Have you checked out our new ATK Kids YouTube channel yet? It has tons of kid-approved, slightly silly videos, including our Test Kitchen Kids Takeover series that teaches kids basic cooking techniques, from how to (safely!) prep an avocado to how to accurately measure dry ingredients. I caught up with two of the series’ stars, young chefs Henry Diver and Verveine Oringer, to chat all things food, ATK Kids, and more.
Tess Berger: Can you tell us your name, how old you are, where you live, and your favorite food?
- Henry Diver: My name’s Henry, I’m 13 years old, and I live in Boston. There’s a lot of good foods out there . . . I like mac 'n' cheese, I like ice cream, and I love brownies. I also like to cook stuff over fires. I think it’s better with the smoky flavor. I made pork tenderloin once over a fire.
- Verveine Oringer: My name is Verveine. I’m 12 years old, and I live in Boston. My favorite food? That’s such a hard question. Maybe grandma-style pizza or rugelach. Also chicken and flatbread. I love to have that with garlic. I love garlic on everything that I eat.
Tess: What’s been your favorite part of working on Test Kitchen Kids Takeover?
- Henry: I like all the foods I get to try that I wouldn’t normally make. I thought the lemonade was really good, coming from a person who does not really like lemonade.
- Verveine: I’ve always loved cooking and I’ve made movies with my friends, and this let me bring those things together all in one place. I love that I could share my love for food and talking and being on camera. It was so nice to put those things together into one really awesome project.
Tess: What’s your favorite ATK Kids recipe?
- Henry: There’s a recipe for homemade sprinkles in a cookbook that’s really good. The Jam Thumbprint Cookies [from The Complete Baking Book for Young Chefs] were good, but hard because I didn’t make my thumbprint deep enough. So when I put the jam in, it kind of spilled everywhere in the oven.
- Verveine: I’ve tried so many chocolate chip cookie recipes throughout the course of my life, and I recently made ATK Kids’ chocolate chip cookies. My family loves them so much and we’ve been making them a lot ever since.
Tess: If you had to live on a desert island for the rest of your life, what three foods would you bring?
- Henry: The Mythical Kitchen mac 'n' cheese; it’s really good. Then I’d do a Boloco Nutella smoothie . . . and dumplings. Just a variety of dumplings, like veggie dumplings, pork dumplings . . . If I say dumplings, that means I could have every single food in the world, but in dumpling form.
- Verveine: I love meat, so I don’t think I could do without meat. Any sort of meat would be fine, but I’d probably prefer steak. And I’d need vegetables I’m sure, so I’d say maybe kale. And then I’d want something comforting, so probably a big bowl of cheesy pasta or chocolate chip cookies.
Tess: What’s a recipe you haven’t made yet but want to try?
- Henry: Crème brûlée . . . but I’d have to have a blowtorch for that. And doughnuts.
- Verveine: Oh, so many. I’ve seen these big blueberry muffins with a crumble on top that look really good, so I want to try that. And then my friend and I were looking through an ATK cookbook that we got and we saw these lemon gummies. We’ve been wanting to make them for a very long time, but we haven’t done it yet.
Tess: What has been your biggest cooking disaster so far?
- Henry: I was in a virtual cooking class during quarantine making gnocchi. I had to blend a boiling-hot sauce in a blender, but the lid wasn’t on all the way, so hot cheese-milk sauce exploded ALL over the kitchen. But everything was OK and it ended up tasting really good.
- Verveine: There was this one time two or three years ago that I was making a cake, and I think I doubled the flour or something like that. And I’m sure I’ve burned a couple things.
Tess: Who is the best cook in your family? Why?
- Henry: It’s a tie between my mom and my dad. They cook different things. My dad usually makes breakfast and burgers, and my mom usually makes a variety of stuff on the weeknights.
- Verveine: Oh, definitely my dad. He’s actually a chef—he owns restaurants in Boston. So he’s the one who got me into cooking in the first place and he loves to share it with me. He loves trying my food and he’s very honest rating my food. My mom is more into baking. My dad loves to bring people together with food. And I think that’s what really inspired me with cooking, because I think it’s very special to be able to do that.
Tess: What advice or tips would you give other kids who want to get into cooking?
- Henry: Just go for it!
- Verveine: Try new things. It’s nice to take risks and experiment. You don’t always need to follow the rules or the recipe. It’s all about having fun with it. And you can bring people together with it. I think that’s such an important thing to be able to do.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Watch Henry and Verveine demonstrate kid-friendly cooking techniques in the Test Kitchen Kids Takeover series below, and don’t forget to subscribe to the America’s Test Kitchen Kids YouTube channel!