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Culinary wiz kid will make national debut tonight

LaGRANGE —At least one group in Troup County will be glued to their television sets Tuesday night at 8 p.m.

But the Brooks family will not be watching the presidential election results; instead all eyes will be on the Food Network’s culinary show “Chopped Junior.”

Twelve-year-old Zikei Brooks, a student at Callaway Middle School, will be a contestant on the show along with three other young chefs.

After applying for the show and making it through three rounds of auditions, Zikei and his mom, Aldes Brooks, flew to New York City to tape the episode in April.

Zikei, plus the other contestants, had a photo shoot and took a tour of the set and the kitchen before taping the show.

“I was pretty confident, but excited and nervous to be around all the cameras,” Zikei told the LaGrange Daily News in a Nov. 3 article. “It was kind of confusing because you had all these different people telling you different things and you had to take it all in.”

The four young contestants prepared an appetizer, entree and dessert for the celebrity judges on Chopped Junior. The judges critique every plate and one junior chef is eliminated after each round.

Aldes said she was proud of her son’s performance.

“In New York, Zikei really stood out as a leader … the judges and producers complimented his demeanor and knife skills,” she added.

The Brooks’ were not permitted to tell the LaGrange Daily News the outcome of Zikei’s episode on Chopped Junior.

The last junior chef standing will win a grand prize of $10,000.

Folks can watch Zikei’s episode of Chopped Junior on the Food Network tonight at 8 p.m.

Zikei Brooks, 12, (second from right) smiles among the other contestants on the Food Network’s show, ‘Chopped Junior.’The group had a photo shoot, plus took a tour of the set and the kitchen before taping the show in New York City.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/11/web1_chef2.jpgZikei Brooks, 12, (second from right) smiles among the other contestants on the Food Network’s show, ‘Chopped Junior.’The group had a photo shoot, plus took a tour of the set and the kitchen before taping the show in New York City.

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Zikei Brooks, 12, gives a thumbs up inside the kitchen of Chopped Junior. The Callaway Middle School student was a contestant on the Food Network show. Zikei’s show will air tonight at 8 p.m.

http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2016/11/web1_chopped1.jpgZikei Brooks, 12, gives a thumbs up inside the kitchen of Chopped Junior. The Callaway Middle School student was a contestant on the Food Network show. Zikei’s show will air tonight at 8 p.m.

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Local student to appear on ‘Chopped Junior’

By Melanie Ruberti

melanie.ruberti@lagrangenews.com

Melanie Ruberti is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. She can be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2156.