WILLIAMSTOWN – Students in the advanced cooking class at Williamstown Middle/High School got a visit from a celebrity chef Tuesday when Haley Herridge, from the Netflix show Easy-Bake Battle, stopped by to talk to students about baking, about her time on the show and to help them make her Mega Cookie-N-Creme cookies.
“She made these cookies on the show,” Shannon Stewart, the baking and pastry instructor for the First Floor Bakery at the school, said as students prepared their cookies to bake. “They saw them on the show, and now she’s here in real life to make them with them.”
The advanced cooking class has 12 students who have completed the Foundations of Culinary Arts and Baking 1 classes and are now working in the First Floor Bakery at the school.
“In Baking 1 they do the certification and then they go into bread making,” Stewart said. “Every kind of bread you can think of, we make it. And then the advanced class is the bakery. It’s a simulated workplace.”
The students will make pastries and desserts which will then be sold to members of the community. All proceeds go back into the daily operation of the bakery.
Students were divided into groups and given the cookie recipe to make as Herridge would walk from group to group giving tips, helping with preparations and taking pictures with the students. Some groups, such as Avery Seckman, Brayden Buckley and Kylee Eckert, chose to make larger cookies while others such as Kate Florence, Nevaeh Moore, Athenn Stewart and Brookelyn Reynolds opted for smaller ones.
After all the cookies were made, a group photo was taken and students were given the chance to ask Herridge questions about her joy in cooking and the time she spent on the program.
Questions included what Herridge’s favorite recipe was, what she likes to do in her spare time and where she learned to cook.
“I’m completely self-taught, or from friends and family,” Herridge said. “Since I was little, I was always in the kitchen with my mother and my grandmothers to cook. They (grandmothers) both had different styles. My dad’s mom is Italian, so I kind of had that Italian style, and my mom’s mom is very southern. So I kind of learned that style of cooking, and so that kind of mesh. Then I lived in the Midwest for a while. So I merged all these different cooking styles into one.”
When asked about her future plans, Herridge said she would like to improve in the kitchen and learn more. She said she would like to start a YouTube channel to share more of the talking side of recipes.
“I would love to have my own cooking show one day. I think it will be a lot of fun,” Herridge said. “Maybe come out with a cookbook. I have very big dreams, but we’ll see.”
After the Q&A, Herridge got some cooking hooks from the students. One involved using hot water to heat up a glass, which was then emptied and placed over butter to soften it, another involved cutting two holes in a paper plate which was then placed over a hand mixer to to prevent the contents of a bowl from spilling out.
Herridge told students not to give up on their dreams. She said she applied to more than 100 different shows before being accepted to appear on Easy-Bake Battle.
“Seven years of no, and I finally got around to this one,” Herridge said. “I just want it to be a little bit of motivation, I know it sounds cheesy but it’s true.”
Herridge’s Mega Cookie-N-Creme recipe, along with her other recipes and tips, can be found on her website at haleyherridge.com.