12-year old Tavia Isaac from Chester, Pennsylvania, had a big secret that she had to keep for four months. The secret was that she was chosen as the top winner on Food Network’s “Chopped Junior” show but she couldn’t tell anyone until the showed aired four months later back in August 2016. She won $10,000, and officially earned her title as a chef.
Food Network’s “Chopped Junior” show features children age 9-15 highlighting their cooking skills. Four young chefs are given 3-5 ingredients and 30 minutes to create a winning dish. Last April, Chef Tavia was selected as the top winner. Her dish included brown butter cornish hen, sautéed asparagus and brussel sprouts with blueberry ketchup, grilled minute steak with dragon tongue beans as an appetizer, and for dessert, cherry tart with banana meringue.
Chef Tavia comes from a family that loves to cook, including her mother, Crystal, and her grandmother. When she was just 8 years old, she and her mother watched “Chopped” together, and that is how she learned to cook. When Isaac found out she was going to be on the show, she practiced every week with her grandmother, who would give her baskets of unusual foods and time her on how long it took to prepare a dish. The practice paid off big time, to the tune of $10,000.
With the money she won, Chef Tavia took her family on a vacation, bought her brother a laptop, and gave presents to other family members. But she also donated some of her winnings to a local charity for the homelesss.
Other opportunities have been opened up to her, she says she would like to host her own cooking show someday with her mother. In the meantime, she is enjoying being a celebrity!