I’m a Tulsa Kid: Remmi Smith
In the day and age of social media, Remmi Smith, a 16-year-old junior at Bishop Kelley High School, had a dream and a whole lot of determination. It was a perfect storm of grit and technology that led her to become a young entrepreneur and a reality TV star. Remmi has launched her own Italian dressing line, YouTube channel, has become a teen mentor and was featured on Food Network’s Chopped. There is not much young Remmi hasn’t done or is afraid to do.
Q: How did you start cooking?
Remmi: I began in the kitchen at just 4-years old by helping my mom wash fruits and vegetables and mix things like salads. Soon, I became more interested in cooking, and my mom taught me basic techniques such as sautéing, roasting, baking and boiling! I was finally able to make a full meal by the time I was 7.
Q: How did you start “Cook Time with Remmi,” your online show?
Remmi: Cook Time with Remmi actually came out of an idea by my older brother. He suggested that we do online cooking videos because it would be fun.
Q: How did you start “The Culinary Kid?” Where can I view it?
Remmi: I started “The Culinary Kid” series after “Cook Time with Remmi” because we partnered with Oklahoma State University’s Institute of Technology since they had heard about us. We were also able to partner with Metro Appliances and More for a kitchen and Whole Foods Market for food. So, in “The Culinary Kid,” I learned new cooking techniques from chefs around town following the curriculum of the Culinary Arts program. Then, I made a meal for that chef using the technique they taught me and served it to them. Finally, they gave me an honorary pass or fail.
Q: You also have launched a business. Tell us about the Chef Club Box?
Remmi: Chef Club Box is a subscription snack box that solves the problem of finding healthy snack options for busy parents. Each month the box comes with yummy and healthy snacks that are all kid-approved. The box isn’t just food, though. CHEF is an acronym, meaning Cook Healthy, Exercise Frequently. To promote this message, we include a food holiday calendar, activity booklet with fun food facts, recipe cards and exercise tips, and an item that either promotes cooking or exercising.
Q: How does it feel to be a teen mentor for thrive15.com?
Remmi: Being a mentor for Thrive15 is an extremely gratifying job. It means that I am able to share my own experiences and pass them on to entrepreneurs who may be going through the same thing. Also Thrive15 is great because there’s a plethora of useful information all in one place.
Q: You were named Top 20 to watch by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, what does that mean to you?
Remmi: It means that I am a role model for a healthier lifestyle, which I’m really grateful for. I love to work with other organizations that are also trying to end childhood obesity or end childhood hunger or overall improve the health of another person.
Q: I hear you have your own Italian Dressing line! Where can I find this?
Remmi: Currently, it’s sold at Whole Foods Market and Reasor’s.
Q: You now have a cookbook. What inspired you?
Remmi: I actually received the opportunity for my cookbook at the National Restaurant Association while doing a demonstration for Sodexo (one of the duties as the Student Ambassador for Health and Wellness). The publishing company came up to me and asked if I wanted to do a cookbook, so the opportunity fell into my lap! The cookbook came out of the idea to learn about new countries and their foods. I, personally, didn’t really look much into this until the cookbook, and now I think it’d be awesome for other kids or teens to learn as well.
Q: You were on Food Network’s Chopped. How was that experience? How did it feel to get picked for the TV show? What is something you learned during the experience?
Remmi: Chopped was surreal. It’s actually pretty hard to put all of the excitement and anticipation and fears that I felt into words. Getting picked for the show was like one of those moments where you can’t believe it’s happening until you’ve digested it for 24 hours and then it sinks in. During Chopped, I think the greatest lesson was to go with my instinct and just start doing. That’s the quickest and best way to learn.
Q: Who inspires you?
Remmi: I am privileged to be inspired by so many people who surround me. I think the food celebrity I’m most inspired by is Bobby Flay. He is just so talented and intuitive and I want to get to his level in the kitchen. Day-to-day, I’m inspired by my mom. She has been by my side since day one and continues to show me how hard work and dedication pays off.
Q; What inspires your cooking?
Remmi: My cooking is most inspired by healthy foods and by fun. I always try to make a dish nutritious while still tasting delicious. I also love to have fun in the kitchen, so a lot of dishes come out of whatever’s in my fridge!
Q: What advice do you have for other young chefs?
Remmi: Experimentation is key. You really never know until you try. Also, don’t forget that cooking is an art and so whatever you put on your plate is your masterpiece.
Q: What advice do you have for other young entrepreneurs?
Remmi: It’s okay to fail! It happens to all of us. You just have to learn the best way to learn from your mistakes and do better the next time.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
Remmi: Hopefully, I will go to culinary school and someday open up my own restaurant…or maybe a food truck!
Q: How do you balance your chef duties, hit TV show, a business, and school life?
Remmi: Time management is a must. It’s not something I’ve mastered, yet, but I’m working on it. The biggest part is scheduling a lot of my business duties on the weekends or after school. Thankfully, going to Bishop Kelley has helped a lot as well. They have been willing to let me travel for work, and teachers are willing to offer extra help when I’m gone.
Q: Name a fun fact about you.
Remmi: I was born in China and was adopted when I was 10-months old…I even have a Chinese name! My Chinese name is Yang Fu Shun. I was born in the year of the Dragon and their characteristics are driven, unafraid and willing to take risks.