WEST ORANGE, NJ — Edison Middle School student Leo McCormick, age 11, is set to appear on Food Network’s iconic program “Chopped Jr.” on Dec. 10.
Cooking is nothing new to Leo, who has been whipping up a variety of tasty dishes for six years. Members of the West Orange community may remember Leo as a finalist in the Chili Cook-Off and Pie Bake-Off at the Farmers Market this fall. He took third place in the Chili Cook-Off for his vegan ginger sweet chili and first place for his apple and Asian pear pie with chocolate and hazelnut crust, along with his 16-year-old brother, Nicco.
Other awards include first place in 2018 for the Essex County Sustainable Gingerbread House Contest, second place in the Essex County Parks Photo Contest in September 2019, and he is a two-year winner of the 4H fall fair brochure cover art and best-in-class outdoor gardening categories.
Leo is also a talented artist, recently launching his own illustration business, “LRM Illustrations,” at the West Orange Farmers Market. Hobbies include gardening, swimming, bass clarinet and helping in the WOHS Marching Band pit crew. He is passionate about suicide awareness and designs T-shirts and hats to raise money for the cause.
“The support and encouragement he’s gotten from his teachers and the school district has been amazing,” said Leo’s mother, Calogera.
Leo’s plans include becoming an artist and opening a food truck. Check out his new website at www.lrmillustrations.com.