The Dallas Examiner
“A lot of kids are asking if I’ve been on Master Chef or Chopped Junior, and I tell them “No,” said 10-year-old entrepreneur Julian Frederick as he spoke about his cooking website, StepStoolChef.com, designed for children who have a passion for food and wish to learn more.
“My goal is not to compete against kids, but inspire them,” he sagely added.
Julian’s own joy for the culinary arts began when he made his own birthday cake at 3-years-old. Even at that young an age, the experience touched a creative spirit within him.
“I got on the step stool – hence the name, Step Stool Chef. The cake was a big success and I was super proud of myself. I’ve had a love of cooking ever since,” he recalled.
His mother, Toria Frederick, said she believed her son’s enthusiasm for food reflected the natural development of most children.
“I think all kids have an interest in cooking. I feel as though they are able to see their parents doing things and they always want to emulate it,” she said.
She admitted Julian was exposed to the allure of the kitchen at what was perhaps the most opportune point in his life.
“I also know that, during the toddler years, that’s the prime time when kids are wanting to be more independent,” she continued. “So, how many times have you heard your kid say ‘I can do that myself?’”
Cooking as a platform for children to express themselves creatively – while parents let go of some of their caution – was the mustard seed of the pair’s business model, which is ultimately meant to teach independence and self-sufficiency to others of Julian’s age.
“We believe that, while we’re focused on cooking, the real focus is giving kids a safe space to learn how to be more empowered and to learn good leadership skills,” Toria said as she described almost a kind of proving ground that children who cook can draw from. “It’s a space where kids get a chance to make decisions. They have an opportunity to try things out, take risks. These are all leadership skills we all want our kids to have.”
Her son offered his own take on the business – a simpler one.
“I thought, ‘This is a great feeling. I could share this with others,’” Julian recalled the elation he felt on his birthday cake triumph. “We thought we could create a community where kids are the chef and parents are the assistants.”
The website provides two sets of six affordable cooking lessons with the young gourmet via online video. There is also a shopping area for young, aspiring chefs; including a cookbook, apron, nutrition plan, various tools and utensils. The website will also soon provide an opportunity to purchase cooking kits with pre-measured ingredients for the recipes presented.
“A lot of our customers came back to us, saying, ‘This is great, but I still have to get all the ingredients. I still have to go to the grocery store. How can you make this easier for us?” Toria mentioned.
From that feedback the kit concept was born.
“Ideally, we will be able to launch kits that teach kids … giving them the skill set of learning how to cook in addition to the ingredients and all the tools that they need to make it easier,” she said.
Julian – who lists easy-peasy cheesy puffs, baked apple pie bites, and cinnamon ribbon bread as some of his favorite foods to prepare – hosted a live “cook along” via Facebook Live for followers Aug. 11 on his website and plans another live show in October.
When one considers his appearances on the major local news channels and the nationally syndicated Good Day L.A., he may be a mini food mogul in the making.
“My dream when I grow up is to have my own restaurant,” Julian said, his voice filled with excitement and optimism. The type of cuisine he would offer, though, remains up in the air.
“That, I’m still figuring out.”