Young chef inspires kids to eat healthy

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Amber Kelley 2
Courtesy Photo Amber Kelley
Amber Kelley is an active young girl who loves gymnastics, swimming and in her words, “just being up and moving.”

She also enjoys singing, while art is her favorite subject at school.

Cooking, though, is the 9-year-old’s passion, and recently, she’s made it her mission to spread the word about healthy eating by creating online cooking videos.

Her hope is that other kids will watch the videos and be inspired to eat healthy, as well as want to learn how to make healthy meals and snacks for themselves and their families.

“I’ve been cooking with my mom ever since I can remember,” says the Woodinville girl.

She adds, “I like being in the kitchen, and cooking allows me to experiment with different utensils and foods. The best part is being able to eat the results. And I love to eat good food!”

Initially, Amber wanted her mom to make the cooking videos, but because her mom was very busy, she decided to do them on her own.

After watching a number of different cooking shows on TV such as the “Barefoot Contessa,” “Giada at Home” and “Tyler’s Ultimate,” she had some ideas as to how to proceed with her plans.

“I think about what I like to eat and what I think other kids will like,” she explains. “I also think about if it’s easy and simple to make.” After practicing how to prepare the selected dish and taking note of each step in the process, Amber readies herself for the video session by gathering her ingredients and supplies.

“My mom films me with an iPad,” she explains, “and my 6-year-old sister Lexi helps, too. She’s my taste tester.”

At first, the videos were put on a YouTube channel, but in an effort to reach more people, Amber has begun posting them to a Facebook page that her mom helped her create.

In just one week, the page reached approximately 800 people, with 69 “likes” and the number continues to grow.

“I was really surprised by the response,” says Amber. “I thought only my friends and family would look at the videos, but there are lots of people who I don’t know looking at them, which is great!”

She adds, “They tell me they like what I do and that I’m doing a great job which makes me feel good. They also give me ideas about what to cook next, which is helpful.”

Thus far, Amber has shown her audiences how to make a Greek salad, kale chips, pesto pasta with chicken and zucchini, hummus with Kalamata olives and one of her all-time favorites — a green smoothie.On her Facebook page, she also includes ready-made snack ideas that can be bought in the store, such as roasted seaweed and frozen organic cherries.

About the cherries, she comments, “They are sweet and cold like little fruit popsicles.”

In her upcoming shows, Amber plans to demonstrate how to make taco salad, lemon chicken and a power breakfast concoction.

Additionally in the works is a live interview with her uncle, Matt Kelley, who is the pastry chef at Barking Frog.

“I think people will be interested in learning about what he does,” she adds. “He has a fun job!”

When asked how long she will continue to do the cooking shows, the young chef responds, “I don’t know. Maybe forever.”

She adds, “I just want to get more kids to eat healthy. If they know that it’s not hard to do this and that it’s fun, hopefully they will give it a try. It’s important to eat healthy so that you can move and think well, and not get sick.”

To follow “Cook with Amber” visit: or

Amber’s Green Smoothie Recipe:

(I use a Vitamix blender. If using a smaller blender, you will have to adjust ingredient amounts accordingly)

• 1.5 cups filtered water

•  (optional) 1 Tablespoon chia seeds

• 3 handfuls of spinach

• 1 frozen banana

• About 1 cup frozen berries (I love strawberries and blueberries!)

1. Put the water, chia seeds, and spinach in the blender. Blend well until totally smooth.

2. Add banana and berries, and blend. Add more water if needed to reach desired consistency. If you like a sweeter smoothie, you can add more banana or a little bit of natural sweetener like stevia or honey.

3. Drink, enjoy and be healthy!

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