Some of us like to think that we are fabulous home cooks. We watch the challenging cooking shows and confidently muse to ourselves, "Psh, I could do that!" And then, MasterChef Junior came along and suddenly your confidence waned. The competition called on America’s most talented young home cooks who have an ambition to make it in the food industry. Season one produced winner Alexander Weiss, a kid with an infinite amount of potential and an eye for decadence. We recently sat down with the champ to talk about everything from his favorite ingredient to use to what his plans are for the future. Check out what he had to say below!
The Daily Meal: So tell us a little bit about when your passion for cooking started.
Alexander Weiss: My passion for cooking started when I was little and baked simple things with my mom. Then as I started getting more and more interested, I started to bake on my own. Later on, I started to cook savory food with my dad and I have always loved it.
TDM: What is your all-time favorite dish to cook? What about to bake?
AW: My favorite dish to cook is fresh pasta such as gnocchi, or fresh ravioli. My favorite things to bake are choux buns dipped in caramel, also known as cream puffs.
TDM: Tell us your favorite memory from the show (other than winning). What do you find to be the most challenging part of cooking?
AW: My favorite memory on the show was the time that Kaylen, Gavin, and I all dumped (and threw) whipped cream on the judges' heads. That was probably the most fun we had! The most challenging part about cooking is getting the right balance, whether it is acidity or sweetness or bitterness or sourness; it is a very important and challenging aspect of cooking.
TDM: Do you have any favorite ingredients to cook with?
AW: I love cooking with tropical or fruity ingredients such as passion fruit, Key limes, or pomegranates. Those are three of my favorite ingredients. Another one of my favorite ingredients is one that is a staple, and very important when it comes to baking, is the mighty EGG!
TDM: What do you struggle with in the kitchen?
AW: I struggle with washing the dishes and cleaning up afterward! But seriously, sometimes I struggle with working in grams or ounces because I am so used to working with cups.
TDM: Who is your biggest chef role model?
AW: Daniel Boulud for his creativity, his genius, his perfection, his crazy French side, and for his amazing ability to transform ingredients.
TDM: What are your hopes for the future?
AW: I hope to have a restaurant of my own and be the head chef there as well.
TDM: If you could own any type of restaurant in the world, what would it be and where would it be?
AW: I would own my own Italian restaurant with a bit of French influence in Manhattan. I am still coming up with names, but with respect for my favorite ingredient to work with and eat (pomegranates), I would name my restaurant "The Chunky Pomegranate." But the names for my restaurant are still in process.