Kinza Rizvi on Food Network’s Junior Chef Showdown

kinza chef oakville
Kinza Rizvi on Food Network’s Junior Chef Showdown
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Thomas Desormeaux

Thomas Desormeaux

Thomas Desormeaux is a reporter and writer who lives close to the border of Oakville and Mississauga. He has lived in the GTA for his entire life and is interested in global events, politics and government. follow on twitter @TommyDesormeaux

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For Kinza Rizvi, there has never been a time when she wasn’t cooking. “I would like to stir the bowl by myself, I would not let anyone else do it,” she says.

The sixth grade student attends Oodenawi Public School in Oakville, Ontario. She has been cracking eggs and stirring bowls of ingredients since she was two. Now, she is cooking on her largest stage, as a contestant on The Food Network’s Junior Chef Showdown.

“It was so amazing,” Kinza says. “When I realized that it’s this big show and it was going to be on the Food Network. I actually started crying out of joy. I was so happy.”

Kinza originally applied to the show as a way to hone her skills. Neither she nor her mother, Hiba, had any idea that it would lead to an appearance on a large network.

“I simply thought it was a learn to cook program where she could improve her skills for summer camp,” Hiba says. “So when we got into it I said ‘wow this is big. Are you sure you’re ready for it?’ and then ‘you know what we’ll just go with it.’ ”

kinza chef oakville

Junior Chef Showdown features a group of young cooks from all over Canada, attempting to make different difficult dishes each week. The cooks are judged by three celebrity chefs (Anna Olson, Lynn Crawford and Jordan Andino) and compete for a cash prize and a family vacation.

Ever since she began to cook, Kinza has worked with her family to develop her passion. “My mom is a really good chef in my house so a lot of my learning comes from her. I would help her,” she says.

kinza chef oakville

Kinza is a sixth grader at Oodenawi Public School.

“Every time I’d be cooking she’d be sitting there watching and wanting to help. Like she said, she’s always cooked,” says Hiba. “Slowly, slowly I could see her taking on more responsibility.”

Kinza and her father have a tradition cooking together for Hiba. They make her breakfast for her birthday or on special anniversaries. “She started out doing stuff with her Dad,” Hiba says. “He really only makes one thing, which is crêpes,” she adds. Every year, the two of them would try to find new recipes.

Kinza Rizvi has been helping her family prepare meals for years.

When Kinza was eight, she began taking charge of lunches. Each morning, she’d make her own lunch and then do them for her two siblings. Now she often preps meals for her busy parents before they get home. She also finishes the cooking if her mother has to leave for a business appointment.

Food and eating together is important in their family. “Absolutely, absolutely. That’s when we sit down, we talk about our day,” Hiba says. “We discuss how our day went and what we’re grateful for.” Mealtimes are the best part of the week, especially weekend breakfasts. That’s when the parents, kids and grandparents can all come together.

Even with her tenacity and family support, Kinza admits her time on the TV show was nerve-racking… at first.

“I stepped in and thought ‘whoa this kitchen is so huge’ and ‘it’s the kitchen of my dreams.’ And then I saw the judges and I am starstruck! They are all big people in our house,” she commented.

Kinza Rizvi talking with Chef Anna Olson

She was able to overcome her nerves the more and more she learned. Kinza says being on the show helped her manage her time, work under pressure and take criticism. At the same time though, she remembered to keep taking risks and maintain her creativity.

kinza chef oakville

Kinza doing what she does best on Junior Chef Showdown with celebrity chef Lynn Crawford.

As for the future, all Kinza Rizvi knows is that she wants to keep working on her cooking and culinary skills, to build her repertoire. Maybe she’ll become a nutritionist, maybe open a restaurant.

“It was the definitely the biggest learning experience in my life,” she says. “In the end, I’m very proud of myself.”

It was amazing seeing her daughter on TV. “It’s a little bit of mixed emotions: humbling,” Hiba says. “The goal is to encourage but also to keep her grounded.” The whole family is proud of Kinza.

And all in all that’s why she loves cooking so much. “I think it’s just that you start with nothing and you can just really be creative. In the end you get something that’s so nice and special that you can share with your family.”

Junior Chef Showdown Airing Schedule

You can watch Kinza compete on these channels or streaming sites:

  • 9:00 PM Sundays on Food Network
  • 6:00 PM and 12:00 PM Mondays on Food Network
  • 7:00 PM Thursdays on Food Network
  • also available on YTV and Amazon Prime

There are eight total episodes.


You can follow Kinza’s cooking adventures at @kreatewithkinza


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