Chef Jimmy talks MASTERCHEF JUNIOR and his future food empire!
It’s that time of week again – another all new episode of MASTERCHEF JUNIOR airs tonight at 8/7c on FOX, and to celebrate, I once again chatted with some of the young chefs who are trying to win the trophy and the prize money at the end. Today’s latest chef-testant call is with 12 year old Jimmy about favorite challenges, working with the chef-judges and friends, and what he hopes the future holds. Check it out!
When you were younger, was there a food you just love cooking, and you thought, okay, I want to be a chef, or was it a general sense of loving food, and wanting to do more with it?
Ever since i was little, I’ve always loved to be in the kitchen and helping out my parents making dishes at home. Thanksgiving and big holidays. I’ve just loved to help. Ever since, I’ve just really loved that, so it’s kind of natural that I would want to be a chef!
Do you have a favorite food to cook, or is there something your family asks you to make for them all the time?
I think my favorite dish to cook would have to be Beef Wellington because I love all the layers of it. It’s really technical, and that’s what I’m technical, and that’s what I’m good at, like recreating a dish, so it’s just really fun to make!
Did you take any classes – or was it just learning with your parents in the kitchen, reading recipes, watching videos? How did you learn?
It’s been watching my parents, and a lot of online videos, Gordon Ramsey videos, and one time I took a cooking class, but I didn’t like it because it was really constrained and you had to do like exactly this and this, but I like being more creative than that, and doing my own thing. So it was kind of hard for me to do that, so I’ve just been self taught, and with my parents and online.
Did you watch MASTERCHEF JUNIOR or MASTERCHEF before you got involved in the show? Had you been a fan and that’s where you learned about it?
I have been watching MASTERCHEF forever, and I always said that I wished there was like, a kids version of it. Because I love to cook, and that would be really fun. And then MASTERCHEF JUNIOR came out and it just seemed like the perfect opportunity.
What kind of process is it to put together recipes on the show? Is it a matter of having done them before and just remembering that?
I have been cooking since I was really little; I’ve been cooking since I was 6 years old, so I know a lot of recipes, I know the basics of mostly everything that I cook, so when you see mystery box ingredients, you can kind of think “oh, ok, there’s bananas. I can make a banana tart; I’ve made that before” or sometimes you just have to think on the fly, or something you’ve tried in a restaurant before that you just think you can recreate. It’s all of these ideas in your head and you just pick one and go for it!
Do you have a favorite challenge from the show?
My favorite challenge? The meringue challenge was really fun because I got to throw pie in Graham’s face, but also the sushi one, because I won that challenge and I like making sushi!
Not many kids know how to put together sushi, so when they put that boat in front of you, is there a moment of “how am I going to do this?” or do you just feel confident because you know you enjoy it?
I was pretty confident because I love making sushi. It’s one of my favorite things to make, so when I heard that there was a sushi challenge, I was thinking “oh great, I’m good at this, I can definitely pull this off!”
I watch and it’s a different show to me than so many other competition shows – you all seemed so close, such great friends. What was it like to work with all of these other chefs and bond as you went through?
It was really great. The whole experience was just awesome. The show was really fun, but I think even greater than that was making all of the friendships that we did, and making friends that have the same interests as you, like cooking and competition. That was one of the biggest things in the show – making friends. We still text and talk constantly, so it was just really fun.
What was it like working with the judges – having watched Gordon Ramsey videos to learn to cook? What’s it like being in front of them, learning from them?
It was just amazing, because like you said, I’ve watched Gordon Ramsey videos online; I’ve watched Joe’s other shows, and Graham, I had seen a lot of stuff about him, so when I’m actually in the kitchen and learning about it, it’s a whole different experience from online and watching videos and tutorials. When you’re actually with them, it’s a whole other level! It’s a great experience, and it’s just great to have them in person.
I like that they all want to see you succeed, as well. Was it surprising to feel so supported when Gordon and Joe aren’t necessarily known for being so nice?
I had seen the other seasons of MASTERCHEF JUNIOR, so I knew that the judges were a little bit nicer to the kids. They’re still pretty intimidating. Once you get to know them, they’re less. Gordon Ramsey and the other judges have kids at their own homes, so I think they kind of use their parenting skills almost with us, so they’re really nice.
Do you see wanting to own a restaurant or being an executive chef somewhere? What do you think the future holds?
Well, I really just want a food empire, kind of like Gordon Ramsey. I want a lot of restaurants, I want to own restaurants, and I want to have a cooking show, too! I love public speaking – I do a broadcast journalism class at my school, so I think a cooking show would be great for that because they kind of combine two of my favorite things – performing and cooking, so that would be great.
What’s your favorite to eat, if you didn’t have to cook- what would you love someone to cook for you?
My favorite food in the whole wide world, without a doubt, is s’mores! Because even though they’re so simple, and I love really high intensity foods, you just can’t beat s’mores! I play with them all of the time – I’ll make a s’mores tart, a s’mores hot chocolate. All kinds of different things – it’s one of the best foods ever! It’s so simple, but you can change it.
You can change it up so many ways! I like to do a Reese’s Cup in place of a Hershey bar! Why do you think a show like MASTERCHEF JUNIOR is a show that people are responding to, people are watching? What are you hearing from people?
I think everyone likes it so much because it’s not super harsh – it’s not everyone out to stab each other in the back. Someone makes a wrong move and everyone goes for them. It’s really crazy on adult shows. With the kids, everyone is really sweet to each other, and they want to help each other out, and I think that’s just really inspiring to everyone else around the world. Most of the shows you don’t see helping other contestants out, when it’s a competition. But all of us kids, we just want to help each other, and we don’t want to see anyone go home!
Do people stop you now, are you getting recognized?
Yeah I get recognized a lot! I get recognized at the supermarket and when I’m out at dinner. It’s just really fun just to know that you have fans out there, and they really recognize you, and it means something to them. When they come up, it really means something to me, too, so it’s really great and awesome when they come up!
Is there something on your list for wanting to try next? Something new you’ve seen that you think you want to try?
Not right now! A lot of times when I see something online, I’ll see something on the front page of Yahoo, or I’ll go into a restaurant and try something I really like, I’ll get the ingredients and try to recreate it!! That’s really just how I roll, and what I like to do!
MASTERCHEF JUNIOR airs Tuesday nights at 8/7c on FOX.