Now She’s Cookin’

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Woodbury’s Sophie Bravo is a natural in the kitchen.
Woodbury’s Sophie Bravo is a natural in the kitchen.

Woodbury youngster appears on televised food competition

Woodbury’s Sophie Bravo is just like any other 10-year-old—unless she’s in the kitchen.

The Baylis Elementary fourth-grader made her television debut the night of April 26 when she was featured on The Food Network’s Chopped Junior cooking competition show, which features pint-sized chefs dicing up big-time dishes, then presenting them to a panel of the cooking network’s elite food judges. And even though she ended up not claiming the grand prize on the show, the 10-year-old said she was more motivated than ever to tackle the culinary world.

“It was a lot of fun to see the kitchen and meet the judges,” said Sophie. “I liked to see all the ingredients lined up with utensils and think of different dishes.”

She was one of more than 5,000 potential contestants looking to land a spot on the show and a shot at winning the $10,000 grand prize, but her knack for cooking propelled her to the studio. On the show, Sophie assembled a salad for the judges in the kiddie cook-off, tasting her ingredients as she went just like the real chefs do on the Youtube videos she uses to learn recipes.

Bravo took her skills to The Food Network.
Bravo took her skills to The Food Network.

By the time the episode aired on the premiere night, Sophie’s Woodbury home became headquarters for her own viewing party for friends and family. And though she may have ultimately gotten “chopped” off the show along with three other contestants, her mother Deborah Bravo of Woodbury said that was barely scratching the surface of what Sophie could do.

“She has a lot of skills for a 10-year-old,” Bravo said of her daughter. “And most of all—she’s completely focused.”

Some of Sophie’s favorite dishes to cook, by age 10, include steak, chicken, lasagna and cakes, she said. When she grows up, she said she hoped to open her own restaurant where she can work as a cook, a baker and assemble “all kinds of food.”

Bravo said Sophie was a natural in the kitchen by the time she was 3 years old, watching her mother or grandmother cook various family meals and absorbing the information like a sponge. By the time she was old enough to work a computer, Sophie spent her free time watching cooking how-to videos and keeping an eye on the techniques of top chefs.

Her knack for focus showed when Sophie described her journey through the kitchen at such a young age, often dragging her friends into cooking sessions during any typical elementary school hangout. Sophie said she would create dishes like homemade pasta or pastries as long as her friends would tolerate.

The Woodbury youngster got a chance to hang out with the network’s judges.
The Woodbury youngster got a chance to hang out with the network’s judges.

“They get tired of cooking,” she said. “So then I just finish everything up. But then they always want more.”

But in the words of her mother, Sophie is still just like a typical 10-year-old. When she isn’t cooking, Sophie is playing soccer, drawing or traveling the globe with her family. But there will always be one thing that sets her apart from her peers at school, her mother said.

“She can stand in a kitchen for 12 hours at a time. That’s no problem,” Bravo said.

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