In The Kitchen with Tokyo Kid-chef "Cooking with Kiara" + Pavlova Cake Recipe
Kiara is an 11-year-old kid chef living just out of Tokyo, Japan. She began her culinary journey as a baby – helping
her mother wash vegetables in the kitchen sink (as in, she would climb into the sink and stay there until all the vegetables
had had a good scrub). For her first show and tell at kindergarten, she took her very own frying pan she’d received for her birthday to show all her friends. Her skills developed from there and as a five year old she was baking her own bread and cooking meals for the family. Coming from a bi-cultural household (mother from New Zealand, Father from Japan), she has been influenced by many different styles of cooking. Her first hero in the kitchen was NZ chef Chelsea Winter and after receiving one of her cookbooks for Christmas, and discovering new and exciting recipes – her motivation and love for being in the kitchen grew and she hasn’t looked back.
She began her own YouTube channel after being gifted a chef’s apron for her 10th birthday. It was her hope that she could not only encourage other kids to experiment in the kitchen but also for parents to give them the opportunities to do so. Many of her friends have told her that they aren’t allowed in the kitchen as they either make too much mess or their parents think it’s too dangerous. During COVID19 lockdown, Kiara started giving online cooking lessons to children around the world. So far she has taught children in Italy, the UK, France, Poland, Russia, India, the USA, Canada, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Australia, Albania as well as many children throughout Japan. Her biggest online lesson was with 100 children for
a Halloween Themed Pizza Party. She has also enjoyed many opportunities to have cooking collaborations with other kid
chefs around the globe. Her favorite activity to do in her free time is to play pretend MasterChef with her family and have
her uncle and Granny come over and judge. Here is what Kiara had to say about her journey in the culinary world.
What inspired you to start cooking?
I get asked this a lot but it’s actually a difficult question for me to answer because I don’t really remember what inspired me initially. I just remember always being in the kitchen. Mum tells me I would sit in our kitchen sink as a baby and help mum wash the vegetables for dinner. I moved on to wanting to try creating my own recipes when I was at
Kindergarten. There were two rules 1. It had to be edible (so as not to waste food) and 2. I had to clean up after myself. I was around the age of five when I started cooking by myself without mum’s help. I love to play MasterChef competitions
and invite my uncle and Grandma to come and judge.
Do you remember what was the first recipe you made by yourself?
My mum tells me it was a loaf of bread. I love to knead and was always wanting to make bread.
What are some of your favorite dishes to make?
I love making anything and everything. Soups, curries and breads. Cakes and desserts too! It is hard to choose just one.
How do you feel when you are in the kitchen?
I feel free. I love to dream up new recipes and it feels amazing being able to have the freedom to experiment in the kitchen to try and get those recipes to just the way I dreamt them up.
Do you have any special memories about cooking?
I have so many great memories about cooking. Cooking with my Japanese Baba (Grandma) and learning her favorite Japanese dishes. Cooking with my New Zealand Granny when she comes to visit us or when we go to visit her too. Cooking my very first roast Turkey for Christmas with mum when I was super small. These are very special memories
for me. This year has been an amazing year for interesting experiences and memory making though. I broke my arm a couple of months back – but I didn’t let it stop me from being in the kitchen. I continued to cook daily and my Godmother, Aunty Abby who lives in Australia, and her friends supported me so much by joining me in a one arm cooking challenge which we put on my YouTube channel. They all cheated though… there is video footage proof!
If you could cook with any chef in the world, who would it be?
New Zealand Chef, Chelsea Winter. She was my very first inspiration in the kitchen. She gave me the confidence
to try more advanced recipes and motivated me to try and create my own original recipes.
What are some of your favorite Holiday recipes to make?
My favorite recipe for the holidays is the turkey roast Mum and I make for the family. We put on Christmas music and spend the whole day cooking and baking and it’s the best time ever. We make roast vegetables, stuffing and of course dessert! I love making Pavlova – it’s the perfect dessert to finish off our Christmas meal.
What made you want to start making YouTube videos?
I started making YouTube videos a little after my 10th birthday. My friend’s mother gave me a chef apron and many people encouraged me to start my channel knowing how much I love to cook and spend time in the kitchen. My main reason
for starting the channel though was to help inspire other kids to get into the kitchen (as well as encourage parents to let their kids give cooking a try). A lot of kids I talk to say their parents wont let them into the kitchen. I am hoping
by showing parents that if you give us a chance, we can actually cook some really great dishes and have fun learning
at the same time. Sure we make messes and have failures – but it’s all part of the process and it’s worth it in the end.
What is your favorite thing about being on YouTube?
That would have to be making new friends with other chefs around the world! This year in particular has given me the opportunity to “meet” and make lots of awesome friends through cooking lessons and collaborations. It’s been amazing!
What do you want to be doing in 5 years?
In 5 years I will be 16 years old, so I will be in High School. I would love to be traveling to different countries, meeting my cooking buddies (I met through collaborations and online cooking lessons) and learning about new foods and cultures and how to make new and exciting international dishes. It would be so amazing if I could have such opportunities.
- 4 eggs (at room temperature)
- a pinch of salt
- 170 grams of caster sugar
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 Tbsp hot water
Serve with whipped cream or ice cream and
fresh fruit or chocolate!
HOW TO MAKE IT
1. Preheat your oven to 110C or 230c
2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
3. Separate the eggs and put the egg whites into a clean glass or metal whisking bowl (I use my standmixer but a hand beater is fine too).
4. Start whisking the egg whites slowly. Once you get the egg whites a bit foamy increase your speed and start adding your sugar in very, very slowly. (You don’t want to add it all at once because the egg whites won’t form stiff peaks well if the weight of too much sugar is holding them down - which is why you add your sugar slowly and gradually).
5. Once you have nice stiff peaks, add your lemon juice and cornstarch and whisk those in. Keep mixing until you can’t feel the sugar grains in the mixture.
6. Finally add your vanilla essence and hot water and fold that in.
7. Put your mixture onto your baking tray and shape how you like!
8. Bake in the oven for around 60 minutes
9. Leave in the oven to cool
10. Once cooled down you can decorate however you like- I like putting whipped cream on and topping it with fresh berries or kiwifruit.
11. Enjoy with your family or friends!