Tell me a little bit about your life since your season of MasterChef Junior.  

Since being on MasterChef Junior, I’ve had the opportunity to cook with a lot of local chefs and greatly further my culinary career, but I’m not always cooking since being on the show. I play a lot of music (particularly the viola) and I’ve been keeping busy with a multitude of schoolwork, rehearsals, and of course cooking, but it’s been a lot of fun.

What made you decide to be on MasterChef Junior?

I decided to be on MasterChef Junior after watching the first season which aired when I was 11, about a year before I went on the show myself. I was really inspired by all of the contestants and their abilities, and the thought of a kid’s cooking competition seemed really intriguing to me, so I signed up!

What was your favorite part of being on the show?

My favorite part of the show was probably getting to meet the judges and my fellow contestants. Being on the show is really unique because you’re essentially placed in an environment with dozens of people who already share a common interest with you, which makes it really easy to form long-lasting connections and relate to each other. This, in a way, validated my passion for cooking and made me realize that there were countless others I could talk to about my affinity with it.

What have you learned from the judges that stuck with you? 

I was really surprised to learn that the judges, particularly Gordon and Joe (who were intimidating from what I’d seen of them before) were incredibly easygoing personalities, and are in fact some of the most welcoming and kind people I’ve ever met. This kind of showed me that everything isn’t always how it looks on TV, and really taught me not to judge people based on anything other than firsthand experience.

You had some very cool guests and judges. Who was your favorite and what was it like to meet/cook for them?

In our season, we didn’t have very many guest judges since the judging panel was more static than recent seasons, but we did have one guest who was able to provide some interesting insight on Gordon; his own daughter Matilda. It was definitely entertaining to learn about Gordon’s life off camera, which we wouldn’t have known if she hadn’t shared a few stories with us, and I absolutely enjoyed meeting her.

What is one thing you want to learn how to cook?

While I’ve already cooked almost everything I’m interested in, there are some dishes that I simply cannot make due to a lack of the proper ingredients, some of which are understandably difficult to find in America. Recently I’ve wanted to make Traditional Chinese Mooncakes, but I wasn’t able to find salted duck eggs anywhere, and I didn’t want to make them unauthentic. I ended up settling for a more basic filling, but I still really want to try making the real thing, and perfect it.

What are some of your other hobbies?

Some of my other hobbies include art, particularly watercolor painting, and playing the viola. However, I play several other instruments for fun, ranging from the piano to more obscure instruments like the theremin or the Chinese erhu. I also enjoy playing video games, which I honestly spend a copious amount of my time on.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

After being on the show, I started thinking about what I really wanted to do with my future, and it first it remained a bit hazy. Cooking has always been a huge passion of mine, but I took some time off to consider whether or not I actually wanted to pursue it as a career, and after a couple years of deliberation, I still really can’t give a concrete answer. At this point, I’m leaning towards becoming a chef and eventually opening my own restaurant which sounds like a lot of fun, but I might also want to pursue a career in music depending on how I like working in a kitchen professionally. Professional chef or not, cooking will always remain an important and fun part of my life! 

What is a fun fact about you?

One fun fact about me that a lot of people may not know is that I really love spicy food, and even go out of my way sometimes to order things spicier than normal. A lot of people think that since I’m so serious about cooking that I have a very refined, finicky palate, but honestly I’m content with eating almost all foods.

What are you watching on TV these days?

A few TV shows I watch include Steven Universe (which I am a huge fan of), a lot of game show reruns, and of course, cooking shows like MasterChef Junior, Top Chef, and more.

Anything else you want to tell America?

In cooking, if at first you don’t succeed, fry, fry again (I’ve been waiting to make that joke for years). 


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