Logan Guleff, known on social media as Logan Jr Chef, has set the bar for kid chefs (or chefs of any age). I first ‘met’ Logan on Twitter during Season 2 when he won MasterChef Junior. He kindly agreed to guest host Diva Foodies’ Tweet Chat, #FoodTVChat.
Logan’s Chef Notes & Half Bake Tales – Cooking Dreams is a graphic, adventure story that includes sophisticated recipes for kids who love to cook or are beginning to learn to cook and want to see their cooking dreams come to life.
My goal was to include real information from the chef world. As I mentioned before, it matters so much to me to teach kids real skills. – Logan Guleff
About Logan Guleff
Logan’s culinary acheivements began when he was 9 with a food demonstation on the TODAY Show. This young chef’s list of awards and accomplishments is nothing short of impressive.
Most Influential Teens by Time Magazine Most Influential People 18 under 18 by Fortune Magazine Winner of James Beard Foundation Sustainable Blended Burger The Next Great Southern Cook by Southern Living Magazine Winner of MasterChef Junior with Gordon Ramsay Season Two Youngest Certified Judge World Barbeque Championship Contest Youngest to cook at James Beard House in New York City Judge for International Young Chef Olympiad held in India TEDx Speaker Entrepreneur
Please enjoy this special interview with an inspiring (and very nice) young man ~ Logan Guleff
Diva Foodies: How do you describe your first cookbook Logan’s Chef Notes & Half Bake Tales – Cooking Dreams? Is it a graphic novel or a comic book or a graphic cookbook or ??? and Why do you think that?
Logan Guleff, Cooking Dreams: I think my cookbook is like a stick of dynamite. It brings together two explosive concepts into one book — graphic novels, which are widely popular and successful especially with kids my age; and cookbooks which of course are more traditional but hot!
It all comes together into a new creation and while it doesn’t fit in a box, it’s a lot like me, it’s my own box. So like everything I do it’s unexpected and delicious (smile). I mean you do need fire and passion to cook.
Diva Foodies: Why did you decide on this unique format for your first cookbook?
Logan Guleff, Cooking Dreams: I really wanted my first book to be something different and unique. I also wanted to share my skills and my point of view. My goal is to inspire kids to cook… that is so important to me.
Kids don’t want pages of recipes they want something fun and exciting.
I personally never read cookbooks. I learn skills, try food, and create food journeys. You know that if I am going to create something it will be something like me, innovative and flavorful. I will give it my very best!
Diva Foodies: So Logan, Cooking Dreams is really a story within a cookbook or a cookbook within a story. Either way, it’s a delightful read. How did you come up with the story narrative?
Logan Guleff, Cooking Dreams: It might sound strange but I really just sat down and wrote it. I created all 20 characters and the outline of events and the future goals of the story. It took some time but honestly it just came together. I wrote the story. My Mom always said I was a good a story teller.
Diva Foodies: And she was right! Which was more of a challenge for you – writing the story or the culinary part and why?
Logan Guleff, Cooking Dreams: I think the culinary part was the most challenging. What I wanted to do was teach. But first I needed to figure out how I could interest kids in learning how to cook and then teach them real skills. Cooking is not as easy as it might look on TV. I knew I needed lots of photos and they had to go with the story. Although I know how to cook translating it to paper was a challenge.
Diva Foodies: The graphics are wonderful. I understand you ‘met’ Cindy Tan, the talented illustrator on-line. What were the challenges of working virtually with the artist who impacts so much of the book’s success?
Logan Guleff, Cooking Dreams: Working with Cindy was a learning curve for both of us. When you read the story it may seem seamless but the illustrators’ details and the writer’s concept really have to come together. I may have written the story but Cindy brought it to life with her graphics. She added cute moments in that way that I think made the book even more fun. It was a real partnership. She possesses a true brilliance! I love the art and hope the readers do too. This experience really opened my eyes to all the work that goes into making a book.
Diva Foodies: Let’s talk about the culinary part of Cooking Dreams. Love how the recipes are from the story. Some people may find them a bit exotic. 1. Why did you choose these particular recipes?
Logan Guleff, Cooking Dreams: I felt like the recipes reflected Juno (the main character) and go with the Asian theme and the art work of the book. The rice ties into the story and teaches a beginning skill. The Tofu dish was Cindy’s idea to and it reflects her culture. Including an historic Chinese dish brings another story into book.
To become a great cook or a chef you need to learn about world food. You also can’t play it safe you have to really push yourself to try something new. Sure I could have done something more predictable but cooking is about taking a risk. It’s about taking a journey, opening doors and growing both as a cook and a person. With these 2 skills you can stir fry anything! How cool is that?
Diva Foodies: Were the recipes created for the book?
Logan Guleff, Cooking Dreams: Yes. I had great fun creating original recipes especially for the book. Even the Tofu recipe is delicious. Try it and see for yourself!
Diva Foodies: In addition to the recipe descriptions there is extra information included like “Chef Notes” which bring a fun teaching aspect. What did you want the reader to learn from this section?
Logan Guleff, Cooking Dreams: The Sprinkling of Chef Notes throughout the entire second half of the cookbook will help you go from a novice cook to a talented chef. Or at least start you on that path!
Diva Foodies: Logan, what was the most fun about writing Chef Notes & Half Baked Tales – Cooking Dreams?
Logan Guleff, Cooking Dreams: Me (!) turning into a Manga character was totally cool. It was like a super hero chef! It really makes me laugh especially when my friends see it. But seriously, it was the moment when I placed the finished book on the shelf of a bookstore. In that second the concept that I had had dreamed about and worked hard to create be real. I was crazy happy!
Diva Foodies: Who would you consider to be the people, or as the marketers say the target audience, most likely to enjoy Logan’s Chef Notes & Half Baked Tales – Cooking Dreams
Logan Guleff, Cooking Dreams: I wrote my book for kids – who want to learn to cook and see their cooking dreams come to life.
Diva Foodies: Most successful chefs and bakers have a unique POV or point of view. What is yours and it is the same for recipes you create for kids?
Logan Guleff, Cooking Dreams: When it comes to creating cookbooks for kids, my point of view is most kids want real information; they want to be treated seriously. I believe the ants on a log type of cookbook down plays how serious kids want to be treated. My goal was to include real information from the chef world. As I mentioned before, it matters so much to me to teach kids real skills.
Diva Foodies: We understand that you are a freelance recipe developer who has won many awards. What did you take into considering when creating recipes for kids that you might not include for adults?
Logan Guleff, Cooking Dreams: Nothing – this recipe would suit anyone. I hate kid food and kid menus and the culture that down plays how kids should learn about food! I mean I used fermented black beans! It’s time to expose kids to real food.
Diva Foodies: The Big Question! Why this cookbook? What makes Logan’s Chef Notes & Half Baked Tales – Cooking Dreams extra special?
Logan Guleff, Cooking Dreams: To be the best you have to take risks, and break the rules This book takes you out of your comfort zone. It teaches team building, cooking, food facts and it’s fun! There might not include 150 recipes but you don’t need a book of recipes you need a book of dreams!
Diva Foodies: I have to ask, any plans for a sequel?
Logan Guleff, Cooking Dreams: Of course – I still have to finish writing the second book but I have started!
Diva Foodies: As is our tradition at Diva Foodies, we’re tossing the virtual mic to you. Wrap it any way you’d like
Logan Guleff, Cooking Dreams: Thanks you so much- I hope you cook up some dreams today!
Diva Foodies: P.s. Cooking Dreams would be a great holiday gift for the kids in your life who like to or want to learn to cook. Actually it’s a fun adult present too!
Connect With Logan!