Winner winner, chicken dinner. Literally.
Each year, mini-chefs from across Canada send in their recipes for a chance to be featured in the Kid Food Nation cookbook. One of the recipes that made it into this year's book is Pandemic Chicken, created by an 11-year-old Edmonton boy.
Dongdao Xiao entered the contest through the Kid Food Nation program at the Boys and Girls Club of Edmonton.
"There, I learned strategies for cooking and I found I really liked it," he told Edmonton AM on Monday.
Dongdao said cooking is fun for him.
"I found that it was really interesting mixing foods together to see which ingredients matched and which didn't. I also like how you can arrange the food in different patterns to make it artistic," he said.
Hear Dongdao Xiao talk about his cooking here:
Pandemic Chicken, his winning dish, is a kebab made with cubed chicken, brightly coloured vegetables, curry and yogurt.
In addition to having his recipe published in the cookbook, he and the 25 other winners celebrated by participating in a virtual cooking session — the English-speaking kids were paired with Canadian chef Lynn Crawford while the French children joined chef Marysol Foucault.
Dongdao said he was nervous about the virtual cooking party but felt he did pretty well. The pumpkin mac and cheese recipe made by the group has become one of his favourite things to make, along with the egg sandwiches he makes in the morning with his parents.
Now that he is an expert, Dongdao remained diplomatic when asked which of his parents is the better cook.
"Sometimes I cook for my parents but most of the time I cook with them. They have a lot of cooking wisdom that they can impart on me," he said.
"Usually, my mom cooks most of the time but when my dad does cook, he makes pretty good meals," he said. "So I'd say they're both very good."
This early success in the kitchen doesn't have Dongdao dreaming of a culinary career. He'd rather be a doctor but says he might like to cook for his patients so he can keep that love of food going.
"I hope that they will really enjoy my food."
If you want to make Pandemic Chicken, the recipe is on the Kid Food Nation website.