MEET OUR CHOPCHOP KIDS ADVISORY BOARD: Janie Wilson

We’re excited to introduce our ChopChop Kids Advisory Board (KAB). This group of cool kids was hand selected from kids that applied. They’ll help us to test recipes, think of new ideas for the magazine, and make sure ChopChop gets the kid approval. For the next few weeks we’ll be spotlighting different members of the board. This week, meet Janie!

In 2014 Janie won the Uncle Ben’s Rice Ben’s Beginners contest for her Turkey Rice Chili. In 2015 she was on Food Network’s Chopped Junior Season One. (Squid Jerky and Hot Pepper Jelly Beans put her on the Chopping Block). Janie also hosts, produces, and edits her own local cooking show on Peabody Access Television with her best friends Jada, Live, Logan, Jill, Jared, and Ryan.

You can read about what Janie thinks the most important step in cooking is here on her recent blog entry for ChopChop. Follow Janie’s cooking adventures here and watch her own cooking show!

Name: Janie Wilson

Location: Peabody, Massachusetts

Age and Grade: 12 years old, 7th grade

How I got involved with the Chop Chop Kids Advisory Board: I met Chop Chop Magazine at an Uncle Ben’s Rice Ben’s Beginners contest in September of 2014. In the fall of 2015 I appeared in their magazine photo shoot. (I’m the girl on the cover holding the chicken). When the applications for being part of the Kids Advisory Board member came out I thought I had to apply. Chop Chop Magazine is so fantastic! Like me, they believe in bringing families together for healthy and happy times.

I learned to cook from: I learned to cook by always being in the kitchen with my family. My parents and grandparents, even my aunts and cousins, always invited me and my sister into the kitchen to help out. I loved being a part of the fun that working together in the kitchen made. We are always laughing and having a good time.

What I love about ChopChop: They believe in the same things I do-encouraging families to cook together, introducing kids to the kitchen early, and they present it in a fun and fabulous way.

Something all kids should learn to cook is: I believe all kids should learn to cook three things, a vegetable, a protein, and a carbohydrate. If you can sauté some vegetables with some chicken and toss it with some rice or pasta, you are providing yourself with a well balanced meal. Then as you grow you can mix it up and add to it to give yourself some variety.

My favorite food is: I don’t like to have a favorite or “go to” food because I think it is good to have variety. I will say though that I do love some good steak and ribs.

If I was a fruit, I would be: A dragon fruit. It is beautiful on the outside, it is such a pretty pink color, vibrant and colorful. Then on the inside it is sweet and once you try it you can’t stay away from it.

My favorite thing to cook is: Vegetables. They are colorful, flavorful, and healthy. You can prepare them in so many ways. Then I like to pair them off with chicken or fish, and add a rice or pasta.

My advice for kids just learning to cook and who may be nervous is:” Get in the Kitchen”! But even more importantly “Get in the Grocery Store”! I believe all kids should be part of the planning, the preparation, and the serving. My advice to parents would be to invite their kids along, encourage them, and let them make mistakes. Being together only makes memories that last a lifetime. I recently learned through my Uncle Rod…. Live, Love, and Have a Good Time!

The first thing I ever cooked was: My favorite first meal to make was Chicken and a Biscuit. It is like an open face Chicken Pot Pie.  (Check out The 3 J’s and That Guy’s Kitchen Episode One for my Chicken and A Biscuit recipe.

A time I messed up a recipe was: Making mistakes in the kitchen is the best education you can get. And who better than your family to give you honest feedback you can learn from? I once made broccoli rabe, and wow was it bitter. It was definitely a lesson that all vegetables are not cooked the same.

My secret ingredient is: I love to use fresh garlic and onion. It provides so much flavor to meals. The secret is knowing just how much to use so it is not overpowering your meal.

Something I didn’t used to like to eat, but I do now, is:  Eggs. Breakfast in my house was hard as on weekend mornings breakfast is definitely family time for us. Scrambled eggs, sausages, potatoes, and cheese bowls with a side of grits is a regular breakfast for us. I would remove mine from the pan before the eggs were added. Now though, I love them!

Some of my hobbies are: When I am not cooking I am dancing with the Aurora Borealis Dance Company or playing Basketball in my town.

What I want to be when I grow up:  I want to go to the Culinary Institute of America, I want to be a Chef, owning my own restaurant and have a television show that encourages others to love cooking and being with their family.