Not Your Average Chef

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Being on TV is the dream of many kids, though not many can say they have been successful. However, one Westminster student can claim the honor of appearing on national television – multiple times.

The story starts with Ayla Davis, freshman. Her family’s store, ABC Chef’s, is located in the Chesterfield Mall. This kid-friendly store offers cooking classes, camps, and more, and marks the beginning of Davis’s experiences with cooking.

Davis grew up in the culinary world. She started creating her own YouTube videos at a young age, filming videos about topics from her travels to, of course, cooking tutorials.

These videos caught the eye of a producer of Master Chef Jr, a cooking show produced by Fox News. Her videos were so impressive that she was invited to audition for the show.

“I had no idea what Master Chef was, I didn’t know the show at all. One day I got a call from Fox News. The head producer of Master Chef Jr. had seen my YouTube videos online and asked me to audition. The first three auditions were in Chicago, and after that I flew out to L.A. and started filming.”

Davis, now known as Chef Ayla, spent around a month in Los Angeles filming and preparing for the show. Her daily routine was a rigorous one.

“We had to wake up at 5am every morning, take a shuttle down to Panama Studios, and get our microphones set. Then we had interviews, breakfast, and three hours of schoolwork with tutors there.”

Laughing, Davis recounted some of the dishes she created on the show. “First round I did a mango tart, and for the second round I think I did a shrimp alfredo pasta. They all kind of blur together.”

Filming the show was not all stressful competition. Davis remembers a fun experience in the studio, saying she “got to throw a pie at the judges’ faces.”

Davis also networked with other young chefs during her time spent at the studio. “My favorite part of being on the show was all the friends I made,” she said. “You meet a whole lot of new people.”

Master Chef Jr. is not the only experience Davis has had with televised cooking shows. More recently, she was a competitor on Chopped Jr, a program produced by Food Network.

“Chopped Jr. was different than Master Chef,” Davis recounted. “Instead of being there for around a month, we were only there for a few days. And it was a lot more competitive.”

Now, Davis is continuing to pursue her love of cooking in various ways. “I just did another show called Stovetops. That one was really, really fun. I just finished working at my parents’ cooking camp, which I did over the summer.”

Davis interests do not only lay in the culinary world. She is also involved in athletics and theater. “During the school year, I wants to focus on tennis. Also I want to continue pursuing acting because I love acting,” she commented.

As far as future goals, Davis says, “ I definitely want to work somewhere in the entertainment business, whether with cooking, acting, or maybe even competitive tennis. Maybe I will even continue my parents’ cooking school.”