Pearland baker, 11, in Food Network spotlight
The New Year will get off to a sweet start for Gavin Crawford when he debuts Jan. 7 as a contestant on a TV show called “Kids Baking Championship” on the Food Network.
The winner of the weekly competition will “take the cake” on the show’s March 11 finale, earning $25,000, a feature in Food Network Magazine and the title of Kids Baking Champion.
The 11-year-old from Pearland began filming the show in August in New Orleans but until now was sworn to secrecy about his appearance.
“It was hard, but I managed it,” said the son of Gerald and Felicia Crawford.
The young baker is a sixth-grader at Nolan Ryan Junior High School.
His family, which includes an older brother, Grant, 15, will host a watch party for the premiere episode, to be broadcast at 8 p.m. Jan. 7. Its guests will get to taste cupcakes with bacon and marzipan, like ones that Crawford and his 11 opponents had to bake for their first challenge.
“I love bacon. I have it every morning for breakfast, but I was very nervous because I had never worked with (marzipan),” Gavin said.
Throughout the show’s 10 episodes, in which a baker will be eliminated each week, the competitors will show off their skills and creativity as they whip up confections that range from “freaky flavor” tarts using ingredients such as jalapeno, goat cheese yuzu and anise, to dramatically erupting monkey-bread volcanoes.
The hosts, Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldman, will mentor the bakers.
In a statement, the president of Food Network, Courtney White, said, “Even the most skilled pastry chefs would crumble under the pressure. The abilities of the young bakers to create outstanding treats is truly remarkable.”
Gavin said he enjoyed watching previous seasons of “Kids Baking Championship.” So, he applied online by answering questions and submitting a video of a number of desserts he baked.
In kitchen since age 3
Gavin began cooking with his mother when he was 3 years old.
“The first thing I made was muffins,” he said, “We didn’t have any vegetable oil,” so he added tropical punch to the recipe. “It was pretty good.”
At age 4, Gavin baked chocolate-chip cookies.
While in the Big Easy filming the competition, he and the other competitors, who ranged in age from 9 to 13, toured a number of local bakeries.
“It was inspiring to be around other kids who have the same dream and talent as you do,” Gavin said. “My dream is to become a famous pastry chef.”
He added that his favorite entrée is fried chicken.
Viewers can preview many of the show’s dramatic moments in video and photo highlights at https://bit.ly/2V3mYbh and go behind the scenes with Bertinelli and Duff Goldman to discover baking tips at #KidsBakingChampionship.
Don Maines is a freelance writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org