Not many people get a chance to cook with Rachael Ray, but 10-year-old Finn Skerlj isn’t just anybody. The Newton native has been cooking since the age of 6, and his love of the kitchen landed him one of the eight coveted spots on season 2 of “Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off.”
After a short interview process, Finn was asked to participate on Team Rachael during the 6-episode Food Network reality competition series, which premieres August 17.
“I started cooking because my parents cooked a lot,” Finn said during a phone interview with Boston.com. “I was with them and I could see how they were cooking and my dad cooks a lot, so I learn a lot from him.”
Finn’s favorite dish that his dad cooks? A family dish called pastasciutta.
“There’s onions—a lot of onions—tomatoes, mushrooms, garlic, pasta, and a beef stew. Then you just cook it in a Dutch oven all day,” Finn remembered fondly.
When he isn’t sampling his dad’s cooking, he’s preparing his favorite cut of meat—rack of lamb.
The series’ youngest competitor, who said he was nervous at times, but mostly had fun, was surprised by the complexity of the production.
“What surprised me the most was probably how many times we have to do things and just all the work that they put into it,” Finn said.
The budding chef, who hopes to one day cook for a living (but not necessarily as a chef), offered one sound piece of advice for aspiring cooks out there: “Cook whatever you like.”
“Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off” premieres Aug. 17 at 8 p.m. on Food Network. The winner of season 2 will be awarded a grand prize: their very own series on FoodNetwork.com.