Ozarks Life: Molly is a seasoned chef at the age of 13

Molly Leighninger created the “Molly Burger” for area Gettin’ Basted restaurants.
Published: Feb. 4, 2022 at 11:37 AM CST
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NIXA, Mo. (KY3) - If you drive along Mount Vernon Street in Nixa, your senses get heightened.

You smell the bar-b-que at Gettin’ Basted which lures you in for a taste. And once inside, you see walls of awards.

“So we really had one of the better competition seasons,” restaurant owner, Brad Leighninger said.

Brad’s Gettin’ Basted competitive team has won the Kansas City Bar B Que Society Championships two straight years.

“So we’ve been number one in the world three of the last four years,” Brad said.

“I definitely look up to him as a chef,” Brad’s daughter Molly said. “I hope to be better than him someday.”

Brad’s oldest kid, Molly, is well on her way.

“I just love the thrill of competition,” Molly said, “and then my love of cooking.”

If you look at the menu for her dad’s bar-b-que place you’ll find a burger with her name written all over it. Molly created it for a cooking competition at the seasoned age of five.

“We threw a bunch of things together to see what tasted best,” Molly said. “And then we ended up with something great. My first competition and I got third place. That is now the famous Molly Burger that we serve at the (Gettin’ Basted) restaurant.”

“It’s our most popular burger,” Brad said.

Molly now has about 40 cooking competitions on her resume and her passion caught the eye of a syndicated, television show.

Steve Harvey had Molly on to talk food but then brought out chef Rachel Ray to judge the Molly Burger. Ray loved it.

“That is definitely one of the coolest experiences ever,” Molly said. “And it’ll definitely stick with me like through the rest of my life.”

A life where one day Molly wants to become an entrepreneur. A business owner with a connection to being a chef.

“I hope she continues her path down to cooking because Lord knows I need the help,” Brad joked, “we’ve got more restaurants than we know what to do with.”

“There’s really no wrong way to be a chef,” Molly said. “There’s so many different styles and there’s so many different ways to cook. So it’s really just a great, creative output.”

Molly’s two siblings also enjoy cooking. Ten-year-old Ellie and 7-year-old Hudson have both won competitions. But Brad says they didn’t stick with it like Molly.

Brad owns three Gettin’ Basted locations in the area, and the Downing Street Pourhouse in Hollister - and he says - there’s more on the horizon - and not just from him, but also from Molly.

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