Chopped Junior champ Claire Hollingsworth says cooking is a family affair

568dd4f374357.image January 25 — “Baking and cooking has always been something that we have done together as a family,” says Claire Hollingsworth, winner of the grand prize on the January 5, 2016 episode of Chopped Junior. “The kitchen has always been the heart of our home — literally, it is in the center of our house.”

Cooking is also near and dear to her heart, she adds. “When I was little, my father was a stay-at-home dad and let me help with the food prep. He didn’t make me feel like a kid who wasn’t allowed to cook. He taught me to bake first, and that was yummy. Then, when he returned to work, my brother, mom and I were involved when it came to making dinner. I loved it because we’d talk about our day while we were cooking our meal.  My dad was always buying new vegetables for us to try. I liked the challenge of learning about new foods, then cutting, chopping them, and tasting the results.”

Here’s are tips on how you can do the same: 

  1. Never be scared about how your dish will turn out because if it doesn’t taste good or you burn it, try again and learn from it.  My dad always said, “We can eat cereal if this dish doesn’t work out.”
  2. Don’t be fooled by how easy things look on the cooking shows you watch on TV. Although the dishes always seem to turn out perfectly, that’s just the magic of editing. They can stop the camera and start over, and you’ll never know it thanks to the magic of the editing process. Those celebrity chefs make plenty of mistakes, too!
  3. If you really want to learn to be creative in the kitchen — experiment. Look in the fridge for a main ingredient you want to eat, then go through cookbooks or look online for a recipe.
  4. For fun, change one thing in the recipe — like a spice or a fruit or a seasoning. I love experimenting!
  5. Remember tip #1! Sometimes my experiments work out — sometimes they do not.  One of the best desserts I ever made was a chocolate brownie marshmallow parfait. But I didn’t intend for that to be desert! I messed up the brownies I was baking, and I repurposed them. The result was even better. I love cooking!