Kids Chef Baking Championship

Fair | Clip
Aug 16, 2023 | 4 min

Kids from across the state compete during the Chef Baking Championship at the 2023 Iowa State Fair.


[Charity Nebbe] Throughout the Iowa State Fair, Iowa's best home cooks come to the Elwell Family Food Center to compete for that coveted blue ribbon. Many of these cooks have been cooking for decades, but the competitors we're going to meet today have a little less time under their belts. We are at the kids Chef Baking Championships, and these kids are suited up and ready to go. (music)

[Male Speaker] So we started this program last year as a way to recognize kids that are here in Iowa who have a passion for cooking. And just need a platform in order to shine. And that's what we're here to do today. 


[Charity] This is your first time entering this competition. What made you want to enter?

[Arden Fortney, Des Moines] Well, a lot of family members and people that I know that are friends of my mom's always loved entering the Iowa State Fair. So I've gotten real interested in it the past couple of years. But this year I finally got in, too.

[Charity] What did you make for the competition?

[Arden] I made a Banana Butterscotch Cream Pie.

[Volunteer] We'll see how you cook pie.

[Judge] Holy moly. 


[Charity] Tell me what you made for this competition

[Emery Nordhagen] I made a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting.

[Charity] Very nice. Classic combination. I've heard there's a secret ingredient in your cake?

[Emery] It's just coffee.

[Charity] It's coffee. Why coffee?

[Emery] Because it makes it really moist. And it makes it really chewy.

[Charity] Nice. Do you like the taste of coffee?

[Emery] No.

[Charity] No?

[Nash Roe] Last year, I got to be on Food Network's Kids Baking Championship, which was the best experience of my life. I can't wait to try your desserts.

[Nash] My family has always been super involved in the fair, and I felt it was a good thing to keep going with it. Last year was my first year. When Phil asked me to come back and judge and other people have asked me to judge, I thought it would be the perfect way to repay my community, I guess.

[Charity] The judges have been trying your cake.

[Emery] Yeah.

[Charity] And you've been watching them try your cake.

[Emery] Uh-huh.

[Charity] What does that feel like?

[Emery] It's nerve-racking. Because I don't know what they're saying at all. So, yeah.

[Charity] You've been watching people eat your pie. What does that feel like?

[Arden] I'm so far really pleased with myself. Because everyone I've watched has finished all of it and is, like, kind of nodding and giving it a smile. 

[Charity] So what do you hope the kids that enter this contest take away from this experience?

[Dianna Sheehy] To keep on trying. It's experience. And they enjoy it, and they want to keep doing it. Keep doing it. It's all practice.

[Charity] You really dressed the part today. I love your baking outfit. Do you wear your baking outfit when you bake at home?

[Sammi Riley] Yeah.

[Charity] Yeah? That's nice. What's your favorite thing about baking?

[Sammi] I just like it because it... I like to bake with my family. And it's just really fun for me. And I get to use my creativity.

[Charity] Thank you so much. There are a lot of brave and talented young bakers here today, and in my book, they are all winners. They also make me think I need to brush up on my skills a little bit.