moms.
“It’s a great cause, and we do a lot of work with kids,” he said.
Bringing home top prize for the event was 12-year-old Orla Romano. Second place went to Coco Cockburn and third to Ciara Romano.
Chef Brunet said he was impressed by the young foodies.
“Some of these kids are going to be involved in the food industry, no doubt,” he said. “It comes naturally to them.”
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