Sophia Sarros, 12, has been helping out in the kitchen and cooking as long as she can remember, and soon the whole country will have a chance to check out her skills.
Sarros will be on an upcoming episode of Food Network’s cooking competition ‘Chopped Junior’ on Tuesday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. Appearing on the show had been Sarros’s dream since she was 8 and she had a lot of fun turning that dream into a reality.
“I think it went great,” Sarros said. “I had a ton of fun, I met amazing people and it was less nerve-wracking than I thought it would be actually because there were so many people encouraging me and lifting me up. Of course, during the competition I felt nervous, but it was more of the excited kind of nervous instead of like an ‘I’m going to fail’ nervous.”
The journey to the show took some time. Sarros first entered the competition when she was 9 but heard back earlier this year. After some Skype conversations and interviews, she was told she made the cut.
“It was amazing. I loved every second of it,” she said. “I got to work with my peers who were also on the show, and I’m still friends with them and keep in contact with them. It was an overall great experience and I got to meet so many amazing people that are awesome chefs.”
While in New York, Sarros had a chance to see the sights,
try out some of the city’s famous restaurants and even got to check out the hit
Broadway musical “Hamilton,” which she highly recommends.
Sarros couldn’t say much about what happened on the show but said she had to cook a meal using ranch dressing, even though she admitted to being more of a vinaigrette person.
“I had to make something with ranch dressing, and honestly, it was quite weird, but fun nonetheless,” she said.
When asked if she considered cooking to be more science or art, Sarros said she thinks it falls into categories, which works out because she has an interest in both.
She said while measuring ingredients and converting amounts to and from metric and imperial is a science, she also has the freedom to experiment and try new things.
“I bake a lot,” Sarros said. “I love to bake because I can really experiment a lot, and the majority of the time when I bake I never follow the recipe, I just do the basic, straight-forward recipe then add a bunch of crazy things to it.”
Experimenting in the kitchen has been a constant for Sarros her whole life.
“I’ve been cooking pretty much my entire life,” she said. “My mom has taught me the majority of what I know, and my grandma’s taught me a bunch of Greek recipes. I’ve always loved cooking. I’m always experimenting in the kitchen with different ingredients. Even when I was little, my parents would let me mix, chop with plastic knives until I got into the bigger ones that actually have the potential to cut your finger off.”
Her dad, Phil, said he has always known about his daughter’s skills in the kitchen but said he might be even more proud of her taking the initiative to get on the show.
“For me, of course as a father, I always know how much talent my own child has and want to build that up,” he said. “For her to have an opportunity to show that off to the world, it fills me with pride. I know these opportunities come along every once in a while.
“She’s worked hard and it’s something she went after. Outside of the fact that I’m proud of how well she cooks and how well she performs the task of cooking, I’m just proud of how much of herself goes into what she prepares. It’s a representation of who she is.”
Now, Sarros is just waiting for the episode to debut and is excited to see how it turns out.
“I am extremely excited, because, like I said, it’s been my dream since I was 8 years old,” she said. “I just want to know how those amazing editors and everyone behind the scenes takes all that footage together.”