11-year-old to compete on Food Network
MADISON — Young Andrew Clark has transitioned from baking blueberry pies for Thanksgiving to competing on the brand-new season of the Food Network’s Kids Baking Championship.
The big feat is that he’s only 11 years old.
The new season of Kids Baking Championship will be hosted by Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelli, and will start on Monday, Dec. 28 at 8 p.m. The championship will last for 10 weeks, and the last baker standing in the competition will win a $25,000 prize.
Clark has been auditioning for this competition since December of last year, and was one of 30,000 kids to audition.
His episodes have already been filmed, and baking on set was a lot different than baking things at home.
COVID-19 restrictions were in place, requiring social distancing. Masks and gloves were also required to be worn on set.
Becky Bowens, a youth specialist for the Madison Branch of the Madison County Library System, interviewed Clark about competing in the Food Network competition.
He told Bowens that a lot of calls and casting had to take place, and it was late July when he received confirmation he would be on the show.
Bowens said Clark has participated in programs at the Madison Library before, such as baking cookies for kids and teaching them to decorate desserts. He also made a “cake of the world” for the Kindness Club program. This past summer for the pandemic, he created virtual baking tutorial videos for the library, where he made a cactus and duck cake.
She said she feels Clark has a great shot at winning the competition and couldn’t be more excited to watch the episodes starting on Dec. 28.
“Andrew has a God-given talent for baking. His only advice to people is to not give up,” she said. “We will be rooting for him and cheering him on as hard as we can.”
Clark confirmed that there will be 10 episodes of the show, and one chef gets eliminated at the end of each episode. On the last episode, only three chefs will remain and the fight for the money will begin.
“It’s very hot on set, and there were tons of things we had to do differently because of the pandemic restrictions,” Clark said. “It was so much different than baking at home.”
When Clark was just four years old, he baked a blueberry pie for Thanksgiving, and he said it turned out pretty good.
His inspiration to bake came from YouTube videos and the Food Network itself, where he watched Chef Nancy Fuller make a chocolate chip ice box cookie cake, and he wanted to make it himself.
When he was seven, Clark wanted to take a business approach to his baking, and it really got serious when he was around eight or nine years old.
The first place he sold his goods was at the Madison Farmer’s Market. He’s also appeared at the Canton Market.
Clark is also promoting some new products as well, such as cookie kits that come with icing and sprinkles, and there’s already a couple of people who have ordered on Instagram.
Clark is homeschooled. He finishes all his schoolwork in the mornings and does his baking around lunchtime so he can play with his friends for the rest of the afternoon. His favorite things to bake are macaroons and pastries.
“I just want to tell everyone to never give up, no matter what,” he said. “I auditioned for the Kids Baking Championship three different times before I got in. Don’t give up.”
The first two episodes of Kids Baking Championship on the Food Network will premiere on Dec. 28 at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. central time. To contact Clark about his baking and products, message him through his Instagram at @thechefandrewclark. Due to the pandemic, he is currently taking orders from home.