Who is Remmi Smith?

By the young age of 16, she has her own online cooking show, a weekly spot on her local television broadcast, a published cookbook, a line of products in grocery stores nationwide, and a website filled with recipes, cooking tutorials and fitness tips for kids. She’s Remmi Smith: the host of Cook Time with Remmi, teen entrepreneur and chef extraordinaire. We at PrimeroEdge were lucky enough to host her on Episode 12 of PEP Talks earlier this month. (Listen below)

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Photo provided by Cook Time with Remmi

Getting Started

Remmi explained that her love of cooking stemmed from her love of eating as a small child.

“When I was four years old, I was just eating everything,” she said. “So my mom decided to make me cook so she would have enough food for the rest of the kids. I started out just mixing things and washing fruits and vegetables for her. Then I found this new passion of mine, which was not just eating the food but actually making it.”

After her mother, Nancy, taught Remmi the basics of cooking, she was able to create full meals by the age of seven. Nancy then began filming Remmi cooking, then uploaded the videos to a YouTube channel. What started as a fun hobby to showcase her passion and teach kids her age how to cook has now turned into a popular web series and even a weekly segment on Tulsa Live.

The Inside Scoop on Child Nutrition

Remmi’s culinary expertise, as well as her insight into what kids like to eat, has proven invaluable for the school nutrition industry. In 2012, Remmi was named Sodexo’s Student Ambassador for Health and Nutrition. She now works with 500 executive chefs from school districts across the country to craft the perfect menus for kids’ tastes.

“We work together on recipes that are kid-friendly, taste great, and of course, are healthy and meet the school nutrition guidelines,” she said. “I was super surprised to be selected as their ambassador. I have been able to travel across the country to different schools to talk to students about eating healthy and do demos. It’s an incredible experience.”

Sodexo uses many of Remmi’s original recipes in the districts they serve. She also creates special recipes for their “Fresh Pick” initiative, where the company introduces a new fruit or vegetable in the school cafeterias each month to encourage kids to try new foods. A few notable culinary creations include her strawberry salsa, vegetable bakes, and white bean bruschetta with jicama – a Fresh Pick item.

For school nutrition professionals looking to better market their menus to kids, Remmi’s advice is simple: ask!

“What I’ve noticed whenever I’m making food for kids is that I always try to ask them, ‘What is your favorite type of fruit or vegetable?’ or ‘What do you like that’s healthy?’,” she said. “Having that information is helpful. Try talking to kids or getting a group of ‘guinea pigs’ to see what kids like, then find a nice medium between what is better for them and what they like.”

Cook Time with Remmi Goes Global

In recent years, Remmi’s “Cook Time with Remmi” legacy has grown exponentially. In 2010, she launched a salad dressing dry spice packet which is available at Whole Foods Market.

“You can make it at home, so it’s fresh when you make it,” she said. “All you do is add oil and vinegar. It’s not just for salads – you can also use it for marinades. It’s delicious, nutritious and it’s super light.”

In 2013, Remmi published her first cookbook: Global Cooking for Kids. This cookbook was created to inspire other children to explore other cultures and foods from around the world.

“I took one country from each continent and made a meal out of that country’s cuisine,” Remmi said. “I also included fun food and history facts about each country, so

[kids] don’t have to visit those countries to experience them. It’s an educational experience as well as a culinary one.”

CHEF: Cook Healthy, Exercise Frequently

As for Remmi’s next business venture, a snack subscription box for kids is in the works. Remmi’s “CHEF” Club Box will deliver healthy snacks to your doorstep each month, for busy families who are on-the-go and don’t have time to prepare and pack healthy snacks. These boxes are full of delicious, nutritious and nonperishable snacks – made from Remmi’s own recipes – as well as exercise tips and an item or game that promotes fitness.

“My favorite part of being healthy is the eating healthy part,” she said. “But I always stress that it’s not just one-sided; you have to have the balance between eating healthy and exercising.”

So, what does this teen chef do for exercise?

“Personally, I like to run,” she said. “Running is a soothing thing for me to do. I put on my jams and just go. I think having that adrenaline from getting exercise is definitely worth it. A lot of kids think that exercise is hard work and not fun, but if you play your cards right, there are some fun exercise games that kids can play that are actually fun.”

For those who want to start a fitness regimen but don’t know where to begin, Remmi offered the following advice.

“Make a plan, and set a goal for yourself,” she said. “I like to have a rewards system for myself. So, if I go run a mile and a half today, then I get to binge-watch Netflix for an hour. Or, if I go run for 30 minutes, I can come home and read four chapters of a book. I think setting yourself up to have a good outcome in the end is one of the easier things to do, and setting goals is important too.”

On Selecting Mentors

Because of her interest in the culinary arts, as well as her spirit of entrepreneurship, Remmi has picked up many mentors over the years. Through her show, she was able to meet many chefs and restaurant owners in Tulsa, who taught her the technical side of cooking. She also looks up to Clay Clark, a growth consultant and business owner who promotes entrepreneurship and teaches others how to grow or salvage their own businesses.

“I think one of the most important things I’ve learned from my mentors is to focus,” she said. “Focus and hone in on making something work, then once that is successful, move on to something else.”

For those who are looking for mentors of their own, Remmi suggests finding people who are already doing what you want to do.

“People are willing to help when they see that passion,” she said. “I think finding someone who is what you want to be or has done what you want to do is important. Entrepreneurs make great mentors too, because they have been where you are.”

Giving Back

In addition to her impressive resume, Remmi also has a heart for philanthropy. After realizing the growing problem of childhood hunger in her home state of Oklahoma, she teamed up with the organization No Kid Hungry in 2013.

“I started working with them and spreading awareness, and I became the spokesperson for them,” she said. “I put their message in all of my videos, and on Sodexo’s platforms, and I like to raise awareness for them whenever I travel.”

Time Management

Between cooking, filming her TV show, managing her business, going to school, exercising, traveling and hanging out with friends, Remmi has a lot on her plate. But she manages her time quite well with a simple approach.

“I try to write things down to keep myself in check,” she said. “I’m a person who loses focus easily, but when I write it down, it kind of cements it for me. I’m a big list person. I have to schedule time for my social life, for school and for work. If I make sure to stick to that schedule, my life stays pretty balanced and I don’t get too stressed out.”

Remmi’s Best Advice

For children who want to begin cooking for their families, Remmi advises them to first nail the basics, then step outside of their comfort zones.

“Cooking is the same thing every time – you cook, sautée , put food in the oven,” she said. “It’s a simple process. But if you don’t learn the basics in the beginning, it’ won’t help you in the future. Perfecting those easier things to do will help you in the long run. Cooking is not just about making food, but also expressing yourself in food.”

What’s next for this superstar? Currently, Remmi is currently saving up for college – she would like to attend the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to study the culinary arts, or Stanford University to study mathematics and engineering. When speaking with us about the future, she emphasized the importance of setting lofty goals  – no matter one’s age.

“There’s really no age as to when you can follow your dreams,” she said. “You’re never too old or too young to go after what you really want to do. If you have that passion and you’re willing to put in the work, you’re going to have success in the end.


 

Be sure to check out Remmi Smith on her many social channels, or visit her website for recipes, videos and more at CookTimewithRemmi.com.

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