A love of cooking has already earned a local young chef a spot in a national cookbook and some air time on YTV.

But Jillian Blake is taking it all in stride.

“It was kind of weird,” she said. “But good.”

Blake, age 9, submitted her chili and bannock recipe to the 2021 Kid Food Nation contest and was one of 26 kids selected out of over 600 entries. The contest wrapped up last April and the taping was in October.

During the show, Blake learned to cook buttered corn scones.

Sponsored by Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, President’s choice children’s charities and Corus Entertainment, being selected means having both a recipe published in the annual Kid Food Nation cookbook and a one-on-one with a top end chef on YTV.

Having been cooking since she was five, Blake has learned a variety of dishes.

YTV Food Nation is a Canada-wide television contest to encourage culinary interests among youth. Aside from publishing an annual cookbook, now up to five volumes, the program also gives kids cooking challenges to improve their craft and also teaches good nutritional information.

Blake said she wasn’t sure what her next big cooking challenge would be, but she did know what she plans to cook next.

“Baking,” she said, adding she loves to bake bread and makes her own dough.

Chili and Bannock

By Jillian Blake

Preparation: 20 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

Bake time: 20 minutes

Serves: 6 to 8



1 tbsp (15 mL) canola oil

1 lb (454 g) ground beef

1 tbsp (15 mL) chili powder

1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano

1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin 4 carrots, diced

1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 can (28 oz/796 mL) diced tomatoes

1 can (19 oz/540 mL) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (12 oz/341 mL) corn kernels, drained

1 can (10 oz/283 mL) sliced mushrooms, drained

1 cup (250 mL) water

½ cup (125 mL) chili sauce

¼ cup (60 mL) tomato paste

½ tsp (2 mL) salt


2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour

2 tbsp (30 mL) granulated sugar

2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder

Pinch salt

1 ½ cups (375 mL) milk

1 large egg

2 tbsp (30 mL) canola oil


1) In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat and cook beef, chili powder, oregano, and cumin until browned. Add carrots, pepper, tomatoes, beans, corn, mushrooms, water, chili sauce, tomato paste, and salt; stir to combine well. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Uncover and simmer for about 25 minutes or until thickened.

2) Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Grease a cast iron skillet.

3) In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together milk, egg, and oil. Pour over flour mixture and stir to combine. Pour into prepared skillet and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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