Lights, Camera, Cook!
Lights, Camera, Cook!

Series: Next Best Junior Chef Vol. 1   

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Annotation: Follows Tate, Rae, Caroline, and Oliver, ages nine to eleven, both on and off-camera as they compete in a televised cooking competition. Includes cooking tips.
Catalog Number: #150436
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Illustrator: Blard-Quintard, Aurelie,
Pages: 185 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-544-91260-8
ISBN 13: 978-0-544-91260-1
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2016038369
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
The first in a three-part series, this follows four diverse preteen contestants who grapple with their hopes, fears, and dreams as they cook their ways through a reality TV contest. On arrival day, the contestants meet one another—and their judges—for the very first time. Calm and confident, Oliver is also extremely competitive. Sweet Rae is inspired by her grandma and her multicultural neighbors, and she isn't afraid to try new flavors. Cooking is in Caroline's blood—her family owns a French bistro, and her mom is the chef. (She is also the only obviously nonwhite contestant.) Last but not least, Tate is the youngest at 9. He's a bundle of energy and a little brash, but he has some mean knife skills. During the first round, the contestants take on several challenges, including small warm-ups such as a pantry race to more defining tasks such as creating a vegetable "dessert." In the beginning, the contestants are cordial to one another and are on par skillwise. However, as elimination day approaches, the pressure mounts and rivalry sets in. Before long, deep-seated emotions are revealed both on and off camera. In the end, this is not just a story about cooking, but also about friendship, discovering one's strengths, and valuing what matters most—and it's not always winning. While difficult to track at times, the characters Harper has created are distinct and plausible. Plus she cleverly weaves her amusing storytelling with real cooking techniques for the aspiring young chef. A fascinating behind-the-scenes peek at a reality cooking show; a must-read for all junior foodies. (Fiction. 8-12)
Publishers Weekly
Four food-savvy kids face off in the first round of a TV cooking show in this snappy launch title in the Next Best Junior Chef series. Eleven-year-old Caroline is coolly confident, army kid Tate has energy to spare, nervous Rae faints when she first takes the stage, and brazen Oliver has -two missions: to win and look good on TV.- Fans of Top Chef Junior and other TV cooking competitions will be right at home with the trappings Harper liberally draws on: celebrity chefs- demanding yet supportive demeanors, contestants- off- and on-camera anxieties, and meticulous descriptions of their gastronomic concoctions. Blard-Quintard-s chic b&w spot illustrations capture the children-s emotional ups and downs as they wrestle with surprise ingredients, plan their dream food trucks, and try to negotiate partnered challenges. It-s an entertaining behind-the-scenes look at ambitious foodie kids doing what they do best; readers should be eager to discover who will be forced to hang up their aprons in the next book. Ages 7-10. Author-s agent: Amy Rennert, Amy Rennert Agency. (July)
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5Food-infused fiction that combines celebrity chefs, reality TV, and a focus on healthy eating. This first installment in an anticipated series is about a lively televised cooking competition featuring four talented tweens: energetic Tate, charming Rae, worldly Caroline, and hypercompetitive Oliver. Through numerous interviews, taste tests, and chopping challenges, readers get to know each character. The black-and-white illustrations complement the story and add humor. There is a bonus in the back matter that includes techniques for aspiring young chefs. VERDICT A mouthwatering read for all foodies. Be sure to save room for the next two volumes.Paula Huddy, The Blake School-Highcroft Campus, Wayzata, MN
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Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (5/1/17)
Word Count: 26,344
Reading Level: 4.4
Interest Level: 2-5
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.4 / points: 4.0 / quiz: 191828 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.4 / points:7.0 / quiz:Q70240
Lexile: 600L
Guided Reading Level: I

