Cookin’ It Up With Ayla


Junior Ayla Davis cooking at Chopped Junior. Photo courtesy of Davis.

Gabby Abowitz, Features Editor and Art Director

Many students here at Parkway Central have unique interests and hobbies that they pursue outside of school. For some it could be their after school job, practicing their instrument, or playing sports. For junior Ayla Davis, she found her passion in the kitchen.
Davis first indulged in cooking when she was just six-years-old at the culinary school she opened with her parents. Their school, ABC Chefs Cooking Academy, which now resides in the Chesterfield Mall,offers 10 summer camp sessions for kids to learn how to bake and cook in addition to regular cooking and baking classes throughout the year. It was there that Ayla discovered her love for the art and spent every day there learning and teaching.
After spending years developing her skills, her real cooking journey began when she was 11 years old.
“I was 11 when I auditioned for MasterChef Junior season 3 and I filmed it and it aired when I was 12,” Davis said. “My experience was awesome, it was my first time going to California and my first time coming out of my shell and just hanging out with other people.”
But her appearances on cooking shows didn’t stop there. She has also appeared on Chopped Junior and Guy Fieri’s show Guy’s Grocery Games.
“One of my friends was on it that I actually did MasterChef Junior with was actually on Grocery Games with me, so that was just like a throwback and was really fun,” Davis said.
Most recently, she appeared in a new show called Stove Tots in 2018 that she won. She even does several news segments here locally and has been honored with her own day in Chesterfield, Chef Ayla Day on Feb. 5. Beyond the screen, Davis released her own cookbook titled “Just a Pinch of Pink” in 2017 when she was 14 years old.The book mainly features her favorite rainbow recipes and so-called unicorn foods.
Because of her vast experience in the cooking show world, Davis now even has an upper hand in the industry.
“I actually don’t have to audition for shows anymore because I’ve done so many, so they actually ask me to come on instead,” Davis said.
If you ever wondered if kids on the cooking show can actually cook, Davis has the inside scoop.
“The kids going on these shows actually know how to cook and if you were young, like 7 or 8, they would have a culinary aid next to you and the kids would say aw I’m tired of standing on my feet all day and it’s like 6 or 8 hours a day but if your older,” said Davis.
A lot of what she learned and experienced that led her to write her own book came from her experience on the cooking shows she participated in. Her most competitive experience was on Chopped Junior.
“Chopped Junior was actually really competitive and it was fun, but it was pretty serious. Everybody was trying to win,” Davis said. “And then Masterchef there was just so many of us so I was there for like two months filming so we all just kind of became a family. That was definitely my favorite.”
Her plans for the future are not certain but being on these TV shows has given her experience and opportunities she could not get anywhere else.
“They affected my life in a big way, I’m pretty sure if I didn’t do any of those shows, I would not know who I am today or what I like,” Davis said. “When I first did Masterchef, it let me know that I do want to act or do something in entertainment when I’m older. I wanted to do something in entertainment and it just confirmed that.”
Although Davis is first and foremost passionate about cooking, she knows when it’s time to broaden her horizons so she doesn’t burn out.
“Right now I’m not doing any shows, I even told my agent and my manager I need a break from the cooking because that’s all I’ve been doing for the past four years,” Davis said.
“I’m taking a break and enjoying high school, but I do move back to LA in four months, I think permanently, so I can get back to acting because it’s pilot season.” Davis said.