Talking MASTERCHEF JUNIOR with Ryan Kate!
In tonight’s all new episode of MASTERCHEF JUNIOR, Gordon’s daughter Mathilda stops by to guide the chefs through cooking a Ramsay family favorite. As a big fan of the show, I was able to spend some time chatting with 11-year-old Ryan Kate, from Coppell, TX, about being a part of the show, her favorite food to cook, what one dish (in many different varieties) she’d be happy to cook for the rest of her life, and why you should check out MASTERCHEF JUNIOR. Check it out!
One of the big questions I had, and I know that we’ve heard you mention it on the show, is when did you start cooking and what was it that made you want to be a chef?
I started cooking as soon as I could climb up on the kitchen counters, as I said during the show. What really inspired me to be a chef is that I just have passion for cooking. I just love doing it. I knew that it’s what I wanted to do because you want to love your job and just think cooking every day would be great! And getting paid for it!
Is there a dish that you started with that you always go back to, or do you have a favorite dish that you like to cook for people?
There’s quite a few! One of my favorites is crostini al reggio – it’s a Greek and Italian fusion dish that’s really easy but still impressive. It can be kind of technical. It’s a great dish.
I watch you on MASTERCHEF, and I’m always impressed by how great you seem to do – I can hold my own in a kitchen, but could never do what you do on the show! I wondered what about MC did you want to be a part of? Had you watched prior seasons?
I had friends who told me that I should audition for the show, so I did. I saw the show, I saw how the contestants had these friendships with each other, and how they were all doing what they love, working with those judges, and I wanted to do that.
You mention the friendships and how everyone seems to get along. You all seem so supportive. You’re competing, ultimately, but everyone seemed so friendly, and so upset when the next person had to go. It seemed like you all got along great. Was that the case?
Yeah, we all love each other and were sad to each other leave. We visit. In fact, Riley and Jianna are coming over tomorrow night to watch the show with me!
Thinking about the show and what we’ve seen – is there a favorite challenge that you completed? Or a great memory that stands out?
Of the ones that have aired so far, I thought my favorite was the pasta.
Do you just know these recipes? Are these things, when you make a dish, that you just have memorized and ready to go? What’s the process of making up a dish like?
On the pasta, it’s one of my favorites and I’ve made it so much with my family and it can go so many other ways. Let’s take the pasta for example. First of all, I’ve made that before, but you can add your own twist to make it fancier for the judges. But if you haven’t made it before, like alligator – I made an alligator burger. What I did was compare it to, oh, I’ve seen beef burgers, pork burgers, turkey burgers, so I’m going to compare it to that. But I do know that alligator is a bit more lean than those meats, so I’m going to add bacon for fat, and it’ll be come like the same meat. You compare it to something you’ve had.
Do you see yourself going to school and opening a restaurant? What do you think the future holds for you as a chef?
There are three things that I’ve narrowed it down to that I really want to do. Either a restaurateur, a food critic, or a chef.
What do you think would be the deciding factor? Why do you love these three?
Well, I’d love to be a chef because I love to cook, but I would also love to have a restaurant and make other people happy to cook. You know, on the food critic, I love to write, so that will all help find new food, and I also love to eat. [laughs]
The chefs like Gordon, Joe, and Graham – Gordon gets a bad rap that we see him be mean so much, but he’s so great with you guys. What was it like working with them, learning from them?
It was a lot of fun. They gave great feedback. They were kind but firm, and they came around. They were very complimentary, they gave good feedback. They were great to be around; they were fun!
A lot of times, chefs, they’re not a pastry chef; they work solely as an entree cook, or savory vs sweet. Do you see yourself picking a side, or do you intend to be an all around cook?
I like to branch all out. I do all kinds of things – salads, breads, main courses, desserts.
If they said to you – you could only make one more dish for the rest of your life, this is what you can cook, what do you think you would make?
I think I would probably say soup. You can put anything in there – there are so many different types and you could never get tired of it! It would be like making a different dish every day because there are creamy soups, and bisque, and purees. There are hearty soups and if you were to eat that for the rest of your life, because if you could cook that for the rest of your life, you’d probably eat that for the rest of your life, it’s a very balanced diet – protein, the vegetables, you can make dessert soup, have fruits in them! There are so many different types!
Thinking about the show – have you talked to people who are watching it? What are you hearing from fans?
If they’ve met me before, and they know me personally, they’ll be complimentary, and be like “oh that’s so cool, oh you did so great!” And a lot of times if they don’t know me, they’ll just stand there kind of star struck.
I’m one of those people who is talking about MASTERCHEF JUNIOR every Tuesday night, Wednesday morning, for sure! I think you guys are so inspiring! Why do you think people should be watching this show?
I think it’s great because it inspires kids to cook. The contestants love each other – are more friends than the adult version. Also, it’s more family friendly and kid friendly.
Do you cook with your family at home, or do you cook for your family?
Sometimes, I cook for my family, and a lot of times, I cook with my mom. She loves to cook, too, and we are like the dynamic duo. We love to cook together. Sometimes, I’ll cook for her, and surprise her, so she doesn’t have to cook that night if she’s really busy. [Sunday] was her birthday, so she came home to the delightful aromas – I cooked pan-seared salmon with herbed butter peas, and a balsamic raspberry reduction, so she just loved it.
I, meanwhile, had Spaghettios and cake for breakfast.
MASTERCHEF JUNIOR airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on FOX, and I hope it continues forever!