Mark the Chef on Chopped Junior

Starkville youth to compete on ‘Chopped Junior’


STARKVILLE – Mark Coblentz can remember going to his grandmother’s house when he was about 2 years old and helping her make cookies.

“I think she let me get an egg out of the fridge,” said Mark, 12. “But then I lost interest in cooking for a while. When I was about 10, I got back into it, started experimenting with things.”

That experimentation has landed the Armstrong Middle School seventh-grader a spot on the Food Network’s “Chopped Junior” cooking show.

Mark’s dad, Robbie, is co-owner of Tellos Creative advertising agency and owner of Broadcast Media Group, a video production company, so Mark was used to being in front of the camera.

“When I found out I got to be on TV and cook, I said, ‘I want to do that,’” Mark said.

His journey began this past spring, when he tried out for the “Rachael Ray Show.” When he didn’t hear back from them, the casting company suggested he send his materials to “Chopped Junior.”

After a series of Skype interviews, phone interviews, demo tapes and piles of paperwork, Mark landed one of four spots on the episode that will air Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. He and his family, including mom Bonnie and older-brother David, spent four days in August in New York taping the show.

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