16-year-old national cooking champ

Devin Davis prepares an award-winning dish at the 2012 Crisco Pie Bakeoff National Championships where he won First Place nationally in the Open category. He also won First Place and Best of Show in Crisco’s national contests in 2009 and 2010. Penny Fletcher Photo

By PENNY FLETCHER

RIVERVIEW — Sixteen-year-old Devin Davis hunts and fishes, plays trombone in his school band and sings in his church’s choir.

But most of all, he loves to cook.

Devin, who aspires to have his own cooking network television show one day, has won many cooking contests both locally and nationally.

“Ever since I can remember, I have loved to cook. Whether it was with my mom or grandmothers, I always enjoyed being in the kitchen learning what they had to teach,” Devin said. “As I got older I began to do cooking competitions which helped me realize that I had found my niche in life. That cooking was what I wanted to do, and it still is.”

He says the various cooking competitions he has participated in have helped him become not only a better cook but a better person.

“I realize that I am truly blessed and though many of the cooking competitions that I do are a bit hectic, it is all worth it when the things you cook can put a smile on someone’s  face,” he added.

An 11th grade student at Seffner Christian Academy, the Plant City native will bring his skills to the South County area when he offers his award-winning collard green chili at the FishHawk-Riverview Rotary Club’s Lighted Boat Parade and Chili Cook-off Dec. 1.

When he isn’t winning competitions, he works as an apprentice to Dave West, chef and owner of Rolling Pins Kitchen Emporium in Brandon learning about the professional side of cooking and managing a kitchen.

A member of Landmark Baptist Church in Plant City, he has cooked for many fundraisers and recently cooked at a fundraising benefit for his school to raise money for a mission team to go to Jamaica.

“In 2009, he and I were flown to Hollywood (California) by the National Mango Board for the finals of its cooking competition,” said Devin’s mother, Tina Davis. All three finalists were boys, she said. Devin won First Place in the national competition for his Knock Your Socks Off Mango Delight, she said.

He won the right to be a finalist by making a video that can still be viewed on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfmFY7kQid4.

Another of his biggest achievements was when he won First Place in his category and Best of Show in both 2010 and 2011 in the Crisco Pie Bakeoff National Championships and again took First Place in Crisco’s Open Category nationally in 2012.

Since he started cooking, he has won more than 15 cooking competitions, his mother said. Still he maintains a 4.25 GPA.

All the cooking and watching the Food Network has now rubbed off on his older sister Katlyn who is going to have a booth at the Dec. 1 event in Riverview selling her newly-invented cheesecake dip.

In 2011 Devin cooked Christmas dinner on the Fox 13 Charley’s World morning show, she added.

People may meet him at the FishHawk-Riverview Rotary’s Chili Cook-off to be held as part of the Lighted Boat Parade Dec. 1 between 5 and 9 p.m. at the International Independent Showmen’s Association 6915 Riverview Drive where he will present his award-winning collard green chili.

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