Metro-East News

Belleville girl will appear on Food Network’s Kids BBQ Championship

Ava Wagner on the set of Food Network’s Kids BBQ Championship.
Ava Wagner on the set of Food Network’s Kids BBQ Championship.

At age 11, Ava Wagner can cook a steak to order better than most restaurants.

This sixth grader doesn’t kid around about grilling. She prefers gas over charcoal, rib-eye is her favorite cut of steak, and Ava isn’t satisfied until her grill marks are perfect.

The junior grill master takes presentation seriously. She grills for her family a few times a week. As if that’s not enough, Ava’s steak won at the Jakey in June kid’s grilling competition — twice.

That’s why Food Network asked Ava to join Season 2 of the Kids BBQ Championship. The show airs at 7 p.m. Monday night on Food Network. In each episode, four kids compete against each other in hopes of winning $10,000 and the title of champion, according to Food Network’s website.

Ava filmed the show in January at Saddlerock Ranch in Malibu, her mother Kristen Wagner said. Ava’s dad, Adam Wagner, joined her on the trip. He’s a competitive griller, too.

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Ava Wagner, a sixth grader at Jefferson Elementary School in Belleville, is an award winning grill master. Provided

In January, Adam Wagner filled out an application for his daughter to participate in the competition.

It didn’t take long for the network to call. The winner of the Kids BBQ Championship will walk away with $10,000.

When asked about her experience on the show Ava said “it made me nervous. I had to lay around and think of happy stuff.”

Ava’s family will cheer her on Monday night during a watch party at Jefferson’s Restaurant in Belleville.

Cara Anthony: 618-239-2471, @CaraRAnthony

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