There are a lot of things to deal with at 11: Getting through grade school, homework and literal days of standardized testing. But Sabrina Richard has an extra challenge: Getting to the last round of Rachel Ray's Kids Cook-Off. She's been way into cooking since watching the biography of food media's most famous figure, and we can't wait to see how far she goes in this season of the show. Stay tuned to Food Network to catch our hometown hero. In the meantime, get better acquainted with this petite choux of a sweet kid with these ten questions as she inches closer to food fame.
NUVO: What first sparked your interest in cooking?
Sabrina Richard: I always watched Food Network and cooking shows growing up. About four years ago my mom and I watched the movie Julie & Julia. I fell in love with Julia Child. I ran around the house saying her name in her beautiful accent and wanted to learn everything about her and how to cook. Julia Child said "If you can read, you can cook." Well, I could read, so I learned how to cook. Julia taught me that.
NUVO: What kitchen skill has been the most difficult to master so far? How did you discipline yourself to keep practicing even though it was frustrating?
Sabrina: My mom is a wedding planner so I have spent some time working with one of her cake bakers to help me perfect baking. Baking is a science. Cooking is an art. The hardest thing I've tried to master is layered cake. First you have to perfect the cake, and I am not the best baker. (Julia says "Never apologize, no excuses" so I'll just keep practicing).Then you have to perfect and balance the cake. It took me many tries, and seeing so many of my mom's pretty cakes made me want to get better. I admit though, desserts aren't my strongest, but they are super delicious to try over and over!
NUVO: Which food celebrities have you met so far?
Sabrina: Of course I have met Rachael Ray and our first celebrity judge Robert Irvine from Restaurant Impossible. Stay tuned to the series to see how far I advance to see who else I may meet. Just know with every celebrity I made it a point to learn something new. Boy did I!
NUVO: Are you planning on going to culinary school?
Sabrina: I don't know. I admit that. I am only 11, and right now I am just enjoying middle school and this experience. I hope to expand my cooking and learn more in the immediate future and to meet more chefs. I also want to work at events like Rev, Zoobilation or DigIN. All of these are super cool events in our city and have some of my favorite restaurants and chefs at them. My parents always go and I'm jealous I'm not old enough.
NUVO: Imagine you get a chance to cook for the President as a one-night guest chef at the White House. What would you make?
Sabrina: Going to the White House is a dream! The White House Executive Chef Chistera Comerford, is actually a huge hero of mine! She's the first female Executive Chef of the White House and I admire her. I would LOVE to cook there and cook with her! I would prepare Thanksgiving Dinner. Thanksgiving was one of the first meals I prepared for my entire extended family all by myself. I did it 3 years ago and I only needed help taking out the 25 pound turkey out of the oven because it was too heavy. Now every year I'm in charge of Thanksgiving. I love the turkey and making all of the amazing side dishes and dessert. Taking family favorites from my mom's side and my dad's side are both important. That's what Thanksgiving is all about. Can you imagine making a meal like that for the President? Thanksgiving is our country's holiday. We invented it! I first cooked it for my family, and then to cook it for the First Family - it would be such an honor!
NUVO: Three kitchen tools you can't live without and why:
Sabrina: I have three kitchen tools I can't imagine not having in my life: Sky, my beautiful sky blue Kitchen-Aid stand mixer. I've named mine. I use her almost daily. Everything from potatoes, to ice cream, to pasta, to cake, to whipped cream all come out perfectly because of Sky. I have many attachments, and she's mine allllll mine!
I also love my bench scraper. We learned about them from Rachael, and it really helps keep my work space clean and organized!
The Kitchen Spider. I learned about these on the show too. Before this I always dumped out my pasta water and it was heavy (and kind of scary) so sometimes I had my parents help me with it. Now I gently scoop out pasta (or anything else) out of boiling water. They're dreamy — and really made things easier for me!
As soon as I save my pennies — a lot of pennies! — I will add to this list a Le Creuset dutch oven. I mean what fan of Julia Child doesn't need, yes need, one of these? So yes, I can't live without it, but I'm learning how — for now — but not for long I hope.
NUVO: What is one dish you'd be happy to make every day for the rest of your life and why?
Sabrina: Brussels sprouts! I love them and I know how to prepare them a million different ways!
NUVO: There are a lot of similarities between grade school and working the line in a professional kitchen: A variety of personalities, someone always telling you what to do and a lot of time spent doing homework so you can move up. How do your kitchen skills help you deal with the challenges of being a regular kid?
Sabrina: I like school. I have fun. In school I have to deal with math and fractions which help me with cooking. The other day I actually used fractions in choir as well — I thank cooking measurements for that too. There are LOTS of fractions in cooking. There is quite of bit of science too, I kind of like that. Mostly though, I like the history and social studies. I mean think about it, if I want to learn about Italy, let's eat Italian. France — OK Julia Child, teach me! I also think that the responsibility in a kitchen (fire, oil, knives, other people, fire, fire, did I mention fire?) make me have to be responsible. So if I don't get my homework done, my parents know I must be responsible in some area of my life, so I can't exactly use the excuse "I forgot" because, well, they know I didn't.
NUVO: How did your classmates react to your food TV fame?
Sabrina: I admit, most don't know about it, it's not like I ran around telling everyone. How do you do that really? My family says it's important to be humble. My brother Kyle is a super good baseball player and he teaches me about humility on the field, so I want to be the same. One of my teachers announced it before class and my best friends all know, my Girl Scout troop is pumped and my friends at Conner Prairie, where I volunteer, all are super excited. I think once the season premiere airs, it will catch on and get real for people. It still doesn't feel real for me!
NUVO: How can people keep up with you on social media, and when should they watch TV to see you?
Sabrina: Thank you for asking! Rachael Ray's Kids Cook-Off is on Monday nights at 8 p.m. on Food Network.
Facebook: Cooking with Sabrina