This article originally appeared on Mashed
Most parents might hesitate before allowing their children to handle knives, mini torches, and other potentially dangerous kitchen utensils. But the parents of “Kids Baking Championship” star Matthew Merril didn’t get the memo that they should keep the cooking prodigy away from sharp objects. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, the teen recalled informing his mom when he was just a small child that he planned to make macarons by himself, and not encountering all that much resistance.
“At first, she was shocked. She would walk in the kitchen and she would be like, ‘Why is my seven-year-old using the stove by himself?'” said Merril, who is the author of “Teen Baking Bootcamp: 60 Essential Recipes to Take You from Amateur to Pro,” published this week. His mom would tell him, “Oh, you shouldn’t be doing that. But also I’m not complaining that you’re making cinnamon rolls for breakfast,” Merril quipped.
All the same, Merril credits his parents for being so open-minded about him experimenting in the kitchen for why he’s successful today. The TikTok foodie star has more than 2.5 million users that follow his @MatthewIntheKitchen account. “I really do think that the kitchen is a lab for learning, with food and flavors and all of that,” shared the high school senior. “I think that for me, definitely that freedom to explore with different mediums was super helpful.” This does not mean Merril always emerges from his cooking adventures unscathed, however.
This is the recipe that led to Matthew Merril’s worst cooking injury
For the most part, Matthew Merril has managed to avoid serious injury when cooking in his parents’ kitchen. “We have a knife in our house that’s titled the ‘death knife,’ nobody touches it anymore because every single member of our family who’s used that knife has cut part of their finger on it,” he said. “We excommunicated it from our cutlery.” With the death knife no longer in commission, the teen chef has, for the most part, been able to mark himself safe from serious cooking disasters.
Until, that is, he took on “a 3D replica of a cathedral in gingerbread,” as he revealed. “In order to construct this model, I was sticking the gingerbread pieces together with melted sugar. I was up far too late at night, and I had school the next day, and I just wanted to get it done. I was definitely being a little too sloppy with my sugar work.” And that’s when things really heated up for Merrill. “The 300-degree sugar burned a little section of my hand,” he explained. This might sound painful, but all in all, it was a minor setback, according to he young cooking pro, as he added, “I was able to go to school the next day.”
Follow Matthew Merril on TikTok, and be sure to check out his cookbook, “Teen Baking Bootcamp: 60 Essential Recipes to Take You from Amateur to Pro,” available now.