‘MasterChef Junior’ exclusive: A chat with Samuel on cooking history, creativity, and watching yourself on TV

We are two episodes into “MasterChef Junior’s” second season, but it did not take us too long at all to clue into the fact that Samuel was one of the more entertaining home cooks this season. Even though he is not old enough to drive (or really even that close), he can probably cook circles around you. We also equate him in some ways to a culinary mad scientist courtesy of the risks we’ve seen him take. Mind you, the season just started! There could be much more in the way of surprises to come.

To better prepare you for the rest of the show and for his personal journey, we recently conducted an email interview with Samuel all about his time in the MasterChef Kitchen, how he has been so inspired by food at an early age, and also what it’s been like actually watching himself on TV.

CarterMatt – First of all, what made you want to go on the show?

I really wanted to go on MasterChef Junior because it just seemed like a really fun learning experience and I would get to meet all of these really great kid chefs from around the country.

Based on what we’ve seen so far, your food is very ambitious, and you come at food from a very creative place. Is that one of the reasons you love cooking so much?

One of the reasons I love cooking so much is because there is always something new out there and I think that is what my food reflects. Sometime the creativity really works, sometimes it doesn’t work out as well. The more I try and the more I cook, I always find new creative things out there. I think the most creative thing I have done so far has been dabbling in gastronomy – that is one of the ways that cooking can get really extreme because there are so many different things you can do. For example, the Sriracha foam that I made in the premiere episode. I had never done that before and was experimenting while I was cooking – it was a spur of the moment thing. I think that a lot of the creative cooking that I have shown so far really embodies who I am and I am glad that I was able to do that in the MasterChef kitchen.

Was there a specific person who inspired you to want to cook?

From day one, my parents have always been supportive of me and they are always behind me and what I cook. They have always been available to give me real, honest judging which has allowed me to make myself a better person and a better cook.

What was the feeling like going into the MasterChef Kitchen for the first time? Were you excited, or scared?

It was super exhilarating! As soon as I saw the judges at the end of the kitchen I was so excited that I was going to get to cook for them and they would be able to tell me how I could improve as a cook.

 How do you feel about the judges having gone through this?

They were really nice people! Whenever they tell you that your food isn’t as good as it could be- it’s not because they don’t like you, it’s not because they don’t like your dish, it’s because they want you to be the best chef that you could possibly be. I think that is one of the most valuable things that I have taken away from being on MasterChef Junior.

How crazy was the pancake challenge from this week’s episode?

It was absolutely nuts! I mean, it looked like we were all calm and collective on TV, but we were running around, pancakes were going everywhere and there was batter all over the floor! It was crazy!

Finally, what has it been like watching yourself on TV?

To be honest, it is really weird, but it is so great to see my friends on TV. During the experience, we were all focused on what we were cooking so I never got to see what they were doing in the kitchen. I am just so proud of all my friends on the show and what they can do.

We’re going to have continuing coverage of all things “MasterChef Junior” all season long, so be sure to stay tuned.

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