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)
Photo provided by Cook Time with Remmi
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