• Ariana Zajac

Food Networks Chopped Jr.

Updated: Nov 20, 2019

Being on Food Network's Chopped Jr. was a dream come true. In fact, it's a goal I set for myself when I was 9. I am going to share with you how I prepared, how the actual filming was, and how I have changed since.



I have wanted to be on Food Networks Chopped Jr. since the day I actually saw it on the TV. I always loved to cook and always will, I didn't even know that you could be on TV for cooking when I started (which might I remind you I was 3), I thought it was just wonder pets and elmo!


I started cooking more independently when I was 10, I got a chef to teach me and I was cooking dinner on a regular basis. I was remembering recipes more and things were getting easier, I was starting to understand the basics of cooking and how much you could really customize. When I was almost 11 I decided I was going to audition for Food Networks Chopped Jr, and... I did not get in. But that led me to practice a lot more and learn to show my personality more! When I was 12 I decided to audittion again, and guess what... I got in! I was so so so excited, honetly I still haven't really processed the fact that I was on TV. Being there on the stage of my dreams, was so exciting and an incredible expirience.


The moment I walked in and saw the judges I kida died for a second, in front of me was Ted Allen, Scott Conant, Amanda Freitag, and Jessica freeking Alba! I was so so so excited and determined that I was going to win, im sure everyone else was thinking that but I was so confident! The first round, I was feeling pretty good, the ingredients weren't to hard and I had an idea I thought woudl work, well it did the judges liked it! The second round was not the best, I had an amazing idea that I thought would work perfectly and then I realized it would take to long, so I had to go back to stage one, everything was okay, there were flaws in everything, the chicken looked uncooked, the brussel sprout salad did not look to appealing, and I didn't take much from the pantry. The third round was really stressful, I'm not that good at baking and I really did not know what to do! I started making a tart and ice cream, the ice cream was great, but the tart was not a tart. I used the wrong crust for the tart and also it was basically soup. I am upset that I couldn't think of a sullution, but am happy with I accomplished, and trust me its much much much harder to think afficiantly with $10,000 on the line and knowing that you only have 30 minutes, wich is NOT a lot of time.


Some things that I would have done differently if I could "re-do" the show with the same ingredients is; Round one, use less pickled onion, use more ingredients from the pantry, and cut the beef toung into smaller pieces, Round two, I would let the chicken crisp up more, use more ingredients from the pantry, And do something more creative with the brussel sprouts. Round 3, I would probably but a thickener like geletan in the "tart" or make it into a mousse buy adding cream and whipping it, otherwise I think I did a good job!


Of course I am upset that I didn't win, but it has also made me try harder in a lot of other things and do my best to be "the winner". I am so happy about were I got to and how far I went, I will definialy be auditioning for more shows in the future so stay tuned! I love sharing my story with all of you, feel free to email me at nycteenchef@gmail.com if you have any questions!




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