“It's all about a balancing act between time, temperature and ingredients: That's the art of baking.” Peter Reinhart   

Watching cooking competitions has become quite popular in households around the world. After watching chefs create mouthwatering dishes that receive honest critique from experts, viewers are left at the edge of their seats waiting patiently for the next episode.

This is the experience I had as I watched the most recent season and finale of the Kids Baking Championship on the Food Network. Duff Goldman, the host of the show, had said, "The great thing about cake is it doesn't feel like work. You forget about work. kids, adults, they all get the same look in their eye when they're decorating cakes... That's the magic right there."  And I sat there at the edge of my seat, watching the magic at work, surrounded by friends, family, and fans of Natasha Jiwani, to watch her on the finale of Kids Baking Championship. As the winner was announced, there was an uproar of celebration as Natasha was named the next Kids Baking Champion. Adorned in pink hats and T-shirts, in support of Natasha, everyone cheered, hugged, and high-fived as the finale aired.

An eighth-grade student from Bellevue, Washington, Natasha has been baking with her grandma, mom, and two older sisters, Alyssa and Jasmine, from a young age. Around the time she was nine, she took up baking on her own and became more creative with her ideas. Her love of baking led to the idea of applying to be on Kids Baking Championship television show, and she was accepted.

Natasha made an array of creative desserts on the show, her favorite being her rainbow sherbet cupcakes and banana macarons. On the show, she came to be known for her love of sprinkles, which she describes as “fun” and versatile since “you can put them on anything!”

Natasha advises young cooks to, “always follow the recipe exactly before experimenting. That way, if the recipe fails the first couple of times, it is not due to experimentation or a twist.” It is also important to learn from mistakes and to laugh at mishaps, as Natasha recalls "when powdered sugar went everywhere while adding it to the mixer."

A friend of the family, Soosan Ladha, remembered the time around the finale when she was traveling and also wearing a pink sweatshirt in support of Natasha. She recalls, “people came up to me in the airport and were telling me how much they loved the show and watching Natasha.”

Since the show, Natasha has started to advertise her baking via social media platforms and hopes to start a small baking business. As the winner of Food Network's Kids Baking Championship, Natasha will use her prize money to “donate to the Aga Khan Foundation, to save some for culinary school, and to buy some baking equipment.” 

Natasha has inspired youth, not only in Seattle Jamatkhana, but also has been admired everywhere for her baking accomplishments.