This article first appeared on TAPinto Morristown.
Ben Brown, a 9-year-old Morristown resident, was one of the elite 24 young home chefs chosen to stand opposite Gordon Ramsay on Season 7 of “MasterChef Junior” on FOX.
Brown said that has always wanted to cook. When he was little, he would cook with his grandmother. Even after attending school all day, he said, he tries to cook dinner every night and desserts on the weekends. His mom and younger brother love that he cooks for them.
“My signature dish is fried chicken and cole slaw,” said Brown. “But I love exploring new dishes and the challenge of it.”
Brown has been using his love of food and love of challenges each week as he competes for the title of MasterChef Junior and $100,000. Chef Gordon Ramsey, pastry chef Christina Tosi and celebrity chef and restaurateur Aaron Sanchez are judging this season of “MasterChef Junior.”
In the first episode, the contestants were challenged to make a breakfast dish. Brown made a Japanese-style pancake with maple bacon and garnished with fruit. Brown and two other contestants placed in the top three of this challenge and were safe from elimination.
“What's impressive to me about your dish is, you make these tiny decisions in really smart way to make sure the time spent in this kitchen makes your dish stand out,” Judge Tosi told him in the episode.
Those tiny decisions and a strategy of “quality over quantity” helped propel Brown’s team in the second episode where contestants had to assemble as many banana splits as possible within 15 minutes. Brown and his teammates successfully created eight banana splits to win the challenge.
With each week Brown is closer to claiming the prize. He said he dreams of opening his own smoothie business, a kid-friendly night club and a culinary school. But when asked what he would do with the prize money, he would use the money to purchase a food cart.
Brown was back for episode three, where contestants had to cook lunch for 51 circus performers. Part of the winning Blue Team, he was safe for a third week in a row. The fourth week, he and the remaining contestants had to make their best fish dish in one hour.
“Having a time limit was hard,” said Brown. “But the pressure and time management has helped me in other areas, like in school.”
Brown finished the fish dish challenge in the middle of the pack and had to compete in the second challenge where he had to make a dish with citrus. He was praised for his dish of citrus napoleon with a blueberry jam. Judge Tosi said his dish looked like it came out of a high end pastry shop off Rodeo Drive.
“Ben, this is a dream" said Tosi. "“You've nailed the texture. So impressive.”
“My goal from this challenge is to show that I can handle and elimination challenge and that I can also cook desserts,” said Brown.
During the show Brown learned alot. But the best part, he said, was meeting new chefs and making great friends.
Tune in to see Brown and the remaining contestants in "MasterChef Junior" on FOX April 2 (8 p.m. - 9 p.m.) when the next episode, “Something to Trifle With,” airs.
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