CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — An 11-year-old from Chesterfield will have an opportunity to show off his skills in the kitchen after appearing on the Food Network’s hit show “Chopped Junior.”
Jake Nelson is one of four contestants competing in next week’s episode. Nelson is a self-taught chef who’s been in the kitchen since he was in diapers.
On Wednesday, 8News spent some time with Nelson ahead of his appearance on the show. It was clear after a cooking demonstration that he’s well beyond his years in the kitchen.
“Once I have a creamy consistency, I’m going to set it down and check on my schnitzel,” Nelson said as he worked in the kitchen.
Nelson, who attends Robious Middle School in Chesterfield County, went to New York City to compete on “Chopped Junior.” He went through a rigorous three month process, which included interviews, Skype sessions and food demos.
“Cooking is like a science, so cooking is like an experiment,” he told 8News.
In the show, contestants are given random ingredients and must use them to make an appetizer, entree and dessert under tight time constraints. After each round, someone gets “chopped.”
“It was super fun, I never expected myself to be there at 11-years-old,” Nelson said of the experience.
Nelson’s parents, Ben Pearson-Nelson and Julie Seitz, are his biggest cheerleaders.
“He can throw together an amazing meal in half an hour,” Pearson-Nelson said.
Cooking has always been a family affair for them and now Jake’s passion for food is about to shine on the big screen.
“Couldn’t be prouder,” Seitz explained. “It’s amazing and I think he’s wonderful.”
To see if Nelson wins the $10,000 cash prize and bragging rights, you can tune in Tuesday, Nov. 12, at 8 p.m. on the Food Network. The family is also hosting a watch party at River City Roll in Richmond.
“I’m excited to watch it,” he said. “I’m a little nervous of what my friends might think but I think it’ll go great.”