Baker, Food Network Holiday Baking Champ, gives back to kids


There’s a home baker in our region still basking in a national championship glow.

Jason Smith is a grade school cafeteria manager who now has television fame, a New York City P.R. firm, and a 50 thousand dollar first prize. But this holiday baking hero says his season of giving is just beginning.

Smith wants to show young people that if you believe you can achieve. That’s the hills and hollows, grassroots philosophy the Isonville Elementary cafeteria chief took to the Food Network. Smith out baked executive chefs and bakery owners to win the Holiday Baking championship.

Jason said, “The heritage recipes were important, and how much family means to us here in Kentucky. So I wanted to show exactly what that meant.”

To give back, Smith will use some of his winnings and go to school cafeterias and creating his “Taste the World” program, to explore and expand culinary creativity. Jason wants to introduce Appalachian kids to some of the exotic fruits that they might be able to cook with from around the world, like kiwi, mango, even pineapple.

Smith told us, “I had a child who had never seen a pineapple. He knew it came out of a can, but had never seen one, I want to just give them a sense of hey – I’ve had things from all over the world, maybe someday id like to go into culinary and baking just like Jason has.”

Grade schooler Ty McGlone agreed and said “It would help us kids learn more about food and things from around the world and world geography.”

Smith said he’d start his project close to home with Carter and Elliott county students, but the holiday baking champ says taste the world should have no boundaries.

“Hopefully we’ll go Kentucky wide, then into West Virginia and maybe a tri-state area, and maybe grow into a national thing,” Jason said.

Smith said he’d love to have his own show on Food Network, sharing heritage recipes. He’s waiting until after the holidays to talk with Food Network executives.

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