Dozens of cookbooks line the bookshelf behind her.
The dinner she made - a pork shoulder mixed with thyme, sage and other seasonings - sits on the counter 10 feet away, waiting to be devoured.
After a long day, Megan Garringer sits at the kitchen table in her Hermosa Beach home wearing her white chef's jacket, prepared to talk about the blog she's been working on for the past three years called "Megan's World of Food."
But she's not a professional chef, and she didn't go to culinary school. She's not even in high school; she's just 11.
"I think some of the hardest recipes are probably the ones you make up on your own because there's not really any predicting what will happen," Megan said.
"You just sort of match the flavors you like personally and see what comes out," she added. "We've had plenty of recipes that have failed. We've had recipes like that where you just throw it away and you hope that we'll make it better next time. But we always keep trying."
Megan has been a food aficionado for as long as she can remember, tying her apron strings to join her dad in the kitchen.
So when her parents wanted her to take on a summer writing project at the age of 8, she decided to create a food blog.
"She is pretty ambitious. Honestly, it was for fun. It's kind of just a hobby," said her mother, Barbara. "Our friends read it and every once in awhile she'll get a comment from someone she doesn't know, but it started off just as a way to practice writing and an excuse to go try new restaurants."
"Megan's World of Food" is a mix of restaurant reviews and recipes that she and her dad try out.
Her latest post was about her birthday dinner at M.B. Post in Manhattan Beach. In the blog entry she writes: "The bacon was cooked to a crispy, dissolving state, and worked in unison with the crunchy dough to create what was probably the best biscuit I have ever had."
The young cook has never been big on traditional kid foods, shrugging her shoulders to hamburgers. She doesn't like cottage cheese and she's not a fan of lasagna.
Instead, her favorite food over the years has been raw oysters, and she never shies away from trying something new and adventurous.
"I guess I'm more of an expensive little girl because I always liked raw oysters and things that kids at my school would say, 'Why would you try that?' " Megan said.
"Adults I know would never try some of the stuff that I try but I think it all ends up for the better because, if I don't like it, it's not the end of the world. But if I do, then I've found something that I like."
In fact, she gives most of the restaurants positive reviews - her parents are encouraging her to become a harsher critic.
But the blog has helped her increase her vocabulary and writing skills.
Right now, the process requires her writing each blog post in long hand. It usually takes a few drafts before she dictates it to her dad, Scott, who types it for her.
Her mom swears the aspiring chef has known where to put commas in her writing since she was in kindergarten, without having been taught.
"I think writing about food comes out easier for me," said Megan, a fifth-grader at Westwood Charter in Westwood. "I like to write about food because it's something that I can kind of identify with. I think to write about food you have to love it, and I think that's definitely the case with me and my dad, so it's helpful."
When she's not eating high-quality cuisine or spending time in the kitchen, Megan plays soccer and volleyball and performs in her school's chorus and drama departments.
While she doesn't know what she will grow up to be, she said her dream job is to have her own food show to combine her passion for food with her love of performing.
And she wants other kids to know they can get into the kitchen, too.
"I think that it's really just character building to cook because I've learned how to be safe, I've learned how to work well with my dad, I've learned to include (my sister) Tabitha in a lot of the stuff that we make if she wants to, which is not usually, but sometimes," Megan said. "I think that if a kid can cook, that opens doorways for him into his life later - him or her."