Scarlett Francis Smorynski, daughter of CHEA Members Ronald Smorynski and Philomena Harrington, won the Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off on the Food Network, in the summer of 2015. Scarlett is now entering 7th grade.
“Scarlett began homeschooling three years ago, in fourth grade. In homeschooling one gets the opportunity to explore their interests much more fully, and that’s exactly what Scarlett did,” said Scarlett’s father. “She began watching a lot of Food Network shows and at restaurants would order ‘adult’ foods.”
Cooking and Media in Schoolwork
Scarlett told her dad she wanted to be on the Kids Cook-Off show so they incorporated cooking and media into her schoolwork. She cooked and plated foods like chefs do as well as made a YouTube channel to show off her personality. Scarlett has done a few commercials and at her former school with her dad helped to run acting classes and an annual talent show.
Upon getting accepted to the show, the family decided to ‘just ask’ a local winebar restaurant if she could come in and start learning, and they responded positively. Her dad knew another chef from many years ago and contacted him on Facebook. He was receptive as well. But what allowed her to stay at these places was her amazing knife skills and disciplined work ethic, her dad said.
Continuing to Learn
As the winner of the Cook-Off, Scarlett is pursuing her food fascination in her home city of Hollywood. She stages–or interns–at two renowned restaurants in Los Angeles, under Iron Chef and Beat Bobby Flay winner Neal Fraser at Redbird and at a top 10 wine bar, Vintage Enoteca. She often helps Fraser at charity food events.
Scarlett stars in three webisodes on FoodNetwork.com and has a Youtube channel: Scarlett Cooking. She also tested the menu for Steve & Kate’s summer camp and is featured on that website.
Q&A with Scarlett
Q. How has homeschooling affected your cooking career?
A. It’s allowed me to intern at restaurants, to experiment more with cooking, and have a more flexible schedule.
Q. What is your favorite part of homeschool?
A. The flexible schedule gives me the opportunity to do what I love most, which is cooking.
Q. What are your future plans?
A. I want to own a restaurant and hopefully be a celebrity chef.
Food Network photo of the Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook Off competitors
Photo of Scarlett courtesy of her family.