Remember 10-year-old Amber Kelley? Seems like just weeks ago that the Woodinville fifth-grader was heading to the White House as Washington’s winner of a national “Healthy Lunch Challenge” recipe contest for her “Nummy No-Noodle Lasagna.” She met the president and sat next to First Lady Michelle Obama.
Oh — it was just weeks ago! But Amber’s now representing the country, not just the state, as the only U.S. finalist in food personality Jamie Oliver’s “search for a food tube star” contest for “the next cooking sensation.” She won the finalist spot with a recipe for Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps and a video that had commenters remarking on her charm.
Oliver, who has invested considerable time into promoting healthy food for kids, didn’t require nutritious entries for the rice-focused competition, though it couldn’t have hurt that it’s the point of Amber’s online cooking show and Q13 guest spots. The contest also wasn’t aimed at kids — she’s by far the youngest finalist from among 250+ entries, with others including a 31-year-old from France and a 28-year-old from Argentina. Oliver praised her “simple proper tasty food” on camera, and the judging comments said she “wowed us with her energy and enthusiasm for making healthy cooking cool.”
At this point, it turns into a popularity contest. The video with the most YouTube “likes” by Sept. 22 will win the competition. (Amber’s is over here.)
The winner will get video gear and six months of mentoring from “top directors, camera operators, editors and food experts,” as well as having the video & winner’s YouTube channel featured on Oliver’s channel for a year. Here are the links to all five finalists.
And if this doesn’t work out, just how old do you have to be for The Next Food Network Star?