Story by Cassie Hepler
Marty Snyder, age 9, from Berwyn, Pa., loves to play baseball, basketball and bowl. You can often find him outside hanging out on his hover board with his dog Sophie and his favorite subjects in school are science and art. He’s what you would call a pretty typical 9 year old boy. But when it comes to meal time, this is when this 9 year old is anything but typical because he’s the cook in the family. From a very early age when most children were ordering chicken nuggets and pasta with butter in restaurants, Marty was eating off his parent’s plates. Not only was he eating adult food, he was commenting on specific tastes and starting to say “I could make this” or “this would be better if…”.
Q: What is your favorite thing to cook?
“Steaks. My signature dish is a steak tower (filet mignon, topped with sautéd mushrooms, served over a bed of mashed potatoes, with a side of prosciutto-wrapped asparagus),” said Marty. But he also loves to cook sautéed veggies, oven roasted bruschetta, zucchini pancakes and crème brulee.
Q: How did you learn to cook?
“I learned to cook by helping my Mom cook and eventually cooking on my own with my Mom watching me. I also liked to watch the food network cooking shows,” said Marty.
Q: What do you want to be when you grow up?
“A chef with my own restaurant named “Marty Gras” or a professional bowler,” said Marty.
Marty lives with his parents Martin and Michelle Snyder and his sister Abby.
Q: How did a boy so young get interested in cooking?
“Marty’s interest in food began as a toddler. He had a strong desire to help cook family meals and he would chop little vegetables with a plastic set of knives that we bought for him. Very early on, he stopped ordering off of the children’s menu and wanted to eat adult foods. He has even tried frog legs without hesitation. While on a family vacation, he watched a chef prepare a table side Caesar salad that he ordered, and fell in love with the concept of cooking and the joy it brings others,” said his parents.
Q: Who is the chef/food lover in the house?
“Marty’s Mom Michelle, Berwyn, (originally from Scranton, PA), is the chef/food lover and was the head chef until Marty took over. Marty’s Dad, Martin, is also a food lover (and a steak lover) from Villanova PA,” said his parents.
Q: How old did he start cooking?
“Marty began helping in the kitchen at around 4 years old. His passion continued to grow and he started to cook by age 6.”
Q: Are you afraid of him with knives?
“Initially yes, but with close supervision and training we were able to get comfortable with it, but still watch him closely.”
Q: What are the plans for his culinary future?
“Marty plans to keep cooking at home, trying new new creations from his own vision, and eventually would like to go to culinary school.”
Last spring, young Marty heard about nationwide auditions for Chopped Junior and decided that he was going to give it all he had. The one thing he had going against him was his age he was barely going to make the cut off (9 years old) but he figured the worst that could happen was that he wouldn’t get chosen. A total of 5,000 children across the United States applied for a coveted 4 spots on the show and Marty was chosen. His episode “Lemon Meringue Why” aired on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 and while he didn’t win the national championship he can be very proud of the way he handled the competition. He handled himself with poise and grace.