“Chopped Junior” contestant Jamie Foerst can’t say who won until after the episode airs at the end of this month.
Foerst, who is 12, can’t even tell his family or friends about the dishes he made.
Since the episode was filmed in early April, the soon-to-be 7th grader has kept its details a secret. The only people he’s talked to since filming are the three other contestants he competed against on the show. They keep in touch through an online group chat.
“We’d all become really good friends by the end of the filming and we’d only really known each other for a few days. We met each other at the set the night before filming began,” Foerst said.
Foerst lives in Westfield. His father, Jim, is a former town councilman and a local attorney and his mother, Cara, is an Associate Dean for Academics at Seton Hall Law School.
When not cooking or baking, Foerst plays the piano and trumpet and enjoys problem solving. He has competed on an Odyssey of the Mind team over the past two years, a creative problem-solving program that trains students in grades Kindergarten through college to succeed in the technical world.
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Competing on “Chopped Junior” helped the 11- and 12-year-old contestants foster friendships and expand on their cooking skills. The three other contestants in the episode — Adeline Pulioff, Andres De Marco and Madi Loor — hail from Colorado and Florida.
“The other boy on the show and I had similar cooking styles and the girls on the show had similar cooking styles, but we all had something in common with each other,” Foerst explained.
He also learned cooking and baking techniques from the experience.
“I learned a lot of new ways to cook,” he said. “I learned how to make certain sauces and how isolated individual items can be cooked together that wouldn’t normally go together. And that an appetizer, an entrée or a dessert can be cooked in 30 minutes.”
Foerst started cooking in fourth grade when his parents ordered boxed meal kits from companies like Hello Fresh. He helped his parents cook the meals with the ingredients that were included in the box and eventually became interested in creating meals on his own.
He also developed a passion for baking, and with that he too creates his own recipes from searching the internet, watching cooking shows and experimenting.
“Jamie always thinks about the science in the food stuff that I wouldn’t think about when cooking,” said his mom, Cara.
One of his favorites desserts to bake are Oreo cupcakes, which he makes with cream cheese frosting, vanilla cake, Oreo cookie crumbles and an Oreo cookie as a base.
“They are awesome,” Foerst said. “All of my friends said they are really good.”
Foerst will appear on the “Chopped Junior” episode “Duck, Duck, Chopped!” scheduled to air on Tuesday, July 30, at 8 p.m., on the Food Network. “Duck, Duck, Chopped!” is the last episode of Season 8 of the show.
Judges for the episode will be Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy and guest judge Bailee Madison.
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