Eighteen year-old Paige Collins (pictured above on the left, with me on the right) knows how to keep her family and friends’ stomachs happy. Don’t let her age fool you, Paige knows her way around the kitchen and is constantly expanding her repertoire of delicious recipes. Whether it’s dinner, dessert, or a between-class snack, Paige creates the perfect foods for any occasion.
Since Kindergarten, Paige and I have been attached at the hip. Living two doors down from each other, we spent our childhood making cardboard houses, watching movies, and eating Eggo waffles. Both of us always loved eating: sweets, snacks, you name it. As we grew older I never developed a passion for cooking, but luckily for me, Paige did. We’ve become a team: Paige cooks and I eat. Her family and friends love hanging around the house, waiting to taste what new recipes she cooks up next.
TasteFresno: When did you first become interested in cooking?
Paige: I’ve always loved eating all the foods my dad would make for the family. He loves to cook and he definitely passed that gene down to me. It probably wasn’t until about four years ago that I started to cook myself, though. I’ve always liked to watch The Food Network, and eventually I started to try out some of their recipes.
TF: So where did you get the recipe for the sandwiches you made today?
P: Rachel Ray! She’s one of my favorite cooking shows to watch on TV, and she posts all of her recipes on her website. It makes its easy to find the recipes you like and ones you haven’t heard of before. I made her Balsamic-Glazed Smoky Chicken Caprese Sandwiches. It’s grilled chicken with mozzarella, roasted tomato, basil, and arugula on a toasted ciabatta roll. They’re delicious and fast!
TF: That sounds great! I’m sure your family loves when you cook—I know I do.
P: Haha yeah! It’s good when my parents come home from work and dinner is already ready. They don’t have a lot of complaints when that happens! My sister, Shelby, usually helps me get everything ready.
TF: What has been your favorite recipe so far?
P: I love to make red velvet cupcakes. There’s this great recipe for the batter and frosting that I found on Pinterest. They turn out so much richer than store-bought mixes, and there’s always extras to share with my friends. Actually, the red velvet and Oreo cupcakes that you and I made together may be a new favorite!
TF: Those were so good! Do you find a lot of your recipes online?
P: Most of the recipes I find are from Pinterest. It’s really easy to look through all the pictures…when you see something that looks good, you just click to get the recipe. I’ll print it out and then go to the supermarket and get started! I make sure to stay clear of the store bought mixes though—I like to make everything from scratch.
TF: Which kinds of recipes usually catch your eye?
P: If I’m baking I like to try new types of cakes, but lately I’ve been trying more recipes that incorporate fresh fruit. My family loves the fruit tart I’ve made recently. I’ll go to the Riverpark Farmers Market if I know I’m making it in advance, and I’ll buy fresh strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and whatever else I can find. The caprese sandwich recipe is perfect for the summer. It’s so refreshing!