Culinary Luminary

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Remmington “Remmi” Smith, an 11-year-old culinary whiz kid, hosts her own cooking show, Cook Time With Remmi, on cable channel 20 in Tulsa and on Cox Cable channel 3 in Oklahoma City. She’s been named “20 to Watch” by the Century Council. Apple recognized her as one of six “rock star learners.” But the only thing that really matters is that serious epicureans think she’s got the magic touch. She truly loves cooking. She’s also the most articulate 11-year-old you’ll ever meet.

Oklahoma Magazine: Remmi, you’re 10 and…
RS: I just turned 11.

OM: Right. My bad. You’re 11. How old were you when you caught the cooking bug?
RS: I started cooking when I was four. I started helping in the kitchen, and over the years I’ve gotten better and at around eight I started cooking full meals by myself.

OM: It must have come to you pretty naturally.
RS: When I was younger, my mom would always cook in the kitchen, so she decided to put me to use. After I tried it one day I kind of fell in love with it.

OM: Indulge me with a necessary question. What’s your favorite recipe?
RS: Angel hair pasta with tomato pancetta sauce.

OM: Is that something that somebody with no cooking experience could make pretty easily?
RS: Yeah. It’s pretty easy and delicious.

OM: Do you see cooking as an art form?
RS: Yeah, I do. Not everybody can know how to cook. Cooking is not just cutting up apples. With cooking, you have to know what it means to you. If cooking isn’t what you can do, then it’s not your thing. It’s an art because you have to master certain things in order to do it.

OM: Looking to the future, do you think you’ll make a career out of cooking?
RS: Yeah, but I also want to learn photography. I’ll keep cooking because I love to eat. It’s my strongest passion. But I’ll find other interests.

OM: I’ve seen your show. Not only are you an expert cook, but you’re also a natural performer. Tell me about that.
RS: From the performing aspect, I don’t really think about the camera. I pretend that it’s just my family watching me and my mom is there supporting me. Whenever I get nervous I just laugh it off. But I don’t really get nervous much. Sometimes when I forget to say something I just mention it on the show. But I don’t really memorize the show. I make it mine.

OM: Have you ever dropped food on the floor when cooking?
RS: Many times.

OM: Is there such a thing as a five-second rule?
RS: No.

OM: Darn. On your show you really do put an emphasis on healthy eating.
RS: Healthy eating isn’t the most attractive thing to many kids, but (because of) the childhood obesity epidemic, I’ve been kind of interested in that. It’s a big deal right now. My mom says I’m one of the healthiest kids she’s ever met. I think that if kids cook healthy, they’ll eat healthy. That’s one of the objectives of the show. I also show that cooking is fun and that kids can do it.

OM: I like it.
RS: Oh, and I have to tell you that my all-time favorite food is strawberries. And my worst subject is science.

OM: Who needs science when they cook well?

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