• Boy to appear on 'Chopped Junior'

  • Zach Baer to appear on "Chopped Junior."

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  • Christopher Burnett | Staff Writer
    Bradley Elementary School sixth-grader Zach Baer will be featured on the Food Network television show “Chopped Junior,” which airs locally at 7 p.m. April 25.
    Zach said he has been interested in cooking as long as he can remember. While making a cheese ball to take to school the next day, he talked about how his mother would always include him during the process of preparing meals, and he came to enjoy it naturally.
    “I have been cooking since I was 3 years old,” Zach said. “It’s always been a fun thing for our entire family to do together.”
    Zach said he will appear on episode number 509 of “Chopped Junior” and the theme of this particular show is fried foods. He said no other details or specifics about the program could be disclosed.
    “I’m not allowed to give any other information about the show,” Zach said. “I can say that it was lots of fun to see how a television studio works. We hope all of our friends watch the show next Tuesday to get the full details.”
    Zach’s father, Lt. Col. Chris Baer, an instructor in the Department of Distance Education at the Command and General Staff School, and his mother, Audrey Baer, a pre-kindergarten teacher assistant at Bradley Elementary School, arranged the opportunity for him to try out for the show. They said a casting firm organized the process.
    “We submitted the official cast application for Zach to be a contestant on the show as a fun thing for him to do since he loves to cook,” Audrey said. “When the network informed us he was selected for the show, it was very exciting for us as a family.”
    Zach, who is involved in community youth theater on post and drama club at Harrold Youth Center, said he is also part of the school news broadcast team, Bradley Beat. He said he has an outgoing personality, enjoys school and maintains top grades in all of his classes.
    “I was not nervous about being on television because the people running the show in the studio were lots of fun to be around,” Zach said. “And, it was also fun meeting all of the new people during our entire trip.”
    Chris said prospective contestants had to complete the “Chopped Junior” official casting application process. He said it was straight forward, and in addition to a recent photograph of Zach and a signed appearance release form, they included a signed confidentiality agreement as well.
    “When we found out the air date for the show, I called the owner of Grinders, which is one of our favorite local places to eat, and asked if we could have a get-together there as a sort-of watch party,” Chris said. “There were no conflicts with the date we wanted, and the owner was glad to have us.”
    Page 2 of 2 - The watch party os at 6:30 p.m. at Grinders High Noon in Leavenworth. All televisions in the restaurant will be showing “Chopped Junior.”
    Each episode of “Chopped Junior” showcases the talents of children seeking to make memorable meals from mystery ingredients under a ticking clock. Another goal of the show is to let the young contestants bring their natural energy to each show. Only one child can be the “Chopped Junior” champion.
    “As soon as I found out about being on ‘Chopped Junior,’ I told my teacher, Ms. (Katie) Conn,” Zach said. “She was very excited for me, too, and plans to watch the broadcast.”
    Food Network says a significant audience is typically expected to view the show. Food Network uses various media platforms to distribute its programs to more than 100 million U.S. households and averages more than 9.9 million unique web users monthly.
    Headquartered in New York, Food Network also reaches more than 150 countries, including 24-hour networks in Great Britain, India, Asia, and Africa.
    For more information about “Chopped Junior” and how to apply, visit https://goo.gl/jyO81L.
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