Young chefs on the block

These teenagers have learnt to make cheesecakes, burgers, pastas and a lot more during the pandemic
Last Updated : 23 January 2022, 09:32 IST

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It is not just WFH adults who have taken to cooking big time during the pandemic. Even teens are whipping up drool-worthy treats as they stay cooped up at home.

Take the case of Samarth Rao from Bengaluru. The 15-year-old makes north Indian food and Italian staples. He is quite a baker too. He sells cheesecakes and customised cakes through his Instagram page @rao_bakes.

“Food is a way of bonding with people. I feel happy when customers feel good after eating my cheesecakes. Plus, cooking has taught me patience as one needs to wait and see how the food turns out,” he says. Where did he learn baking from? Samarth says he refers to ‘Tasty’, a YouTube Channel.

Fourteen-year-old Rohan Rao would like to open a restaurant one day and he is working towards it. He helps his mother and aunt in cooking, picking up lessons and rigours of a kitchen from them. Plus, he loves watching ‘MasterChef’, a TV show that inspired all age groups to foray into the kitchen. Cooking is a stress-buster” and he has rustled up choco lava cakes, chocolate chip cookies, cakes and pizzas. “The only challenge I faced was the unavailability of certain ingredients like fresh paneer and herbs and greens like lettuce,” Rohan shares.

Vishnumaya Namboodiri, 16, was driven to cook to satiate her hunger pangs. “I was curious to learn my family recipes,” she gives another reason. Soon, YouTube channel ‘Your Cooking Lab’ became her cooking tutor and she learnt to make Indian and Italian food and some Chinese dishes as well.

Between school and assignments, when do they find to bake and experiment? “I usually cook on the weekends. For every order that I receive, I plan my schedule accordingly,” says Samarth.

Samarth’s No Bake Vanilla Cheesecake

Type of cake tin to use: Springform tin

Ingredients: Digestive biscuits (10-14), 100 gm or 1/2 cup butter, 300 gm cream cheese, 1 cup whipping cream, vanilla extract, 1 cup or more powdered sugar, vegetarian gelatine/agar-agar, 2 tbsp hot water.


Crush the digestive biscuits and mix in the melted butter.

Transfer the mixture to a cake tin and press down evenly. Refrigerate till firm.

Whisk the whipping cream for 6-8 minutes till stiff.

Whip the cream cheese till fluffy (ideally 2 minutes).

Add the whipping cream to the cream cheese and fold in gently.

Mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract till combined well.

Mix veg gelatine/ agar-agar with hot water and add to the mixture.

Pour it into the cake tin with the biscuit base and refrigerate for over 6 hours.

Once the base and filling are set, serve with fresh cream or berries

Rohan’s Banana Pancake

Ingredients: 2-3 large bananas (ripe), 2 eggs, 2 tbsp flour, a pinch of salt, 1 tsp baking powder, butter or oil for greasing, and honey. Berries, chocolate chips and sprinkles(optional)


Mash the bananas roughly.

Beat in eggs and dry ingredients.

Stir in berries, chocolate chips and sprinkles (optional).

Heat a pan on medium heat and add 1 tsp of butter or oil.

Pour the batter and cook for 1.5 to 2 minutes per side.

Top it with honey and enjoy.


These young bakers share their favourite recipes. Always cook under parental supervision.

Published 21 January 2022, 17:29 IST

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