Creative Child

How Holiday Baking Champion Jackson Fujimori Learned Perseverance Through Baking

by Deborah Song

Jackson Fujimori’s interest in baking first sparked when he was 8 years old. A flame kindled one summer when he enrolled in a baking class at the urging of his second grade teacher who oversaw the camp.

“I really liked baking,” said Jackson. “So I came home and I think I made an apple crisp and had a lot of fun doing it. I kept making things. And [baking] started to become a hobby.” 

The new hobby kept young Jackson busy that summer. His mom wasn’t enthusiastic at first about the newfound mess in the kitchen, but both mom and dad ended up wearing accompanying hats, from sous chef to ingredients chaser. The biggest effort, however, didn’t go into cleaning the kitchen or driving Jackson to the market. It went into reining in those overprotective parental instincts that can so easily go into overdrive.

“He's gotten burned a couple of times. But to me, that's part of it,” says Jackson’s mom, Karen Fujimori. “When he first started cooking, a lot of parents were like, ‘you let him use a real knife?’ And to me I felt like it's dangerous but you can't cut a carrot with a plastic knife. So as long as he was taught properly, and we were there to watch, I felt okay with it.”

Jackson’s parents also let Jackson stay up during those summer nights after Jackson went to his first baking camp, sometimes until midnight, which is how Jackson earned the nickname Midnight Baker. Inspiration seemed to strike later in the evening for the young chef. And since his creations didn’t always turn out right, this meant making things over and over sometimes. Jackson learned to make apple crisps, blueberry cupcakes, and macaron. But mostly, the art of baking taught Jackson that practice makes perfect.

“Sometimes it won't turn out right the first time. So you have to do it again,” says Jackson. “Don't give up.”

The most exemplary form of Jackson’s perseverance was on display for all to see this past holiday season where Jackon was a contestant on Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship, and on the very first season of Kids Baking Championship, which aired two years before.

During his first foray into television as a child chef contestant, then 10-year-old Jackson managed to make it all the way to the finals of the Kids Baking Championship. But the dessert item he was so stoked to showcase didn’t turn out right.

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