Two Knoxville youngsters compete in Food Network bake-off

Rob Pryce

Two young Knoxville bakers are among the upcoming season’s competitors on the Food Network’s Kids Baking Championship, which premieres at 8 pm on Monday, Dec. 27. 

Contestant Sarah portrait, as seen on Kids Baking Championship, Season 10.

Sarah Patel, a 10-year old student at Nature’s Way Montessori School, and Nadya Alborz, an 11-year-old sixth grader at Clayton-Bradley Academy in Maryville, will bake their way through a variety of desserts over 10 episodes, including butterfly cakes and kitchen sink desserts. The shows were filmed over the summer in Knoxville. 

Sarah, whose parents are Nick and Dimple Patel, has been helping her mom in the kitchen since she was about four, and she says her mom taught her to be creative in the kitchen. “My family is in the kitchen a lot; we like cooking together,” Sarah says. “We all pitch in for Thanksgiving.” This year Sarah brought an apple-peanut butter pastry cream trifle to the family gathering. 

Sarah’s a big fan of Food Network’s Ree Drummond. “I watch all of her episodes and I have all her cookbooks,” she says, and she even met her at a book signing. She also met Duff Goldman, one of the Kids Baking Championship co-hosts along with Valerie Bertinelli, at the New York Food & Wine Festival and told him she would be on the show someday. “It’s been a dream of mine,” she said. 

When she’s not in the kitchen, Sarah enjoys arts and crafts, piano, Bollywood dance and traveling; Disney World is her favorite destination. 

Contestant Nadya portrait, as seen on Kids Baking Championship, Season 10.

Nadya, the daughter of dentists Shaza Mardini and Sam Alborz, also was in the kitchen at a young age. “I’ve been ‘baking’ since I was three,” she says. “I’d throw random stuff in a bowl and call it a cake.” She and her mom made their first pound cake together when she was four.

Nadya’s favorite thing to bake is cupcakes because she can play with the frosting design and incorporate different flavors. Nadya’s been watching the Food Network since she was very young, and told her dad that she was going to be on Kids Baking Championship someday. She was right. 

Nadya expected to be in the kitchen almost daily over the holidays. “I’ll bake cookies and cake; we have some family birthdays this month, and we’ll be visiting my grandparents.”

It was her mom and grandmother who inspired her interest in baking, but her mom says Nadya has surpassed them with her skills. When she’s not baking, she enjoys playing soccer and the cello. 

The winner of Kids Baking Championship will earn a spot in a future issue of Food Network Magazine. 

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