La Mirada~When a young child prefers to watch cooking shows on TV rather than cartoons, it has to be a sign of things to come.
La Mirada resident Bella Coonis will be appearing and competing on the Food Network's television program, Chopped Junior this Tuesday May 17th at 8:00 p.m. PT, after being chosen to appear on the show.
Bella went through an interview and tryout process to be considered and got the call late last year that she made the cut. She flew to New York City this past February to film her episode, but there is a hush-hush about the outcome of the show so you will have to tune in to find out what happens.
The 13-year old creator of fare is the oldest child of La Mirada natives Nick and KC Coonis, who have three other children. Bella is a big fan of the Food Network.
Her Mom KC told me, Bella has been in the kitchen since she was around two and didn’t think anything of her TV viewing habits at first. However, she knew something was up in later years when Bella would ask for kitchen appliances, such as torches and mixers, at Christmas time instead of toys.
She said her daughter “has a passion for what she does and it shines through.”
I asked Bella what one of first memories is of cooking or baking and she said making sugar cookies with her mom, “She inspired me. I loved watching her and I wanted to help her in the kitchen.”
She produced YouTube videos showing how to make such dishes as tuna casseroles when she was five years old. She was around “seven or eight” when she first began preparing complete dinners for the family.
Talking with Bella I sensed she gets a special joy out of pleasing people with her food, such as when she made spaghetti & meatballs for her Uncle Johnny, who apparently hadn’t had it prepared a certain way in a long time.
Bella attends Hutchinson Middle School and is an honor roll student. Her principal Sara Siemens said it has been low-key on campus because of the sensitivity of the outcome of the show but offered, “We are extremely excited for her and it is quite an accomplishment. It is especially enjoyable when our students take their passions and expand on them.”
As for her future, Bella said she would like to attend the Culinary Institute of America and get a business degree in hospitality. After that, she would like to open her own cafe.
See Bella’s casting video from last year here.
Recently, Bella entered a cooking competition at the Anaheim Citrus Festival. Her dish was her own original recipe called Indulgent Citrus Cake with Mascarpone Cream, and she won against an all-adult panel.
Everyone is invited to join family and friends for a viewing party of her episode "Go Fish!" this Tuesday, May 17th at 8:00 p.m. at Chili's, 1600 West Imperial Highway in La Habra.
UPDATE: Bella beat the other three contestants and was named a Chopped Junior Champion! Although she had a challenge in the desert round, she rose to the occasion to make La Mirada proud!