By Kate Parsons Proctor
Special to the Reporter
Monday nights on the Food Network Channel just got a bit more exciting with teen baker Natasha Jiwani from Bellevue participating as a contestant on this season’s Kids Baking Championship. Jiwani is also an incoming eighth-grader at The Overlake School in Redmond.
Her prize if she wins? A feature in Food Network magazine, $25,000 and the claim as Kids Baking Champion.
Kids Baking Championship, hosted and judged by Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelli, challenges bakers to create new and elaborate creations each week under a strict time limit of a few hours. Jiwani, who bakes better than most adults, was only 13 when the show filmed in New Orleans.
“I applied for the show because I used to watch it all the time,” Jiwani said about what prompted her to sign up for the competition.
In the first episode, Jiwani had to make 12 selfie-ready eclairs. Toward the end, the judges threw in a twist. Jiwani had to come up with a hashtag that described her. Her choice was #sprinkle.
Jiwani, who is the self-proclaimed baker of her family, said that her favorite things to bake are cakes and macarons, but she mentioned that “cakes are easier than macarons because macarons are hard to perfect.”
Her love of cakes came in handy during the second episode. Jiwani was challenged to create an illusion cake. She whipped up a vanilla confetti cake with a butter cream frosting. The twist this time she had to incorporate ginger. Quick on her feet, Jiwani incorporated a ginger pastry cream into her cake to meet the requirements of the challenge.
“Nice and fluffy, I love the flavor… and it’s beautiful to look at,” said judge Bertinelli about Jiwani’s illusion cake.
“This is a really good cake,” said judge Goldman.
The judges were so impressed with Jiwani’s cake, they awarded her first place in the challenge.
Jiwani said her favorite part about being a contestant on Kids Baking Championship was that it was “so fun to meet all the kids and Duff and Val. Everyone was so supportive, super nice, and easy to talk to.” She became fast friends with the other bakers on the show.
The hardest part about the competition was that it was “stressful because you didn’t want to go home, but you didn’t want your friends to go home,” said Jiwani.
Jiwani started baking after she was inspired by her grandma who would bake cakes every time people came over.
“I just became interested and I started helping her out whenever she would bake,” said Jiwani. Her love of baking exploded from there. Now the young baker whips up delicious desserts for her friends and family, although she has no long-term goals for baking as of yet.