Friday--The Arrival
Chapter 1

The filming studio was a hive of activity. And then . . .
     There was silence. Everyone waited.
     "Welcome to Next Best Junior Chef, where all the action is in the kitchen!" The announcer's voice filled the air with energy and excitement. "This week, four young chefs will battle it out in a series of challenges that will test their culinary skills, knowledge, and creativity. Thursday's challenge will send one chef home, and the three remaining contestants will be one step closer to the final elimination round. Pick your favorites now, because one of these talented chefs WILL BE the Next Best Junior Chef!
     "Our esteemed judges include Chef Vera Porter of the famous Porter Farm Restaurant, renowned pastry chef Aimee Copley, and Chef Gary Lee, restaurant proprietor and host of the award-winning show Adventures in Cooking. Make no mistake, the judges will be watching our competitors very closely. Everything counts, and will be taken into consideration, when we get to the final elimination round.
     "Our young chefs will be mentored by Chef Nancy Patel, the 2013 recipient of the Golden Spoon Award.
     "The winner of Next Best Junior Chef will receive two life-changing prizes: a food truck specially designed for the winner and a guest spot on Adventures in Cooking when it begins filming this summer in . . . the beautiful countryside of Italy!
     "Our four young chefs have survived countless interviews, taste tests, and chopping challenges. They can purée, sauté, broil, bake, and fry with skill beyond their years. They're the cream of the crop, and they can't wait to get cooking. So, let's meet our competitors."
     The junior chefs were lined up and ready outside the big doorway of the filming studio. As soon as the announcer called their names, they'd come in, one at a time, for a grand entrance. Chef Nancy had prepared them, because once the cameras were rolling, everything had to be perfect.
     The announcer continued: "Next Best Junior Chef invites contestant Caroline to the table. Caroline is from Chicago, Illinois."
     Chef Nancy tapped Caroline on the shoulder. "Go."
     Caroline took a deep breath and walked through the door and down the ramp toward the front of the room. She passed the workstations, one of which would be hers, but she didn't look. Her eyes stayed glued to her destination. The judges, Chef Gary, Chef Aimee, and Chef Porter, stood next to one another behind a long table, smiling and waiting.
     Chef Gary stepped forward. "Welcome, Caroline. Please tell us: How did you get to be such a good cook?"
     The cameras, the lights, the judges--these made Caroline nervous, but not the question. She knew exactly what to say. Chef Nancy had helped them practice their answers.
     "I'm lucky--I've been around good food my whole life. My family owns a French bistro and my mother is a chef, so I speak French, English, and food. It's like a third language for me. Cooking is a way to express myself."
     "Wow!" Chef Gary took a step back. "How old are you?"
     "Well, I can't wait to see what your food is going to tell us."
     Caroline blushed. "Thank you, Chef."
     The interview was over. Tate was next. Caroline breathed a sigh of relief.
     "Next Best Junior Chef invites contestant Tate to the table. Tate hails from Seattle, Washington."
     Tate couldn't wait to get to the front of the room. It was hard not to run, and then when he got there, it was hard to stand still.
     Chef Aimee smiled and leaned forward. "Welcome, Tate--I know I'm supposed to ask you a cooking question, but first I have to know . . . how old are you?"
     Tate swayed back and forth on the balls of his feet. "Nine."
     Chef Aimee shook her head. "Unbelievable! You're our youngest contestant ever. Congratulations! Was it difficult to become one of the four junior chefs in this competition?"
     Tate chopped the air with his hand. "Not really. I'm good with a knife, and I like cooking, so it was fun. People are always surprised when they see what I can do in the kitchen."
     Chef Aimee smiled. "Ooh, I like surprises. Well done, Tate. I can't wait for you to surprise me, too."
     Tate nodded and grinned until he heard the announcer's voice.
     "Next Best Junior Chef invites contestant Oliver to the--"
     "CUT! CUT! CUT!" A man brushed past Oliver and ran down the ramp. "Take five! Camera problem. We'll start up again in five minutes tops."
     Chef Nancy called Oliver back from the ramp. "I'm sorry, Oliver. We'll start again when Steve gives us the signal. He's the producer, so if he says it's only five minutes, I'm sure he's right."
     Oliver nodded. "Yes, ma'am." He could wait. He was the King of Calm.

Excerpted from Lights, Camera, Cook! by Charise Mericle Harper
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

A zesty series for fans of kids' cooking competitions! It's "lights, camera, cook!" for four tween contestants--energetic Tate, charming Rae, worldly Caroline, and hyper-competitive Oliver--who are all about to enter a televised cooking competition. What will the kids cook up? How will they all get along on- and off-camera? Which junior chef will have the grit--and maybe the grits--to make it through each challenge? And which junior chef will have to hang their apron up for good? Bonus: Includes real cooking techniques for the aspiring young chef!

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