Small chefs on the big stage

Raleigh 12-year-old competes on Food Network

The contestants run to grab their specific cookie challenge, as seen on Food Network's Kids Baking Championship Season 4

RALEIGH — With an eye for creativity, a recipe for deliciousness and a competition to jolt the senses, a 12-year-old baker from Raleigh is on the national stage vying for the title of being the best kid baker in the country.

Culinary whiz Aditya Pillutla is competing this season on Food Network’s “Kids Baking Championship.”

“When I was little, my sister was first interested in baking,” said Pillutla. “She used to make all these substitutions and sometimes they turned out and sometimes they didn’t. She helped me get interested in baking and then we would watch a lot of Food Network on the television. Just by watching videos I taught myself how to cook.”

Macarons, cupcakes, cookies and cakes top Pillutla’s list of favorite things to make which helps him fit right in on “Kids Baking Championship.”

The judges examine contestat Aditya Pillutla’s completed cookie cake dish from the main heat challenge, as seen on Food Network’s Kids Baking Championship Season 4

Hosted by Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldman, “Kids Baking Championship” airs every Monday on the Food Network at 9 p.m. through March 5. The season having begun earlier this month has already tasked the competitors with creating extravagant cookies, carnival-themed cupcakes and Bundt cakes that spew smoke.

“I try to make each thing as unique as I can because it tastes better when it is not just sticking to the book,” said Pillutla.

“I like baking because there is so much stuff you can do with it and so much you can experiment with. The stuff you make also tastes really good,” he added.

Pillutla joins contestants, ranging in age from 10 to 13, from around the country. Pillutla can’t divulge the items he has created as part of the competition or how many episodes he appears; however, we know over the course of 10 episodes, contestants compete in lavish desert challenges designed to find the most impressive and creative kid baker in the United States. Contestants must tackle new confectionary challenges, ranging from sweet dessert pizzas using traditional savory toppings to desserts with freeze-dried astronaut-approved ingredients.

“By watching the ‘Kids Baking Championship’ on TV, I realized I could do this to, so I applied, and we went from there,” said Pillutla. “This has been a really cool experience. I’ve made new friends and learned more about baking.”

Each week contestants are tasked with showcasing originality in baking as they demonstrate their skills in producing cookies, ice cream and doughnuts. The winner of the competition will take home a prize of $25,000, a feature in Food Network Magazine, and the title of Kids Baking Champion.