And the new MasterChef Junior winner is… Jasmine Stewart!
The 12-year-old Atlanta native was recently named the hit FOX cooking competition’s Season 5 champion — and now, Jasmine is exclusively dishing to Closer Weekly about her experience on the show!
Scroll down to read our Q&A with Jasmine.
What’s it like to be the newest MasterChef Junior champion?
It’s truly amazing. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have made it on to the show, let alone win! I’m just so thankful, and so happy to be able to do this. I’m just so excited, and so overwhelmed by the love and support I’ve been shown! Winning the show is just more inspiration and motivation to go after my dreams, and take advantage of my opportunities.
Jasmine with judges Christina and Gordon.
What was your favorite part of this past season and why?
Well this is a hard question, because the experience had so many great things — I’m so thankful I got to be a part of the show! I loved the people I got to meet. Most of my friends don’t like to cook, so to be in a room with people who love to cook was amazing.
I loved judges Gordon Ramsay and Christina Tosi and the fact that we got to have guest judges during the season was so cool. It was amazing to be able to meet people I am used to watching on television! Finally, I will say I loved the places we got to travel to. In Georgia, there are not any beaches near me, so I loved going to the beach, and going into the mountains, it was all just so beautiful.
Did you have a favorite challenge or recipe you made?
Yes, I did! I would say my favorite dish was the sticky rum cake I made for the finale. I was really pleased with how it turned out, but I think the best part about that dish was that Martha Stewart asked me for the recipe, Wolfgang Puck ate it all, and [one of the show’s judges], Christina, told me I could open up a bakery and just sell the cake. Wow! I was so thankful for that because who would have thought those four judges would taste my food, let alone love it.
Jasmine on MasterChef Junior.
What was it like being judged by notoriously tough critic Gordon?
Wow. That’s how I would describe it. I never thought I would ever meet Gordon Ramsay, or that he would judge my food. However, once I made it on to the show, I would say it was super exciting, and nerve-racking at the same time. Gordon is someone who I look up to in the culinary world so I always wanted him to like whatever I made, and would be disappointed if he didn’t. He was really inspiring, and motivating!
What was it like being on TV?
For me, it was an amazing experience I’ll never forget. I loved watching myself, and the other kids, on the show and am so thankful for the opportunity. It always cracked me up when I would say certain things or make faces that are so natural to me while I was filming, but were super funny when watching. Like when I said “RIP ME!” because [guest judge] Michelle Obama was on the show. I was thinking, “Where did that come from?”
My family and friends were just as excited as I was [to watch me on TV] and so supportive. Like me, they never really thought about having someone they knew on a show, but it has been so great to have people to share the excitement, intensity, and laughter with.
What are you planning to do with your $100,000 prize money?
I am most likely going to save the money for college. My family has always taught me to save, and by saving it, I can use it when I need to use it.
What advice would you give other aspiring kid chefs?
I would tell them to jump right in and go for it. Cooking is something that is fun, and relaxing, and as long as those two things are happening the dish should be great. If you mess up you can try again, or turn the dish into something new, be creative. Find someone who inspires you, and who represents your cooking style, and get started.