Sugar House’s little chef
Dec 01, 2017 08h00
By Natalie Mollinet
Mimi Craven loads her wagon with food for her neighbors. (Photo/Lenore Craven)
Most people have heard of Disney’s “Ratatouille” and the little chef who’s a rat named Remy. But have you heard of Sugar House’s little chef? She is by no means a rat but rather an energetic fifth grader from Beacon Height’s Elementary who has a passion for putting together delicious meals. Sugar House’s little chef, Mimi Craven, has been making dinner for her family, and now she’s turning up the heat and pushing her culinary talents to new levels.
“When my fifth boy was born we had to figure out a way to keep everybody fed,” Lenore Craven, Mimi’s mother said. “Often times I had to attend to one of the two littlest kids right in the middle of making dinner, so someone had to keep the sautéed vegetables from burning.”
That’s when Mimi stepped in. She started helping her mom when her 3-year-old sister was a newborn. While her mom took care of her younger siblings, Mimi kept an eye on the stove and help put a meal together.
“We started cooking as a family with Blue Apron, one of those boxed ingredient delivery services,” Craven said. “When she was about 8, Mimi loved the step-by-step instructions and asked to help chop the produce. Little kids feel very honored and responsible when you allow them to use knives.”
Craven noticed that when her children had the opportunity to help make dinner, they were more likely to eat it. All were proud of what they accomplished but it was Mimi who really caught on to being the cook.
“Mimi almost always contributes to some portion of the meal preparation,” Craven said. “She either comes up with ideas of what to make, helps pick up groceries, she’ll ride her bike to the store for a particular ingredient and helps in the preparation.”
Mimi also likes to share her culinary creations. Not only does she make dinner for her family, but she takes meals to her neighbors. She loads up her wagon with bowls of food and hand delivers it to neighbors who need it. Mimi even made a one-pot pasta dish for her teacher during Teacher Appreciation Week.
She loves Martha Stewart, and uses her cookbooks as well as studies Martha Stewart’s TV episodes with a pen and paper in hand to write down directions. Last summer, Mimi took a Thai cooking class in Phuket, Thailand. She also took a trip to Paris where she enjoyed authentic boeuf bourguignon, which is now one of her favorite meals to make.
“I have always liked making crafts, and cooking is crafting you can eat,” Mimi said. “When you make crafts it’s more about the making process and then I don’t know what to do with the finished project but with cooking, I get to enjoy watching other people at my craft.”
She was featured on KSL’s Studio 5 this year, and since then has been getting requests from people for her meals.
“I’ve learned that cooking is a passion and not a job,” Mimi said. “Making food should be fun and not a chore. I’ve also become pretty good at tasting things at restaurants and guessing what’s in them. I think my taste buds are pretty mature for a 10 year old.”
Mimi said that she wants to continue making meals and eventually refine her talent in culinary school. Her mother believes that it’s important for Mimi and the family to enjoy tasty food as well as learn about and enjoy cuisines from around the world.
As for Mimi, she keeps setting culinary goals.
“I keep cooking because I got so into it that I couldn’t stop,” Mimi said. “It was my life. I hope to be able to make macaroons because they are so cute, tiny and delicious.”
Below is one of Mimi’s favorite recipes.
Special K bars:
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 24 bars
• 6 cups Special K cereal
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup light corn syrup
• 1 cup peanut butter
• 1 bag (11.5 oz.) milk chocolate chips
• 1 bag (11 oz.) butterscotch chips
1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and corn syrup. Bring to a boil and let boil 1-2 minutes or until sugar dissolves.
2. Remove from heat and add peanut butter. Mix well.
3. Pour over cereal and mix thoroughly. Spread evenly into a 9 x 13 baking dish and press down.
4. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine milk chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. Microwave on high for 60 seconds and stir. Continue microwaving at 15-second intervals and stirring until melted and smooth.
5. Using a spatula, spread chocolate mixture over cereal mixture.
6. Allow to harden (about 1 hour) and cut into 24 rectangles to serve.