SUGAR CITY — Keaton Ashton is the Kids Baking Champion!
The 12-year-old Sugar City boy was named the winner on the Food Network ‘Kids Baking Championship’ program Monday night. His family gathered with hundreds of others in a Rexburg movie theater to watch the show as Keaton was awarded $25,000 and a spot in Food Network Magazine.
“It feels amazing,” Keaton tells EastIdahoNews.com. “I’ve been keeping it a secret since the summer and it feels good now that everybody knows.”
Keaton spent last summer in Los Angeles filming the 10-week competition. He faced different baking challenges each episode while competing against 11 other contestants from across the country. Keaton’s mom, Michelle Ashton, was on the set watching her son whip up recipes and stun the judges with his culinary skills while his father, Joel Ashton, and three older sisters cheered him on at home.
“After the first few bakes, I honestly thought he was doing to do pretty good because he was handling the pressure really well,” Michelle says. “He was managing his time really well and that is a huge key thing in doing that show because everything is very timed. If you run out of time, your bakes are not going to be good.”
The Madison Jr. High School student discovered his love of baking in 2019 when Michelle took him to a cake class for his 11th birthday. A few months later, he sent a video of himself showing off his baking skills to the Food Network. The following March, he received an email saying he was one of 100 kids being considered for the show.
He continued to bake, send videos, talk on the phone with producers and was ultimately selected to appear on the program.
“In all honesty, I don’t bake. He has not learned any of this from me. He’s completely self-taught other than that one class I took him too,” Michelle says.
During the filming, Keaton was confident with his skills when it came to baking cookies, pies, cakes and other creations. But in the semi-finals, contestants were asked to make sheet pan pies and Keaton experienced a mishap.
“The bottom of my pie crust wasn’t cooked. It was raw. I definitely thought I was going home that challenge,” Keaton says.
He made it through and has continued to bake by launching his own business – Keaton’s Cakes. He posts his creations to his Instagram page and has proudly made desserts for weddings, birthday parties and other events.
Keaton will receive his $25,000 check when he turns 18 and hopes to attend culinary or pastry school one day.
“All in all, this was such a neat, cool experience that we’ll never be able to replicate again,” Michelle says. “It was been intense but it’s been so fun to see how they edited the show and put it all together. I love that Keaton was portrayed as a really nice kid. I feel like they actually showed his true colors.”
Watch our interview with Keaton and his mom in the video player above.