Sophia Rhodes loves watching Chef Kevin Belton cook, but she may prefer watching him cook.
NEW ORLEAN – Even at the age of nine, Sophia Rhodes has found her passion. You can see it just by watching him for a few seconds: Cooking is his calling.
Sophia has experienced major health challenges in her youth. He has COST Syndrome, a name for a list of medical conditions that can affect the body in various ways, from the heart and lungs to the eyes, ears and more.
“Some of them are very big and some of them are quite light, and we have been blessed and fortunate that Sophia’s experience with CHARGE has been quite light,” said her mother, Amanda.
He calls it lighthearted, but that’s because we’re dealing with a strong family. Until the past year, Sophia had a tracheotomy to help her breathe.
And what touched us the most is that this little chef can’t eat the food he likes to cook.
“He’s had G-tube since he was seven weeks old,” explained his mother.
That tube of food meant he couldn’t taste it, but he was sure to enjoy every moment.
Her mother said there is hope that she will be able to eat and enjoy food one day. Now she can taste food with little taste and go through therapy in hopes of making her healthy enough to one day eat all the delicious food she cooks.
When her mother contacted Chef Kev on social media to say she liked watching him cook on TV, she knew they had to meet up. And soon, one of his smallest fans will make a big impression.
We asked Sophia’s mom to arrange a surprise Zoom meeting, with them at home in Indiana, and Chef Kevin on the set of his new PBS series, which was filmed at the WYES-TV studios at Lakeview and will premiere nationally later this year.
“I’m so glad you like cooking,” he said. “I don’t know if you know how happy that makes me. Because when I was your age, I used to watch Julia Child cook and now know that you pay attention to me, it was really special. “
“Absolutely incredible,” he replied.
Chef Kev asked Sophia’s parents, Amanda and John if they enjoyed eating all the food their daughter cooked.
“Oh yeah, we like to go to the kitchen and cook together,” said Amanda. “We try to always let him help and if we don’t let him, he asked, can I do that? Can I go in there? “
There are more surprises to us than just a Zoom call. We also sent Sophia a box of goodies, including Kevin Belton’s oven mittens, some condiments, an apron, and even the t-shirt she proudly wore to school the next morning. We also sent you Chef Kevin’s latest cookbook, which he loves.
“I want you to take the recipe and make it yours, okay?” she asked him.
“Yes, very cool!” she answered. “I love cooking!”
Chef Kevin jokes that he loves to cook as much as he loves to eat, which makes him smile.
She says she will use her cookbook to make beignets, something she has never tried before.
“You have not? So in the book there is a beignet recipe, savory or sweet. I know you can do it, “Chef Kev told her.
“I am very happy to be spending time with you and I hope you know I will keep in touch with you,” she said, adding that she is working on an upcoming project involving the kids in the kitchen and she will be the first person she calls.
“Keep practicing, keep being a sweet and sweet person like yourself and promise me you will take care of mom and dad,” he told her.
“I really love you because I love what I do and love me,” he said.
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