Photo Cutline: Jacob with his mother, Leslie, and sister, Ellie, in front of their family restaurant in Yazoo City.
Mother and son team Leslie Roark Scott and Jacob Scott of Yazoo City are taking the food competition scene by storm. Leslie competed on Food Network’s Chopped Grill Masters in 2015, and 12-year-old Jacob recently competed in Food Network’s Kids BBQ Championship, with his episode premiering Monday, May 23 at 7 p.m. Central Time.
Co-owner of Ubon’s in Yazoo City, Leslie earned the title of “pit master,” winning her first episode of Chopped. According to Jacob, she, along with his grandfather, Gary Roark, has inspired him in his pursuit of the culinary arts.
“I’ve been cooking since I was five or six years old,” he said. “It’s in my veins. My grandfather and my mom passed the tradition on to me. It’s really fun cooking with them – I feel safe and not nervous when they’re around.”
Kids BBQ Championship will feature eight of the country’s finest young barbecuers, taking on the first-ever battle to find the best kid grill master. Hosts Camila Alves and Eddie Jackson lead the young chefs through a series of challenges that will test their barbecue skills as well as their creativity on the grill. Only one will take home the grand prize of $20,000 and a feature in Food Network Magazine. The themed challenges will range from a Hawaiian luau to a cowboy campfire.
Jacob is not new to the competition scene – he has experienced helping his mom and grandfather at competitions like Memphis in May, the Big Apple BBQ in New York City and the Windy City Smokeout in Chicago. During the competitions, he said, he helps with pork shoulder prep and generally helps with anything that needs to be done.
In his first-ever competition, he cooked sausage and made his own barbeque sauce using a secret ingredient – his grandmother’s cumquat jam. He was six years old.
“I’ve always loved cooking because it’s peaceful. I can just think and be creative, making whatever I want,” said Jacob.
His signature dish is pork chops stuffed with homemade pimiento cheese, served with squash, asparagus and mashed potatoes. His favorite thing to eat from his Ubon’s, he said, is a brisket sandwich.
As for future aspirations, Jacob hopes to attend business school, culinary school, and eventually open his own restaurant.
“I want to travel around the world and bring the things I like back here,” he said. “I want to mix them with what I already know how to cook to make it even better.”
For more information on Jacob’s episode of Kids BBQ Championship, visit the Food Network blog.