Do you remember what it was like to be in seventh grade? Hanging out with your friends, going to school, playing sports and being a kid in general are some of the things that probably run through your mind. Does dreaming up and starting your own business fit anywhere in those memories? Probably not, but for local Seth Garza, this is a very exciting reality.
Seth is probably busier than any kid his age today (or yesterday or tomorrow, for that matter). He has many hobbies and passions, from singing and writing his own music to acting and filming, playing football and baseball, keeping up with school, and, most of all, cooking.
Seth has a great talent in the kitchen, even at such a young age. He attributes both his love and skill to his parents. “Since I could crawl, I have been helping my parents cook,” he shares. “They are some of my biggest inspirations because they were always cooking.” Now, however, Seth shares that he is the main cook in his household, making most of the meals for his family. He cooks with a lot of southwest-style seasonings that are appropriate to a Texas kitchen, as well as foods with a lot of Mexican and Tex-Mex influence. Some of his signature dishes at home include fajitas, chicken rotel and chicken tortilla soup, which is his favorite to make. “We make the broth from scratch,” he says proudly. “It has a more classic taste – not as bold and Mexican as at a restaurant. Even though it is not easy, it tastes really good when you are done.”
Seth is also influenced by his mentor, Mark Boyton, an experienced celebrity chef and the current director of menu innovation at Main Event. After being connected through Seth’s father and Louis LoRocco, the COO of Main Event, Chef Boyton has helped Seth grow his knowledge and confidence in the kitchen.
Recently, this passion for cooking took Seth to the Food Network’s “Chopped Junior” competition show, where he competed against three other 12-year-olds for a prize of $10,000. The episode, “Smoothie Operators,” which aired on June 24 of this year, was exciting to the end, with actress Jessica Alba appearing as a guest judge. Contestants on the show are charged with the task of creating a dish using secret and often unconventional ingredients. These surprise ingredients are revealed to the chefs just before each round of the competition starts, so their ability to think and invent recipes is quickly tested, as well as their cooking skills. Each round is represented by a course of a meal (appetizer, entree, dessert) and a contestant is “chopped” after each course until there is only the winner standing.
“I remember watching the Food Network, and I was maybe six. I thought, ‘I am going to be on Chopped Junior,’” Seth remembers. “I have always loved to cook and I thought it was such a cool show.” That was all the convincing Seth needed to take a leap and sign up for a chance to be on the show. After sending in a resume of sorts, detailing his talents and his history with and passion for cooking, the show reached back out to him with the offer to continue to the next step, which consisted of interviews, auditions and cooking trials in front of a camera. “That part was all really exciting, but a little bit stressful, too, because we were up until 2 a.m. filming and cooking.” After impressing them with his chicken fajita pizza, chocolate molten lava cake and more, Seth was invited to N.Y. to compete on the show and film the episode in March of this year.
An experience like no other, “Chopped Junior” tested Seth in his culinary skill like nothing ever had. Though he was eliminated after the entree round, he managed to impress all of the judges with his innovation and ability and left with a greater sense of passion for cooking. Though he had never taken culinary classes before, he now takes classes online at Escoffier Culinary School through America’s Test Kitchen. “I get to learn to cook and learn how spices blend, and it has really been helping with my culinary expertise. It has already improved me so much since I was on ‘Chopped Junior,’” says Seth. As he nurtures his own abilities, he also holds tight to his dream of one day attending culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France.
For now, Seth has taken his passion for food to a new level and is starting his own rolled ice cream business called Heart of Cold. “I think it was right after I was on ‘Chopped Junior’ that I had the idea,” he says. “I had always seen rolled ice cream and thought it was really cool. So, we looked for rolled ice cream machines and we found one, and it just started from there.” Seth also claims that he enjoys making desserts because, for some reason, they come more easily to him.
Right now, Heart of Cold is something smaller where Seth is serving up every flavor one could possibly think of to family and friends. Seth explains that, “The cool thing about rolled ice cream is you do not have to make a base of any one flavor. You can just add basically the topping into the ice cream itself, so you can make pretty much any flavor.” OREO, banana Nutella®, mango, spicy mango, chocolate … you name it, Seth can roll it up for you! Once he turns 13, Seth plans on expanding his business more and getting the word out by having a presence at carnivals, festivals and fairs. Eventually, Seth dreams of a Heart of Cold restaurant.
If these plans were not enough to keep him busy, Seth is also creating a presence and brand for himself as a chef with his new web series “Backstage with Seth Man the Chef Man.” The structure of the show will involve Seth visiting professional chefs, interviewing and observing them before taking what he has learned back to his own kitchen so he can recreate their recipes. Seth’s first episode will take place right here in Frisco at Main Event. The series will be produced by Seth and will appear on his website, Instagram and on YouTube.
With so much on the young man’s plate, it is hard to imagine he is only in seventh grade. With so many aspirations and so much ambition and determination, it is easy to see a clear and bright future waiting for Seth, Frisco’s own promising young entrepreneur and dreamer.