About Me

When people meet me for the first time, without fail, the conversation turns to food before they leave. And the inevitable question always arises, "how did you get in to cooking?”  I don't know if I really "got in to cooking” as much as I just became totally engrossed in it. 
Around the age of five, I would always beg my mom to let me cook.  I loved the different colors of food, I loved the textures and I loved to create.  Cooking was like a grand art project to me!  Since my mom worked Monday through Friday, Sunday was the perfect day to relax, bake, and spend time together. So we started a tradition we called “Baking Sunday.”  I looked forward to making treats (mostly sweet back then) and serving them to my dad.  I was inspired by my mom and dad’s encouragement and starting branching out with new recipes and helping my mom more and more in the kitchen as I got older.  
When I was in fifth grade, my parents decided to start home schooling me.   Because I got tutored one on one, I was finished with my daily assignments well before the typical school day ended.  My mom wanted me to have extra projects for school, so she purchased a web domain and I started www.savannahfuller.com.  After starting the website, I had a section for recipes and starting posting them there.  I got a great response from my family and friends asking for more entries.  Also, during this time period I began watching Food Network pretty much exclusively. My whole world began to center pretty much around food.  I took the love of cooking that was already engrained in me and raised it to another level. I learned skills, terminology, and just became completely fascinated by the food and cooking world.

Besides learning from television shows and my mom, I also got inspiration from other family members.  I have watched and helped my dad cook his specialties many times--red beans & rice and chicken parmesan.  They are still two of my favorite meals. He also taught me how to cook the perfect pot of rice.  In case you were wondering, the secret is not lifting the lid. And although I never met either of my grandfathers and my paternal grandmother died when I was three, I learned from them though stories my parents would tell me when I was younger.  

One of the first stories I remember my mom telling me about her father, Granddaddy Wayne, is how he loved cooking for people. He especially loved cooking for a crowd.  He would cook as many as 20 chicken halves on the grill and put his special seasoning mix on them.  He also loved to fry fish, make big pots of catfish stew and cook huge “chicken bogs,” as they called it.  His greatest joy would come from watching other people eat and enjoy his food. So, when I think about him, that is what I envision.  A big smile.  It would be so much fun to see him cook in real life. I get pretty close to seeing Granddaddy Wayne when I watch my Uncle Jerry (my mother’s brother) cook.  He has taught me how to fry fish, hushpuppies and even how to make the famous chicken bog.  Yum!  

Granddaddy Wayne grilling chickens

A tradition I have with my maternal grandmother, Nana, is vegetable soup. That is the first meal I ever ate at her house and that is what she always cooks when I come over.  I love having traditions like this one associated with food.  Now she enjoys having me cook for her.  Mexican Fiesta casserole is her favorite.  Of course, she loves sweets the most and never turns down a piece of my homemade cheesecake!

Nana and Granddaddy Wayne, 1963

My dad would tell me stories about his family too.  He told me how his mother, Granny Fuller, would always cook a feast at holiday times for the family. She would start planning at least one month in advance.  She would make sure she had every single item that any family member requested and she would cook more than enough of it.  Creating an inviting atmosphere was also important to Granny Fuller.  She loved using fancy tablecloths and setting the table with her silver service, china and crystal.  She also always had fresh flowers on the table at special occasions.  
My dad would also tell me stories of how his father, Pappy Hayes, would cook things like fried chicken in a old iron skillet to have as a meal when they would ride the train from New Orleans, LA to visit my Granny’s family in New Prospect, SC. He also told me about Pappy’s huge fruit and vegetable gardens with pretty much anything you can imagine in them. Apples, pears, blueberries, figs, tomatoes, cucumbers...everything. So food/cooking is definitely in my blood on both sides.
Granny and Pappy's 25th anniversary

Pappy in his garden

What about dining out? I not only love cooking, I love eating out too.  I especially love trying new foods and new restaurants.  I guess I’m lucky because my parents have taken me to some pretty upscale places throughout the United States and quite honestly, they have never made me order from the children’s menu. I think I like such a variety of foods today because they always allowed me to try anything I wanted at least once.
Enjoying a cappuccino at Cafe 37

So, after cooking with my family, hearing family stories, eating out at many nice and diverse restaurants, discovering Food Network and learning new techniques, I decided that I not only wanted to cook, I wanted to share my knowledge with others.  I wanted to teach other young people to cook and hopefully even inspire parents to nurture their child's interest for cooking. 
When I was 11, I decided I wanted to do my own cooking show and put it on YouTube. After brainstorming with my mom, we came up with the concept of cooking familiar foods that both kids and adults enjoy, but creating them in a healthier way without changing the overall appearance and taste. We called it "Healthy Tween Cuisine." My mom filmed it and I edited the footage and uploaded it to YouTube. It was very well received and that gave me the inspiration and motivation to produce more shows. When I turned 13, I changed the name to "Healthy Teen Cuisine.”  Around this same time, I started my blog, The Miniature Foodie, (named after my small stature and of course, my love of food).  If you know me, you know I get super excited about my dining experiences and I document nearly every restaurant meal with photos. The blog is a perfect way for me to share my experiences with others and give my review of the restaurant. I also occasionally share recipes and events we have hosted at home on my blog as well.  
Finally, I made it to real TV last fall! I know, right?  I was down on River Street in August when I happened upon the Eat It and Like It interviews.  I told the Jesse, the host, about my most favorite foods—like caviar and Thai braised short ribs from my favorite restaurant, Noble Fare.  When I saw him smile at the camera man, I thought he might be intrigued with me.  I was right.  I couldn’t believe it when I was asked to co-host a cooking segment with him for the kids show in November. I was a little nervous at first, but soon felt right at home.  I had a wonderful time.  It fueled my fire to continue teaching and sharing with others about food.  That experience was a dream come true!  And now, I am truly honored that I have been asked to continue working with the “Eat It” team.  
Food is something that has always been a part of my life as more than just sustenance. Some people eat to live.  I live to eat!  As a result, I have a vast array of experiences and I admit it, I’m addicted to food.  I hereby proclaim that I am officially a “foodie” (from Wikipedia: informal term for a particular class of aficionado of food and drink).  I hope that when others watch my shows or read my blog they get inspired to cook, taste and enjoy food-- especially young people.  Give up the “drive-thru” life and experience some real food for a change. If I can inspire just one person to get in the kitchen, I've done my job.

Eat, Cook, Experience!

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