WEST ORANGE, NJ — Eleven-year-old Edison Middle School student Leo McCormick is set to appear on the Food Network's iconic program "Chopped Junior" on Dec. 10.
Cooking is nothing new to McCormick, who has been whipping up a variety of tasty dishes for six years.
In fact, members of the West Orange community may remember him as a finalist in the Chili Cook-Off and Pie Bake-Off at the Farmer's Market this fall. Along with his 16-year-old brother, Nicco, McCormick took third place in the Chili Cook-Off for his Vegan Ginger Sweet Chili and first place for his Apple and Asian Pear Pie with Chocolate and Hazelnut crust.
Other local awards he has earned have included first place in the 2018 Essex County Sustainable Gingerbread House Contest and second place in the Essex County Parks Photo Contest in September, and he is also a two-year winner of the 4H Fall fair brochure cover art and best-in-class outdoor-gardening categories.
McCormick is also a talented artist, recently launching his own illustration business, LRM Illustrations, at the West Orange Farmer's Market.
His other hobbies include gardening, swimming, bass clarinet and helping out in the West Orange High School marching band’s pit crew. McCormick is also passionate about suicide awareness and designs T-shirts and hats to raise money for the cause.
"The support and encouragement he's gotten from his teachers and the school district has been amazing," said his mother, Calogera.
Becoming an artist and opening a food truck are among the West Orange student’s current aspirations.
Tune into the Dec. 10 episode of “Chopped Junior” at 8:00 p.m. on Food Network.