I had the chance to chat with the Top Chef fan favorite, and here's what she had to say about her new show and cooking with kids.
On getting involved with Superchef Kids:
"I was excited to get involved with the next generation of chefs. These kids grew up watching cooking shows and see the chefs as heroes. I had different mentors while growing up, and to see that not only are athletes big heroes to these kids but also chefs is really exciting. And cooking is something you do every day, so I was all in with both feet."
On why kids should be excited about getting in the kitchen and cooking:
"Actually, two parties need to be excited: first the parents need to get excited. Because kids in the kitchen means the child has a hand in what's being made for dinner, and they'll be more motivated to try new foods. Whoever cooks in the family is usually so pressed and just wants to get through dinner, forgetting they could have help. Just giving kids the little stuff you don't want to do, like peeling garlic, is so great for kids who want to get in the kitchen. And cooking is a good skill to learn: math, hand-eye coordination, and cleanliness all happen when working with food, which should really get parents excited!
"Then it's about the child having the opportunity to be creative, gaining confidence, and getting excited about where the food is coming from. There's nothing like seeing a kid's face light up when they've accomplished something in the kitchen."
Keep reading for more conversation with Carla.
On working with the kids on Superchef Kids:
"I was amazed at how articulate the kids were about flavors and what they liked. Their palate knowledge was amazing, and I think it's a testament to their parents for letting them try different foods. This is the time to develop their palates, get away from sugar, and introduce different vegetables and sauces. It's like this one contestant on Superchef Kids. He could throw just about everything, including the kitchen sink, into a dish. And I'm watching the process with horror, but then it turns out really good. And we'd all be like, really? But he did it every time — it was amazing!
"When you let a kid go in the kitchen and throw caution to the wind without interrupting, it just might work. I just see so much hope and promise coming out of these kids, and I want the parents and kids who watch Superchef Kids to be excited to get into the kitchen and play."
You know you're a mom when ________:
"You pick food off your child and eat it."
The best trick my mom taught me was __________:
"Cooking in a bag. My mom used to put everything in a bag and cook it — seriously, the whole dinner used to cook in a bag."
I wish someone had told me _________ about motherhood:
"To not let your feelings get hurt when your child hits the preteen and teenage years."
Are you a helicopter or free-range mom?
"Free-range for sure!"
You can catch all of the episodes of Superchef Kids online.