Chris Ekpiken is one of the hottest new chefs in Ann Arbor

. October 30, 2015.

For anyone who still has trouble flipping an omelet, take note: 13-year-old Chris Ekpiken is one of the hottest new chefs in Ann Arbor after making it all the way to the finals of Food Network’s “Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook Off.” Starting with a pool of over 12,000 applicants, Kids Cook Off whittled the final number of contestants down to eight supremely talented young cooks. Those eight – including Ekpiken – were then featured in five elimination episodes that tested their advanced culinary skills. Mining his rich family history for inspiration – Chris’ mother is from New Orleans and his father is from Nigeria – Ekpiken was able to to create some truly amazing dishes on his way to making it all the way to the season finale, where he and three other competitors cooked in front of “Chopped” celebrity chefs and judges. Though he didn’t emerge as the overall champion (that honor eventually went to Scarlett Smorynski of Hollywood, CA), Ekpiken’s recipes were a hit all over the country, and especially here in his hometown of Ann Arbor. Of special note was Ekpiken’s Kung Pao Barbecue sauce, now one of the most talked about dishes in Washtenaw County. Have no fear if you missed out – Ekpiken is sure to be popping up in kitchens across town, wowing taste buds and proving that if you follow your passion, you never know where it can take you.