Foster '29, a sixth grader, became a nationwide sensation this winter as she appeared on the popular Food Network television program Kids Baking Championship.
A dozen young contestants participate in the show, selected from throughout the nation to create desserts and other sweets. They get to test their baking and business skills. Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldman are the judges, selecting a champion after 10 weeks. This season's program began in late December.
Foster has been fascinated by baking since before she can remember. Her family has photos of her eating cookie dough as an infant. She started using an easy bake oven at just a few years old, advancing to using real ovens with help from her parents.
Kids Baking Championship debuted in early 2015. Not surprisingly, Foster was hooked once she started watching. She applied three times to qualify and the third time was the charm. After a few interviews, a Zoom call, answering questions and baking for producers, she heard the good news: She was in.
“That show was what got me really into baking," Foster said. “It inspired me. I wanted to be that inspiration for younger kids."
Though it airs once a week over the course of the winter, the show is filmed during the summer in Knoxville, Tennessee. Foster advanced to the third round before being eliminated. Despite that disappointment, she thoroughly enjoyed her time competing. She made friends with a group of young students with similar loves, doing fun activities such as attending a culinary camp. She remains friends with other contestants; there are plans to reunite at a water park in Texas this summer.
Watching the show, and hearing about it from friends, has admittedly been a bit odd, since she already lived it and knew what happened. Still, she is enjoying watching because it has brought back found memories from last summer.
The show also showed her what it might be like to be a professional in the food business, and she liked the taste. She dreams of running her own store down the road. She's already on the right path; she runs a small business named Dessert Before Dinner.
Her most popular item: A 6-inch, three-layer chocolate cake with vanilla American buttercream.
What is the key to being a good baker? Have fun try, try, trying again.
“You just need persistence," she said.