Sudbury teen Brady Howard has found some interesting ways to keep himself busy since the pandemic hit Canada last year and his schooling moved online.
The Grade 12 student at St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School has started an online cooking show called Quarantine Cooking.
His mom filmed Brady (or Chef B-Dizzle, as he refers to himself in the videos) making dishes for his family such as Oklahoma Smash Onion Burgers, Creamy Spinach Tomato Pasta and even Dorito Chicken Casserole.
“I was pretty bored during the first lockdown,” said the 17-year-old. “I was cooking quite a bit. I said ‘Mom, do you want to film me, and we’ll make somewhat of a funny show, nothing really serious.
“My mom really liked it and posted it on Facebook.”
Brady, who is completing high school through online learning, has continued his Quarantine Cooking show for the better part of a year now, although he’s not posting quite so many videos as he did last spring.
He said he got into cooking at the beginning of high school when he was home alone on PA days, and would cook something for himself to eat. In both Grade 9 and 11, he got a bit of training on the subject when he took the school’s foods classes.
Brady gets the inspiration for his meals from watching online recipe videos, and when he sees something he likes, he looks up the recipe.
“You get the odd failure once in a while,” he said. “There’s some stuff I messed up on. It’s an experience, right?”
He said he thinks cooking is a good skill to have as he approaches adulthood. “Because it’s one thing that you don’t necessarily just learn, even though it’s so simple and essential,” Brady said.
The teen also recently won first place in the cake decorating category in the #SkillsAtHome challenge, a Skills Ontario initiative for students in the province to explore the skilled trades and technology through a series of contests on Twitter.
The judges were apparently impressed with a cake Howard decorated to look like an Air Jordan 1 shoe.
As an aside, Howard is a “sneakerhead” — he loves collecting and trading shoes — and actually runs a small business selling shoes and clothes.
He started the business last year through the province’s Summer Company program, which helps young people start and run their own summer business.
While Howard loves cooking, he said he doesn’t bake whatsoever, but he thought he’d give the #SkillsAtHome challenge a shot.
“I’m kind of a nerd with the shoes,” Howard said. “I didn’t even have to use a reference for (the cake). I just kind of made it, and it turned out pretty good in my opinion. I’ve seen better similar ones, but I think for mine, I think I did a pretty good job for using what I have. I don’t have any special tools or anything.
“We did three layers. I stacked them up and kind of shaved them down into the foot kind of shape, and we wrapped the whole outside in fondant and did the details with a different colour on top.”
While some of Brady’s efforts over the past year have had a culinary theme, he said he doesn’t plan on going that direction for his career.
“It’s not something I see myself doing for a living,” he said. “I like cooking for myself, but I definitely couldn’t be in a kitchen all day, under pressure. I like taking my time and just enjoying it, you know?”