Arielle Wayner (age 14) and her brother, Alfie (age 10), are a dynamic duo in the kitchen. The two just tested their mettle on “It’s a Sibling Thing,” a unique episode of Food Network’s Chopped. Here’s what these proud New Rochelle residents and talented chefs have to say about facing the challenge as a team and coming out victorious.
How long have you been cooking together? What’s your favorite thing to make?
Arielle: We’ve been cooking together ever since Alfie could go into the kitchen with me, when he was about 7. We learned to cook from our grandmother, who comes from Jamaica, and we always make her famous mac ’n’ cheese together for family gatherings.
How did it feel to find out you were going on the show?
Arielle: I was so excited. At first, I’d auditioned to go on by myself, but when I found out my brother could come with me, it was so reassuring to know he’d be there.
Alfie: And I was happy to be included!
We know you couldn’t spoil what happens on the episode, but can you describe your experience competing?
Arielle: It was super surreal. It took me until the clock started counting down to process that I was really on the show. They took us on a tour of the kitchen first; we got to meet the judges and [Chopped host] Ted Allen, and they were all really nice. So even though I was nervous, it was so exciting, too.
Alfie: I thought it was really fun, but at the same time I thought, how are we even going to do this? In 30 minutes?! You have to take something you’ve never seen before and figure out how to make it work. Normally that’d take like an hour and a half.
What were the benefits of working together?
Arielle: We cheer each other up in the kitchen, so if one of us isn’t feeling good about a dish, the other one is there for support. So that helped with the stress.
Alfie: I think we learned a lot from that experience.
Arielle: Yes, especially about each other and how we work under pressure. I learned that if you ask Alfie for something, he’ll do it, no question.
Alfie: I think being under all that stress made me not think twice or talk back, and just do it.
Arielle: He was a great teammate. I was lucky to not only work with my sibling, but to have a teammate with such a creative mind. His ideas were really out of the box and innovative, so when the judges were looking for originality in a dish, it was great that we could collaborate.
So what’s next? Will you keep competing?
Arielle: Some family friends have a cooking competition each year at Thanksgiving that we’ll do. And we’re thinking of starting a food blog. We’ll maybe take a break from filmed competition [laughs]. But obviously we’ll always keep cooking.
Arielle and Alfie’s crowning episode aired on Tuesday, January 22 at 9 p.m. on Food Network. Check here for episode info and repeat airtimes.
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