Edina is home to Kids Baking Championship finalist Meadow Roberts. The 11-year-old made it into the top three of the Food Network reality show. Roberts competed against 12 children from the ages of 9 to 13 from all across the U.S. and Canada in a series of weekly baking challenges. Sometimes the celebrity judges Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldman would supply recipes. Sometimes they didn’t.
“You have to just go with it. If you didn’t have a basic recipe for what you needed, you just had to know it,” Meadow says.
That wasn’t a problem for Meadow, who has been baking with her mom since the age of 2.
“I used to bake every day after school,” Meadow says. “We had to plug in another fridge downstairs and it was completely full with cakes.”
When Meadow saw the application form for Kids Baking Championship at her summer acting class, she knew she had to apply. After an intense auditioning process that by contract she cannot reveal, she found herself on set in New Orleans in the summer of 2018.
“[Filming] the first episode was stressful,” she says. “I had never worked with their ovens, stoves or their kind of equipment. I was used to my equipment at home. By the third challenge I got used to the kitchen. It just felt like I was baking. I was super focused so I wouldn’t be paying attention to where I was or the cameras in my face.”
The show aired every Monday from January to March of this year. Meadow and her parents couldn’t tell anyone the results until after the finale aired. Their family and friends across the country threw weekly watch parties and would rejoice when she made it through another week.
“My grandma would call and say, ‘Oh, you’re safe. I almost had a heart attack,’” she says.
For the finale, she and two other contestants had five hours to make a three-tiered cake.
“It was really loud in the kitchen because everyone was trying to do 10 things at once and trying to make the biggest cake ever,” she says. “There was so much pressure and the judges would come over and watch us.”
Mom Kara Carlisle says she’s in awe of her daughter. “I’m really proud of what she’s accomplished at such a young age. I think it would be really hard for most of us to be in that kind of situation. It’s like a pressure cooker with so much activity around her and a lot of attention.”
Even though she didn’t win, Meadow is still in love with baking.
“It makes me feel excited and proud of myself,” she says. “You have the ability to make something all by yourself. It’s fun to have that one talent that you’re really good at.”
Meadow still bakes at least once a week and says she goes through lots of ingredients.
“We’re at Costco buying 10-pound bags of sugar every day. Those huge gallons of vanilla,” she jokes.
She says it’s easy to start baking and encourages other kids to try it.
“Work with a friend. That way if you fail, you can fail together and try again the next day,” she says. “Gradually work your way up the scale. It’d be hard if the first day you make rice cereal treats and then try to make a three-layer chocolate cake.”
She recommends starting with her back-to-school cereal bar recipe, featured here.
If you’d rather have Meadow do the baking for you, she’s started her own business called Sweet Meadow. To order, go to sweetmeadow.us.