A local first-grader who is the star of an online cooking series lands a spot on the Rachael Ray show.
The episode, with a focus on Super Heroes, airs 11 a.m. Oct. 24 on WXIX-TV here in Cincinnati. Leah Jones-Finklea and her 6-year-old daughter, Leiana, known online as the Amazing Amy Amor, join Ray and her special guest Chef Curtis Stone via FaceTime.
"The Blessings keep coming!!" reads an Oct. 20 post on the Amazing Amy Amor Facebook page. "God has opened yet another door to put Amazing Amy on a National Platform."
In the segment, Ray tells Leiana that she loves that she uses cooking to find her "superpowers" in the kitchen.
"That's the way I grew up too," she says. "It made me feel better about myself to be able to make things and share them with people.”
Ray then asks Leiana what she loves about cooking. "My favorite's apple pie – and it's the bomb," Leiana says.
Amazing Amy Amor's online cooking series first appeared on Facebook in 2016, not long after Leiana was diagnosed with a speech impediment.
The disability presented social challenges as classmates pulled away from Leiana, Jones-Finklea recalls. Children with a speech impediment often experience bullying and low self-esteem, she says.
Not wanting her daughter to become just another statistic, Jones-Finklea says she tried to find a way to partner with the schools to help Leiana build confidence and improve her speaking skills. This effort led to the online cooking series on Facebook, which later expanded to other social media platforms including YouTube and Instagram.
"The response has really been overwhelming," Jones-Finklea says. It's also doing as hoped, growing Leiana's self-confidence and helping to improve her speech.
The interview with Rachael Ray was "awesome," she says.
At the end of the segment, Ray surprises the mother and daughter with the gift of some cookware.
This will come in handy given Amazing Amy's most recent endeavor. She recently launched her own line of apple pies.
"They are selling like hotcakes," Jones-Finklea says. The pies are only sold on weekends, and they always sell out. To learn more about the pies, follow Amazing Amy Amor on Facebook or call, 513-549-6449.