He's dabbled in cooking since he was 6. Now, a 12-year-old West Fargo middle schooler will get to test his chops on a nationally televised cooking competition.

Carter Cassola will be one of the contestants on the Tuesday, June 14, hourlong episode of "Chopped Junior" that will air at 7 p.m. Central time on the Food Network.

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His father, Steve Cassola, told the Pioneer that the family can't say how the episode will turn out next week or if Carter wins the cooking challenge.

But the episode title-"Dinner for Dad"-and its close proximity to Father's Day on Sunday, June 19, suggests it could be a special episode for the show.

Carter, who recently finished the sixth grade at Liberty Middle School, was 11 when he applied in January for the youth version of the network's popular "Chopped" program. He traveled to New York in February to compete in the forthcoming episode, which gave contestants a "mystery basket" of ingredients they needed to use that included chicken wings and blue cheese as well as "enormous" sandwiches.

While Steve Cassola said he and his wife, Kristi Cassola, have "very average" skills in the kitchen, Carter has surpassed both parents' culinary knowledge at a young age. Last summer, Carter was one of 55 kids from around the country selected to attend a dinner at the White House hosted by Michelle Obama after submitting a recipe for stuffed red bell peppers.

"His internal drive has just risen dramatically within the last two years," Steve Cassola said about Carter's passion for cooking. "It's all a personal thing for him."