Teenage Cookbook Author Sahana Vij Has A Mission To Help End Child Hunger—With Dishes Like This Churro Bowl Recipe

Vij shares her journey to creating a cookbook with an impactful mission, her professional plans for the future and a recipe inspired by her travels to San Francisco.

It was her freshman year of high school when Washington-raised, rising chef Sahana Vij decided to take her craft to the next level. Baking was always a love of hers—a result of her mom teaching her to make dishes like French toast, cookies and brownies early on in her life. But as she grew into her teenage years, Vij discovered she didn’t just want to bake—she also wanted to find a way to impact the world in a way that extended beyond her kitchen.

So at 14 years old, Vij started crafting her own recipes (and doing her own photography) for what would eventually become her cookbook, Bake Away. Less than five years later, the cookbook, which officially launched last October, has raised close to $50,000 and is sold by major retailers like Amazon, Whole Foods, and Target. All of Vij’s continued earnings will go toward No Kid Hungry, an organization working to end child hunger.

Vij, now a freshman in college at the University of California, Irvine majoring in journalism and minoring in global sustainability, says that the concept of giving back was instilled in her from a young age. “Growing up, my mom took me to a local women and children’s shelter, where we would serve enchiladas and dine with them,” she says. “So I really wanted to continue working with the community through this project.”

Vij also wanted her cookbook to embrace creativity and self-expression. The 20 featured recipes are inspired by places across the United States—and the memories she associates with each of them. For anyone who purchases her cookbook and attempts to make her recipes, Vij says, “make them your own, tweak them.” That’s part of the fun.

“The individuality in the things we create is what makes them so special and so unique,” adds Vij, whose ultimate goal is to open up her own bakery. “I think food just connects people on a much deeper level.”

Inspired by her travels to the Bay Area, Vij includes a San Francisco Churro Bowl and Banana Sundae recipe in her cookbook, which she also shares with Sweet July.

“I actually was born in the Bay Area,” says Vij. “My dad would take me back to San Francisco a lot just to see the area. I remember I went with my dad and one of our friends to the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory and I was freaking out because it’s just all chocolate. We ended up ordering a banana split—there’s photos of me with the bananas all over my face, because it was so good. And so with the churro bowls, I just thought it would be a really cool twist.”

Get Vij’s San Francisco Churro Bowl and Banana Sundae recipe below!


Sahana Vij's San Francisco Churro Bowls and Banana Sundae

Reprinted from Bake Away. Copyright © 2021 by Sahana Vij. Photographs copyright © 2021 by Sahana Vij.



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