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A Local Food Network Star

by Paige McKay White

At just 11-years-old, Madison native Andrew Clark has already made a name for himself in the baking and pastry world. Back in December, Andrew appeared on season nine of Food Network's “Kid Baking Championship.” While he did not win, he accomplished and is still accomplishing so much more.

Chef Andrew started his baking journey at just age four.

“I baked a blueberry pie for Thanksgiving,” he said. “And it actually turned out pretty good.”

From there, he decided to take on the challenge of a chocolate chip icebox pie. After watching Nancy Fuller on Food Network, Andrew decided he wanted to take on baking, and he has not stopped since. He had to learn the ropes of baking and the science that came with it, but it was a task he was ready to take on.

“I didn’t even know how to cream butter and sugar,” he said. “I had to watch a lot of YouTube videos.” For a few years, Andrew was only baking for leisure. At around 7-yearsold, he and his momager (mom/ manager) Kristi decided to make it into a business. “My mom wasn’t too sure about it since I was so young, so when I was close to 9, it got a lot more serious.”

Since then, business has been booming, and Chef Andrew has been taking custom orders through his Instagram and email, and he has even been setting up shop at local farmer’s markets over the last several years.

Chef Andrew noted that he has learned how much goes into having a business and selling his products.

“A lot goes into it because you have to package and label all the products,” he said. “It sometimes takes longer than the baking process.”

His first gig was a couple of years ago at the Madison Farmer’s Market, held every Tuesday during the spring and summer. It motivated him to want to do more and take this passion further. Whether he is at the Madison Farmer’s Market or Livingston Local, customers can find all kinds of sweets, from cookies to brownies and even macarons, at Chef Andrew’s table.

Selling his baked goods at farmer’s markets is not his only accomplishment, however. Last year, Chef Andrew got the chance of a lifetime and appeared on season nine of “Kids Baking Championship.” He and his fellow contestants beat out thousands of other kids to appear on the show, which is an accomplishment in itself.

The episodes in which he appeared aired in December 2020, so he was on set filming during the summer of the same year.

“It was a lot different cooking on TV than it is at home,” Chef Andrew noted. “It was really hot on set and we had to do a lot of things differently because of Covid.”

Though he did not come home with a win under his belt, the future is still bright for the young baker, and he is clinging tight to his advice of never giving up.

“This was my third time auditioning,” he said. “I didn’t give up.”

Chef Andrew also recalled when he tried to make cupcakes when he was younger, and they did not turn out as he hoped. Yet, he did not give up. And his cupcakes have since improved, of course.

Ultimately, Chef Andrew’s goal is to open a pastry shop in Paris, but for the time being, you can find him at local farmer’s markets or contact him on Instagram at @ thechefandrewclark for custom orders. Chef Andrew is also planning to host virtual baking classes through an online pastry school.

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