The 9-Year-Old Gnocchi Chef Inspired By Giada De Laurentiis

An opportunity to spend quality time together, involving kids in the kitchen is also great for their development. According to Today's Parent, including kids in meal prep can spark feelings of accomplishment, help form healthy eating habits and positive attitudes toward food. Additionally, Child Life Essentials shares that cooking also provides an ideal platform for learning, whether that be through refining motor skills, improving literacy, or simply learning about where food comes from. Naturally, it can even lead to a deepened interest in food for some children. One fun dish to try is gnocchi.

It's never too early (or too late) to learn how to make gnocchi. While you might be dragging your heels when it comes to mastering the pillowy pasta dish, Sadie Cunningham, a 9-year-old gnocchi chef, proves that the feat is totally possible. All you need is a bit of inspiration. The young entrepreneur draws hers from her culinary hero, Italian-American chef, author, and television personality, Giada de Laurentiis.

La Cucina Italiana explains that gnocchi is generally made with potatoes and flour, but strictly semolina or flour renditions also exist. A blank canvas, gnocchi can be served with a Sunday sauce, browned butter and Parmigiano, made crispy and covered in pesto sauce, or even baked in the oven in an au gratin-style. You can even switch up the types of scratch used in potato gnocchi for sweet potatoes or dazzling purple potatoes. Gnocchi also makes the ideal foray into cooking for kids — just ask Sadie.

Giada's influence on Sadie's Gnocchi

In an interview on the Kelly Clarkson Show, Florida native Sadie Cunningham shares that at just 9 years old, she's managed to create a flourishing gnocchi business. Praising her culinary upbringing, Sadie explained that cooking has always been a beloved pastime for her family. Learning how to make them from her grandmother, she founded Sadie's Gnocchi, selling homemade pasta locally to family, friends, and even her teachers.

The culinary whiz even wrote a book, "Sadie's Journey: How a young girl cooks her way to Italy." Meant as a way to generate income to visit Italy — the ultimate dream for the young chef — Sadie shares that she also penned the book to inspire kids her age to follow their passions. With no signs of slowing down, Sadie's plans for the future are simple: "My goal is to be a chef like Giada [de Laurentiis]."

Sharing a similar Italian- American heritage, Sadie's biggest culinary role model is Giada de Laurentiis. Best known for highlighting her Italian heritage through simple and authentic recipes, de Laurentiis is an Emmy award-winning television personality featured on the Food Network and is also a contributor on NBC's Today Show. She is also a successful restaurateur and author of nine New York Times bestselling cookbooks. As Sadie continues to showcase her Italian roots (via Live in Italy Magazine) just like de Laurentiis, there's no telling what amazing endeavors await the budding chef.