WILLIAMSTOWN — Students in the advanced cooking class at Williamstown Middle/High School got a visit from a celebrity chef Tuesday when Haley Herridge, from the Netflix show Easy-Bake Battle, stopped by to talk to students about baking, about her time on the show and to help them make her Mega Cookie-N-Creme cookies.
“She made these cookies on the show,” Shannon Stewart, the baking and pastry instructor for the First Floor Bakery at the school, said as students prepared their cookies for baking. “They’ve seen them on the show, and now she’s here in real life to make them with them.”
The advanced cooking class has 12 students who completed the Foundations of Culinary Arts and Baking 1 classes and now work in the First Floor Bakery at the school.
“In Baking 1 they do the certifications and then they go into bread making,” Stewart said. “Every type of bread you can think of, we make it. And then the advanced class is the bakery. It’s a simulated work place.”
The students will make pastries and desserts that are then sold to members of the community. All of the proceeds go back into the day to day operation of the bakery.
Students were split up into groups and given the cookie recipe to make as Herridge would walk from group to group giving tips, helping with preparations and taking photos with the students. Some groups, like Avery Seckman, Brayden Buckley and Kylee Eckert, chose to make larger cookies while other groups like Kate Florence, Nevaeh Moore, Athenn Stewart and Brookelyn Reynolds opted for smaller ones.
After all the cookies were made, a group picture was taken and students were given the chance to ask Herridge questions about her joy of cooking and the time she spent on the show.
Questions included what Herridge’s favorite recipe was, what she likes to do in her free time and where she learned to cook.
“I’m completely self taught, or from friends and family,” Herridge said. “Since I was little, I was always in the kitchen with my mom, and my grandmothers, cooking. They (grandmothers) both had different styles. My dad’s mom is Italian, so I kind of had that Italian style, and my mom’s mom is very southern. So I kind of learned that cooking style, and so that kind of meshed. Then I lived in the midwest for awhile. So I have all these different cooking styles meshed into one.”
When asked about her future plans, Herridge said she would like improve in the kitchen and learn more. She said she’d like to start a YouTube channel to share more of the talking side of recipes.
“I would love to eventually have my own cooking show one day. I think that would be really fun,” Herridge said. “Maybe come out with a cook book. I have a lot of big dreams, but we’ll see.”
After the Q&A, Herridge got some cooking hacks from the students. One included using hot water to heat up a glass, that’s then emptied and placed over butter to help soften it, another was cutting two holes into a paper plate that’s then placed over a hand mixer to keep the contents of a bowl from spilling out.
Herridge told students not to give up on their dreams. She said she applied to over 100 different shows before she got accepted to appear on Easy-Bake Battle.
“Seven years of nos, and I finally got onto this one,” Herridge said. “I just want that to be a little bit of motivation, I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s true.”
Herridge’s Mega Cookie-N-Creme recipe, along with her other recipes and tips, can be found on her website at haleyherridge.com.
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