When Chase Bailey was just 11 years old, he started his own cooking show: Chase ‘N Yur Face. Working with his hands in the kitchen, interviewing chefs, and acting in front of the camera have helped him conquer the challenges of his autism diagnosis.
Together with his mom, Mary, he blogs regularly and films a couple episodes each month in his own Orange County kitchen, and in restaurants across California. Guest stars like Chef Roy Choi, Top Chef runner-up Becky Reams, and “First Lady of Baseball” Anne Scioscia have all appeared on Chase’s show, and he recently interviewed Anaheim White House Restaurant Chef Bruno Serato for his blog.
Mary and Chase—now 13 going on 14 years old—chatted with us recently to share stories from their kitchen adventures, as well as one of Chase’s amazing recipes.
DiningOut: What was the very first episode of Chase ‘N Yur Face about and how did you come up with the idea?
Chase: The first episode that we filmed was the one with the Mexi-Burger. I like Mexican food and I like burgers and I thought, I wonder what happens when I combine those two? I added pico de gallo, guac, and an aïoli. I put taco seasoning in the meat and made it like a regular hamburger patty.
Mary: And he put tortilla chips on top for a crunch!
How did you come up with the name of your show?
C: My Uncle Edgar came up with it.
M: Chase was such a goofy guy growing up, always saying funny, random things. My brother Edgar was over at our house one time looking at pictures of Chase, and said, “If this kid ever has a show, it should be called, ‘Chase in Your Face.’”
What have you learned about cooking and TV show production since you first started?
C: You have to be a good actor. I am already a little silly, so I’ve scratched that off. Obviously, I learned a lot about cooking.
M: I think you’ve learned how to be more patient, too. He’s learned about having a good work ethic, which is a lesson a lot of kids need to learn. I think it’s never too early to teach that. A lot of kids get into sports for that reason—learning how to power through, keeping your eye on the prize. Chase is learning that if he wants to have a show and a blog, it takes work.
How much time do you spend working on the show and blog?
M: We’re working on it everyday. It’s part of his curriculum for school. He was struggling with academics, so now we use the cooking show and these experiences as a basis for his education—whether he’s learning about a different culture to come up with a dish, learning about measurements, or writing.
What do you love most about hosting a cooking show and being in the kitchen?
C: On TV shows, I saw chefs chopping, frying, grilling—all that. It kind of looked like fun. So I just thought I’d try to be like them and well, I am now! I love having guests on the show and doing funny things.
I heard you want to have a restaurant of your own one day. Do you have any ideas about what kind of restaurant it would be?
C: I’m going to have several restaurants. I want to do one restaurant with all kinds of cuisines from different cultures like Asia, America, South America.
Will all your restaurants be located in California?
C: I’ll have restaurants in California, and I’ll have one restaurant in London.
What’s your favorite dish to cook right now?
C: I love Meatzilla Pizza.*
*Chase makes his Meatzilla Pizza with mozzarella, pepperoni, bacon, prosciutto, and fresh basil.
You have a lot of dessert recipes on your blog. Do you have a sweet tooth?
C: Oh yeah. I love chocolate and peanut butter.
If you could go anywhere in the world to eat, where would you go?
C: I’ve always wanted to go to Tokyo, Japan and Beijing, China.
M: He wants to go everywhere and try the food and explore cultures. Geography is his favorite subject.
Did you pick Japan and China because you love Asian foods?
C: I do love noodles. I want to go to Tokyo because when it’s nighttime, it looks so colorful. And I want to go to China because I want to try their food and go to the Great Wall of China.
Do you plan on going to culinary school one day?
M: The Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley just invited him to come up and take a course for a day.
So what’s next for Chase ‘N Yur Face?
M: Right now, we’re just continuing what we’re doing. Chefs have been so welcoming with Chase, inviting him into their world—they’re just a phenomenal group of people. Roy Choi shut down his whole restaurant for a few hours just to film with us. Our big future plan is to take his show to network.
C: And I want to have a foundation so that I can help other kids’ dreams come true.
M: He’s received so much support from people—it’s important to give back. When other people have supported your dream coming true, then it’s important to help others.
Interview by Maya Silver | Editor