MasterChef Junior Champ and the Newest BlueStar All-Star, Addison Osta Smith, Serves Up New Ideas for School Lunches & Kid-Friendly Cooking Tips
With kids back to school and the activities calendar filling up, Addison Osta Smith, the most recent winner of MasterChef Junior and the newest – and youngest chef – to join the BlueStar® All-Star team, offers fresh ideas for lunchboxes and easy weekday dinners plus advice for kids interested in learning how to cook. Addison joins the line-up of celebrity and professional chefs assembled by BlueStar®, manufacturer of high-performance appliances for the home, to show how anyone can cook like a pro at home.
“People know me from Master Chef Junior for my fancy desserts and miso-glazed cod, but when I’m at home with my family, we like to keep it fun and easy,” says award-winning chef Addison. While her parents do most of the cooking during the week since she is busy with sports and other activities, she enjoys cooking on the weekends and for special occasions.
When it comes to school lunches, Addison thinks it’s great if kids help pack their own lunches so that they have healthy options they know they will like and eat. “I like a lot of variety in my lunch (and I don’t like sandwiches) so bringing a Bento Box-style lunch works really well for me and for any kid who likes to mix things up. A traditional Japanese style ‘bento’ holds rice, fish or meat, pickled or cooked vegetables, and is usually in a box-shaped container. Since sushi is my favorite food, a bento box with sushi is my favorite lunch,” she says.
In setting up a new home kitchen to fit chefs of all sizes and ages, Addison and her parents selected BlueStar® appliances, known for pro-style performance and virtually limitless options for customization.
“I love cooking on our new BlueStar. There is plenty of room for everything and anything I bake comes out perfectly,” says Addison. While BlueStar® offers over 750 color and trim options, including Addison’s favorite, turquoise, she and her parents selected a BlueStar® 48” RNB gas range with 12”charbroiler (grill) in a Matte Black color with Brass Trim. “As long as you have the equipment and ingredients you need, you can make anything,” she says.
Addison remembers beginning cooking at three years old. She cooked with her parents and then learned to bake bread at her preschool in Oakland, California. Her advice for kids interested in cooking is to take risks and try new things. “Always be confident in yourself! It’s ok if it doesn’t work out; just have fun and learn from your mistakes,” says Addison.
And this passionate young chef’s advice for kids who think cooking may not be for them? “Give it a try! Start by cooking something you really like eating. Cooking is a great way to be creative, relax and do something that everyone appreciates. Addison recommends the perennial kid-favorite, pasta, as a first try for kids interested in cooking. “You can use store bought pasta or even homemade pasta is easier to make than most people think. Most kids like pasta and know how they like it to taste. Baking also is a good way to get started. I love all kinds of baking — I love making meringues — and I like to make cakes for special occasions. You can be really creative and have fun with baking.”
The BlueStar® gas oven is perfect for experienced and aspiring bakers. The extra-large convection oven with 1850° infrared broiler accommodates a full size 18″ x 26″ commercial baking sheet. All BlueStar® cooking and refrigeration products are designed for discerning home chefs who demand restaurant-quality results in their own kitchens. In business since 1880, the Pennsylvania-based manufacturer specializes in handcrafted gas ranges, cooktops, electric and gas wall ovens, complementary kitchen ventilation hoods and recently added refrigeration to its lineup. Available in over 750+ colors and finishes, and with almost infinite configuration possibilities, BlueStar® offers unmatched options for customization. For information, visit Bluestarcooking.com.
- 1 cup Japanese Style Sushi Rice, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 4 nori sheets (dried, roasted seaweed)
- 1/2 avocado, sliced lengthways
- 1 package smoked salmon
- 1/2 Lebanese cucumber, cut into thin strips
- 1 small carrot, grated and/or ½ red pepper, cut into thin strips
- Soy sauce and fresh ginger to serve
Step 1 Place rice and 1 1/2 cups cold water in a saucepan over high heat. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid absorbed. Remove from heat. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Step 2 Place rice and vinegar in a bowl. Stir to combine. Allow to cool completely, stirring regularly to prevent rice becoming mushy.
Step 3 Place 1 nori sheet, shiny-side down, on a sushi mat. Using moist hands, spread one-quarter of the rice mixture over the nori sheet, leaving a 3cm-wide border around the edges. Place one-quarter of the avocado along the edge facing you. Top with one quarter each of the salmon, cucumber and carrot.
Step 4 Using the sushi mat, roll up firmly to enclose filling. Repeat with remaining nori, rice mixture, salmon and vegetables.
Step 5 Slice each roll into 4 pieces. Wrap in plastic wrap.
About Addison Osta Smith
Addison was born and lived in Oakland, California until she was 8 years old. In Oakland, she developed her love for good food and cooking, sports, and acting. She learned to bake bread at her preschool and cooked with fresh ingredients from her elementary school garden. Being immersed in the many rich cultures of the Bay Area exposed Addison to a variety of flavors and cooking methods from a young age. She and her older sister, Kaelen, even started a business called “Backyard Foods” which featured baked goods made with fruit picked from their own backyard. For her 5th birthday, Addison asked for (and received) a juicer!
In 2014, when her family heard that MasterChef Junior was casting in Chicago, where they had moved, her father agreed to take her immediately. She loved the auditioning process and received a call-back from the show producers right away. Addison was one of 24 young chefs from around the country cast on season 4 of the show. She went on to be the 1st female and youngest MasterChef Junior champion at the age of 9 years old winning the championship with her Miso-Glazed Black Cod in a Coconut Ginger Broth over Jade Rice. Winning MasterChef Junior led to multiple television and media appearances including cooking demonstrations and interviews on the Late Late Show with James Corden, Hollywood Today Live, Good Day LA, and The Steve Harvey Show.
In addition to playing travel softball and soccer, cooking, baking, and acting, Addison is a passionate advocate for social justice and has become outspoken on issues ranging from homelessness, to animal protection, to civil rights, donating a portion of her MasterChef Junior prize money to her local homeless advocacy and service organization Housing Forward.
Picture courtesy of BlueStar