by Eshaan Mani, HFM Kid Ambassador
Sahana Gade stands at the kitchen counter, mixing the batter for various sets of sweet treats, sliding trays in the oven, and taking pictures of the entire, flurried process on her mom’s phone. She’s in the middle of the selection process for Food Network’s Kids Baking Championship, a show that airs every Monday at 8 pm. And she is paving the way for the journey of a lifetime.
Sahana’s love of baking began at age five while she helped her mother out in the kitchen. The first thing she ever made was Oreo truffles, which she describes as more of an experiment than actual baking. She only took her erstwhile hobby seriously at the age of eight, however, and began baking more complicated recipes. In early 2019, her mom asked her if she was interested in auditioning for the Food Network’s Kids Baking Championship. Sahana, agreed, but she didn’t know she would have to pass multiple levels of testing to prove her baking prowess.
Food Network had a nationwide search for the best kid bakers to cast in their Season 8 of Kids Baking Championship, the most-watched show on the channel. The kid bakers were evaluated based on their baking skills and personality. After several grueling rounds, Sahana was chosen as one of the top twelve contestants.
For the first episode, Sahana had to prepare a shag cake with peanut butter and mandarin oranges. The judges Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelli loved the flavors in her cake. In the next episode, Sahana was asked to make a Neapolitan Cookie Sandwich. Unfortunately, her journey on Food Network’s Kids Baking Championship ended when the judges claimed her dessert to be too sweet. Sahana says she “wasn’t thinking clearly that day.” She had stayed up very late the night before, going through and memorizing her recipes and got only a few hours of sleep.
Despite her loss, Sahana says the show was a wonderful experience. She sees it as a summer camp of sorts, where she learned a lot about managing time, working under pressure, thinking on her feet and last but not the least, making beautiful friendships. If she hadn’t found her passion for baking, she never would have been able to compete in the show. Sahana advises everyone to start doing what they love at an early age; you are never too busy to make time for your hobbies.
On January 4th, 2020, Sahana unveiled her business, Sweet Treats De Sahana, at her viewing party for the first episode of the show. Sahana hopes to spread the joy of baking and share the sweetness of her desserts with more people. She also hopes to find ways to help her community through her baking skills.
I enjoyed speaking with eleven-year-old Sahana Gade, an inspiring, ever-upbeat, and very talented ‘baker extraordinaire’!
Watch Sahana in action on the Kids Baking Championship at www.foodnetwork.com/shows/kids-baking-championship/episodes or Youtube interview: https://youtu.be/PcRMWTQI7Bc