By Kaitlin Thorne
BEAVERTON – Scratch-made fried chicken, lemon butter shrimp with cauliflower rissotto, and macarons are just some of the items that are on the menu at the Woodruff household in Beaverton. While it may be easy to assume that either husband or wife, Shad and Brianne Woodruff, are trained chefs that is not the case. Instead the chef de cuisine is none other than their daughter, 10-year-old Sayde Woodruff, who recently competed on Food Network’s Chopped Junior.
Sayde first began cooking when she was just three years-old by watching and helping her mother and grandmothers. “And honestly Food Network. I love Food Network, so it’s always on, and she’s always watched it with it us,” Brianne said.
“Especially ‘The Pioneer Woman’,” Sayde was quick to add. Her favorite cooking show says a lot about how Sayde cooks, which she says has an emphasis on comfort food, particularly southern style and Italian.
Growing up watching Food Network stirred a dream in Sayde to compete on Chopped. “It’s been something she’s been dreaming about for years,” Brianne said. “She found the application online herself and begged for us to let her do it.”
“I decided I wanted to do it because it would be a fun experience, I also love cooking...and part of it would be the prize,” Sayde said laughing. If Sayde wins the competition she recieves $10,000, the title of Chopped Champion, and her own chef’s jacket.
Chopped Junior is a cooking competition show in which young chefs are given a basket of mystery ingredients that must be used to complete a final dish within a set time limit. The dishes are then then judged by a panel of celebrity chefs and then one contestant is eliminated in each of the three rounds.
The Woodruff family, including Brianne, Shad, their son Layk, and Sayde traveled to New York City in March to film Chopped. The Woodruffs, along with the rest of the Beaverton community, are excited for the results to air on Tuesday, July 16 at 8 p.m. on Food Network.
Whether or not Sayde wins Chopped, she is glad that she achieved her dream. “It was a fun experience,” Sayde said, noting that even though she had fun, she was nervous going into the process. Despite being nervous, Brianne said that Sayde handled herself with grace.
“Honestly I never knew nerves like that existed. We’re a sports family and none of that compares to the pressure of the Chopped kitchen…To watch her handle it so confidently and gracefully just gave me chills. It was one of the proudest moments of our lives,” Brianne said. Sayde’s family wasn’t allowed in the Chopped kitchen during taping, “The first thing she said when I got to see her again was ‘I’m proud’, it still makes me tear up.”
With Sayde’s young professionalism and love for cooking many would assume she wants to pursue a career in the field, instead she plans on becoming either a teacher or an interior designer. She prefers to keep cooking as something she enjoys, rather than have the pressures of a professional chef in a restaurant kitchen.
By taking this path, Sayde is sure to have many years to hone her craft and become a world-class at-home chef, while always maintaining her memories of competing in the Chopped kitchen.
The Beaverton Bowl Lounge will be hosting a viewing party for anyone in the community that wants to join in the celebration and watch Sayde’s episode. The episode airs at 8 p.m., but the Woodruffs will be at the lounge earlier for anyone wishing to join.