This week in The Times: Daniel McCaslin

July 29, 2009

Daniel McCaslin

Daniel McCaslin

Vitals: Daniel McCaslin, 13, of Dakota, Ill., recently had his gourmet burger, “The Bacon Ranch Chicken Burger,” included in Red Robin’s Kids Cookoff Cookbook. Outside of his culinary interests, Daniel spends much time going on mission trips to assist those in need. This week, Daniel is in Ocean Grove, N.J., with his youth group assisting community members in need.

1. If you could choose any elected official – local, state or national – to speak with one-on-one, who would it be, and what would you say? I would want to speak to the President of the United States, Barack Obama (D). I would ask him to try my burger, and ask him what he can do for single moms who are out of work and who cannot find work. My mom is struggling right now, and she has applied everywhere that is local to us, and no place or no one has hired her. How can we help her and other single moms in this position?

2. If you were to move away from the Rock River Valley, what three things would you miss the most? I have a lot of family here, so I would definitely miss them. My friends I would miss also. I love my church, so I would have to say that as well, The Dakota United Methodist Church. I go to youth group there, and I’m going to New Jersey this week for a Missions Trip to help people in the community of Ocean Grove, N.J.

3. Since your recipe was chosen from more than 14,000 entries nationwide, do you have any aspirations of pursuing a career in the culinary arts? Yes! I have always told my mom that I wanted to go to cooking school. My Uncle Brian McCaslin is a great cook and was a chef at many restaurants in the Rockford area. My nana, Mary McCaslin, was a great cook as well. She loved my Bacon Ranch Chicken Burger. My mom and I cook all the time together, and I really like it. It’s fun and creative.

4. What made you decide to create “The Bacon Ranch Chicken Burger” for this competition? Well, my mom would make something similar, but not as a burger. She taught me how to make it, and I added some of my own ingredients to it, and turned it into a burger.

5. Question from last week’s “This Week in The Times” participant Margaret Stover: What is your favorite part of summer vacation? So far, I would have to say this trip to New Jersey. I am very excited for it, and to be able to help others in the community makes me feel great.

“This week in The Times” is a weekly survey of people selected by The Rock River Times staff. The column does not accept unsolicited submissions.

from the July 29-August 4, 2009, issue


  1. Michelle Williams

    July 29, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    This is Daniel’s mother and I do believe I sent pictures along with his questions…But they were not posted. Why? Also my son is 13 not 12, other wise thank you.

  2. Coach Sutherland

    July 29, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Nice job Daniel! I want to try that Sandwich….

  3. Gloria

    July 29, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Daniel, you rock!!!!!
    I miss you and CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!
    See you soon honey, we love you!!!

  4. Randall Tullis

    July 29, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    That burger sounds dam good. keep up the good work. maybe ill be eating at your restraunt someday!

  5. Michelle Williams

    July 29, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Thank you for making those corrections and adding the picture!!!!

    • Staff

      July 29, 2009 at 6:01 pm

      You are welcome. We regret the error.

  6. Bonita Vazquea

    July 30, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! You did an awesome job!!! I cant wait to try that sandwich when i come down to see you guys.

  7. Dawn Lane

    July 30, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Great Job Daniel, keep up the good work. keep your dreams alive and you can do anything that can put your mind to.

  8. Brittany Schnitzler

    July 30, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Congrats Daniel, I’m really proud of you. Your such a good kid and you care so much about your mom. You deserved this, and I can’t wait to try the burger. I love you both- Brit

  9. Melissa Saelens

    July 30, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Great job Daniel Rylee!! Can’t wait wait to make your burger!!

  10. brad hamilton

    July 31, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    great job bud your the best cook out there cant wait to try it WAY TO GO!!!!!!!

  11. Kristy Akers

    July 31, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Way to go Daniel!! I’m so proud of you and all your accomplishments thus far. I hope this teaches you that anything is possible, so keep reaching for your dreams. I love you and can’t wait to see you and try your burger.

  12. Tonya Clark

    August 3, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Way to go Daniel!! You always achieve and end up on top! Keep reaching for the stars and I can’t wait to try your burger! We’ll go together. Love you!!

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