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South River sixth grader is fired up to compete on national cooking show

By VASHTI HARRIS
Staff Writer

SOUTH RIVER – Aproned up and ready to dish out some classics off the grill, sixth grader and aspiring chef Tyler Cappelluti will compete on the Food Network show “Kids BBQ Championship.”

Tyler will be featured on episode four titled “Global Grillers,” which will air at 8 p.m. May 22, competing alongside three other young chefs for a chance to win $10,000 and barbeque glory.

Hosted by new co-host Damaris Phillips and returning co-host Eddie Jackson, contestants will enter into the outdoor kitchen for two rounds of red-hot challenges,  cooking baby back ribs, hearty chuck wagon meals, bison, and classic pork and beans, according to a statement provided by Food Network.

Eleven-year-old Tyler said that he answered the call to be on the show.

“Last summer I originally applied to be on Food Network’s ‘Chopped Jr.’ Out of thousands of applicants I made it down to the final five. Unfortunately, there are only four contestants on that show. A month later, I received a call from their casting company asking if I was interested in casting for season two of another kids’ cooking show called ‘Kids BBQ Championship.’ I told to them, ‘Of course I am,'” Tyler said.

Developing a curiousity and passion for cooking at an early age, Tyler said he first started by watching his mom and grandmothers cook.

“I was probably about three or four years old. I always wanted to help and they always allowed me to. I learned so much from all of them and enjoyed it so much. As I got older I was able to do a lot on my own. I love coming up with my own recipes, experimenting with different ingredients and making a dish my own,” Tyler said.

After accepting the network’s request to be on the show, Tyler had to do a few interviews and live cooking demonstrations with the show’s culinary directors and producers.

Tyler said cooking helps him relax and forget about his day-to-day problems.

“I love to cook. Cooking is very relaxing for me. I feel calm and happy when I cook. I love to cook for my family and friends and love to see them enjoy it. I love to make people happy and doing things for people so this is a way I can make them happy. This has been a very rough year for me in school. So when I go home I do my homework and then I cook,” Tyler said. “When I cook, I forget about everyone and everything that upsets me during the day. I get in my zone, my happy place. My role model is celebrity chef Guy Fieri. Someday I wish to be as successful as him. This opportunity on the show allowed me to meet [Fieri] and it was one of the best days of my life along with filming the show.”

Heading into the competition, Tyler said he was most excited about getting the opportunity to do what he loves.

“Going to California to actually film the show, meeting all the judges, the crew and the whole experience, but most of all, getting to do what I love to do and be able to do it on TV and the chance to win $10,000,” Tyler said of what he enjoyed most. “My mom and I went and it was such an amazing experience, one that I will never forget. This is only the beginning of moving one step closer to my dream of being a famous chef one day and owning my own restaurant. Since I’m not able to share the results of the competition, everyone will have to watch and see me in action to see the results.”

For more information about Kids BBQ Championship, visit www.foodnetwork.com/shows/kids-bbq-championship.

Contact Vashti Harris at vharris@newspapermediagroup.com.

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