When she started baking around the age of 10, Namiah Philips wrote down a very specific goal that she was determined to accomplish: appear on a Food Network show.
And merely a couple of years later, the Long Beach resident can cross it off her list because the young baker has turned her hobby into a competitive sport as one of the 12 contestants on the Food Network’s “Kids Baking Championship,” which premieres Dec. 28.
“To see my goal become a reality it was so exciting, it was so unreal. When we were waiting to start filming and I just couldn’t believe I was going to be on the show baking in this amazing commercial kitchen,” said Philips, who recently turned 13 after taping the 10-episode show.
During the ninth season of the show, the young bakers will take part in weekly challenges that include things like puppy-themed birthday cakes, making a giant cookie in the shape of a face with 3D features, plus baking pies and all sorts of desserts.
The last kid standing wins $25,000, a spot in Food Network Magazine, and the title of Kids Baking Champion.
The season starts with the bakers showing off their decorating skills by making colorful mini cheesecakes, which was fun and challenging for Philips.
“Cheesecake is just very hard to master sometimes. It can sink; it can crack; it can turn out not so good. So that was pretty fun, especially being a very interesting start to the challenge,” she said.
Philips developed her love of cooking from her dad as they would cook family meals together. But it was watching shows on Netflix that sparked her love of baking.
“After that I started to get into baking videos, and the first big dessert I made was this crepe cake for my brother’s birthday,” she said.
“It was a hit right away and I think that’s when my mom found out I had the talent and I could use it really well,” she added.
Since then, she’s been the resident family baker making pastries such as eclairs and cream puffs, as well as cookies. And for Thanksgiving she baked more than a dozen pies for her friends and family.
On the show, she had to mix her set of skills to hit all the challenges.
“It was definitely a lot more intense than I ever thought it would be but I still had a bunch of fun completing the challenges,” she said, calling the experience “very action-packed.”
She can’t discuss specifics about how she did on the show, but it was definitely an experience that gave her a glimpse of her future.
“It really was just like a mini run of life on the show because there’s just so many things that can go wrong and it was very intense and I think that was a very good lesson,” she said.
And now that one major goal has been accomplished, what’s the next one her list?
“I want to do a bunch of collabs with other bakers, I want to see their styles. I want to work on my platform and put my name out there as much as possible and I want to represent my culture in everything I do,” Philips said.
"Kids Baking Championship" premieres at 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 28 on The Food Network.