Going beyond pizza and hamburgers with two young Food Network champs

    Young chefs Henry McDaniel and Ellie Kuhnle won  $10

    Young chefs Henry McDaniel and Ellie Kuhnle won $10

    It’s tough to stray from traditional recipes when it comes to Thanksgiving, but if you need some help kicking the tried and true to the curb this year, you may want to get in touch with Ellie Kuhnle, 11, and Henry McDaniel, 12.

    Just don’t be thrown off by their ages.


    The young chefs each took home the $10,000 grand prize in episodes of “Chopped: Junior” on the Food Network. They stopped in to chat with NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller.

    The name of the game in “Chopped” is creativity. Contestants race the clock to combine surprise ingredients into three palatable courses: appetizer, entrée, and dessert.

    Ellie, who resides in Doylestown with her family, said her journey into the world of cooking began with helping with the household garden as a young child.

    The journey was more literal for Henry, a West Philadelphia resident. “I traveled a lot with my dad to Asia. Places like Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and those cuisines really inspired me,” he said.

    But cotton candy cookie-crusted swordfish and mangosteens aside, do these culinary whiz kids still enjoy the childhood staples of pizza and hamburgers? Henry said, while they aren’t his favorites, “You have to love the classic American dishes.”


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