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Long Beach Teen to Premier in Food Network’s “Kids Baking Championship”

Long Beach resident 13-year-old Namiah Phillips, on the set of Kids Baking Championship, Season 9.  Phillips will be competing in the show which premiers  Dec. 28 at 9 p.m. The 8th grader has been baking since the age of 10 and loves making pecan creations for her father and family. 

 

By Laurie Hanson • December 23, 2020

Cooking up creativity this holiday season is one local teen who will be competing in the Food Network’s “Kids Baking Championship” premiering Monday, Dec. 28 at 9 p.m.

For 13-year-old Namiah Phillips pushing the limits of her passion for baking started at home while trying to satisfy her father’s sweet tooth with anything “made with pecans.” The 8th grader who attends Franklin Benjamin Middle School Wildcats, is a bit of a Renaissance kid who got her start as an athlete, turned chef making meals for her family, then became a baker with interests in modeling, acting and more.

“It is a huge collaboration of people and resources that got me started and where I am today,” said Namiah, who started baking at the age of 10.

Her interest developed by watching Food Network, Netflix shows, and YouTube cooking videos. Though her passion began with cooking, it was after viewing a baking video that her interests were sparked and shifted towards that. It led her to create sweet treats for her father and rest of her family, and even her community. At home, however, it is her father who decides what she is going to make because he is the one who craves sweets, according to Namiah.

“Within my family my biggest fan is my dad,” she said. “He loves to make the calls on what I am baking, and his favorite baked goods are ANYTHING with pecans.” Namiah’s go-to for him are pecan cookies sometimes made with chocolate chips.

Though her mother, Ashley, loves her baking, too, she tends to focus more on eating healthy and working out, according to Namiah. But humorously, Namiah says her mother is “one way or another in for a rude awakening [because] there is nothing that can match the warm goodness of baking!”

Namiah loves getting feedback from anyone on her sweet treats including that of her 5-year-old brother, Daely. The eldest of three children, she also likes to make goodies for her middle brother, Kingston, as well.

“It all makes me happy to see that my family and friends love my baking!” she said.

Her parents raised her and her siblings with the sentiment, “When you’re not doing what you’re doing with passion, it’s a waste of time.” By allowing all their children to autonomously pursue their interests, Namiah has been able to use the family’s kitchen to her heart’s desire. Any one lucky enough to be present at their home, gets to reap rewards of her hard work.

It was at the tender age of 5, her father discovered Namiah’s perfectionism in athletics as she repeatedly practiced drills demonstrated to her until mastering them. Eventually this led her to track and field, where she thrived on the competition with her peers while striving to become the best athlete within herself. This serves the ‘A’ student well as does being organized, writing lists and planning out her pursuits.

It was through a family friend who knew of Namiah’s passion for baking and had tasted her goodies that she applied to the Food Network’s “Kid’s Baking Championship.”

“To become one of the show’s competitors, I went through a series of interviews and was given a series of challenges before the show to see if I had what it takes,” she said. Though she will not be able to choose exactly what she will bake on the show, she hopes to be challenged with making a cake.

 

Wideshot of contestants Keaton, Miabella, Cydney, Trey, Jonah, Haylin, Nemo, Bella, Andrew, D’von, Namiah (back right), Mckenzly in front of Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldman, as seen on Kids Baking Championship, Season 9.

 

 

“I love to decorate cakes and control the outcome of any baked good,” Namiah said. “I like to make French pastries. One of my favorites right now are macaroons. I’m still perfecting my recipe.”

Though she does not necessarily admire any specific baker or individual, Namiah gathers inspiration from things around her and in whatever she is busily doing. She explained how this works by saying that if she were to walk around Paris and come home the next day, she would want to try everything out, all of what she saw and experienced.

“I say Paris because I plan to go [there] one day,” she said. “I am inspired by French baking.”

When not baking or engaging in athletic pursuits, Namiah enjoys reading “Dystopian thrillers,” devouring one book series each week.

“Recently, my mom got me a cool CSI crime scene investigation brain game book that I cannot wait to do on winter break,” she said. Namiah also loves to roller skate, play tennis, run track, and pursue her studies. The precocious teen also has a good sense of humor, likes to make people laugh, and oddly loves viewing scary movies if even by herself.

“I like to watch ‘The Conjuring,’ ‘Annabelle,’ ‘Lights Out,’ you name it,” she explained. “The funniest thing is [when] it is time to go to bed, I am sound asleep.”

Looking towards the future, Namiah hopes to have a pop-up baking business but nothing too large until she decides exactly what she would like to be. “Right now, I want to be a baker, a lawyer, and a doctor,” she said. “Of course, baking will always be a happy place for me to resort to and [help me to be] stress free.”

Though she does not necessarily desire to bake for anyone famous, Namiah enjoys baking for her community. And, as far as people she admires and aspires to be like she explained, “I do look up to women who look like me that are in community service like legal studies. It is most inspiring.”

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