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Remmi Smith

Cooking up healthy choices

Could you imagine being the star of your own cooking show at just 10 years old? That's the reality for cooking sensation Remmi Smith. This young chef launched her cooking website in April 2009 and was an instant success. But, you won't find a peanut butter and jelly sandwich recipe on "Cook Time with Remmi." Instead, you'll see recipes like gazpacho soup, frisée salad with goat cheese and pistachios, and roasted Brussels sprouts with pine nuts! Bon appétit!

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How old are you?

I am 10 years old.

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What grade are you in?

I am in fifth grade.

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Where is your hometown?

I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but I was born in Yang Jiang, China and was born in the year of the dragon.

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When did you start cooking and what inspired you to start?

I started cooking when I was about four years old. I just started out washing vegetables and making salads. When I got older, like eight years old, I started making full meals by myself. I got inspired to cook because I like to experiment with different foods and I love to eat too! I have become even more interested in cooking since I read about the childhood obesity issue. I think if kids would learn to cook, they would probably eat healthier.

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Tell us the story behind “Cook Time with Remmi.”

Well, “Cook Time with Remmi” is a show for kids taught by kids. In 2009, I started the show because of the childhood obesity epidemic. I did a lot of research into the issue and found there were no kids cooking shows. I think if kids knew how to cook foods that they are being told they should eat, they would eat healthier.

In each of my shows I make healthy meals that are easy and fun to make for kids and their families. I have a new series called “The Culinary Kid.” In the new series, I have a partnership with Oklahoma State University IT Culinary Arts Program. The school is helping with the show because they want to support healthier eating habits for children and their families. In the new series, each week I am learning a new cooking method, like sautéing, braising, and I even learned “en papillote,” a French phrase meaning “steaming in paper.”

I am still fixing healthy and complete meals in the show but I am also showing the audience true cooking methods. And, if I can learn these cooking methods, anyone can learn them.

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What is the coolest part about hosting your own cooking show?

The coolest part about hosting my own cooking show is cooking because I love to cook. It’s also cool that I know that this is my dream. Of course, another cool part is eating the food afterward! I also want to make a difference and let kids know that cooking can be challenging but also very fun. I hope I can influence kids and families to realize that cooking is an important skill to have and it will also help you eat healthier.

Because of the show I have also gotten a lot of interesting opportunities. Last year I was one of seven kids selected by Apple as a “Rockstar Learner” and was part of their national Leadership Education Conference. I have been given the opportunity to make many public appearances where I demonstrate my cooking skills. I currently write a monthly culinary column for Tulsa Kids Magazine. I have been nationally recognized twice by the Amazing Kid of the Month’s "Launch My Dream" contest where I created the C.H.E.F. challenge (that stands for Cook Healthy Exercise Frequently). This month, I will demonstrate and prepare a meal for a fundraiser opportunity at the Tulsa Food Bank. I am very honored to have been asked to do this for my community.

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What is your favorite thing to cook?

My favorite thing to make is my signature pasta — angel hair pasta with tomato pancetta sauce. It is not only my favorite thing to make, but it’s also one of my favorite things to eat.

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What is the best way for someone to start cooking?

Well you should start out simple, with a salad. Salads are very easy to make. You have to basically put some fruit and veggies in a bowl with some lettuce and then toss it. Add your dressing (any kind) right before you serve it or else it will be soggy. You probably don’t want a soggy salad. Then you take baby steps and just keep challenging yourself a little more each time. But, be careful when using the oven or stove.

Even though most cooking shows on TV are taught by adults, you can still learn a lot from the shows. Start out by following recipes. Then once you are more comfortable in the kitchen you can experiment with different foods and recipes. That is when the fun begins. Creating your own dishes and selecting the ingredients can be very rewarding when you create a delicious dish.

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How has your family supported you and “Cook Time with Remmi”?

My mom is full-time executive producer and cheers me on every time I film. My dad, my two brothers, and my four sisters cheer me on when they know I am filming. Also, they do not always like it, but my sisters do my chores when I am filming.

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Where do you see yourself in the future?

In the future I hope to be on the Food Network, own my own restaurant, and be a master chef. I also love writing and I would also like to be a food critic. All things food!

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Do you have a role model? Who is it and why?

Rachel Ray is my role model because she kind of has the same vision as I do. She makes cooking fun and she cooks healthy and easy meals.

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Besides cooking, what do you do to stay active and healthy?

I usually play basketball and volleyball. I also rollerblade and go running with my parents. I am active in gymnastics and it is my favorite sport.

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What advice do you have for other girls on achieving their dreams?

Work hard and believe in yourself. You can do it. When I was four I didn’t expect to have my own show.  But now I look at myself and think, “Wow, my dream has come true.”

Content last reviewed February 01, 2011
Page last updated February 01, 2011

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.

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