The Winchester native says she was “never really nervous” despite being the youngest contender (then 8) on the show’s second season. Now back to homework and swimming, she still sees cooking in her future. —Nicole Bayne
When did you start cooking?
My mom started introducing me to flavors when I was, like, a baby in a highchair. She would give me a little piece of basil and talk to me about it, like she would say, “This is basil,” and I would eat it, and I kind of learned from that. When I was 2, I was mostly a helper. Now I can cook chicken Francese. I am more independent in the kitchen.
What was the coolest thing you cooked on the show?
I think it was my salmon with asparagus fried rice because there weren’t too many ingredients in that. Just salt, pepper and olive oil. I was really proud because I really only used two ingredients and I won that challenge.
What was the hardest part of being on “MasterChef Junior?”
Probably being eliminated. And watching everyone else get eliminated … because they were my friends. They were really nice and then when they got eliminated they were all so sad. And I was sad.
Was it hard being the youngest?
No. Being young isn’t a disadvantage because we all have really good skills, but maybe about my height sometimes. Because I couldn’t reach stuff and I didn’t have good leverage when I cut … It was so hard to cut that big salmon.
Were there any big surprises on “Masterchef Junior?”
There were some surprises, like maybe a pantry full of live chickens! In the first show there [were] like chickens everywhere and we had to catch them.
What is your favorite recipe?
My favorite recipe is the Southwest chicken lettuce wrap. [This was also Major’s audition dish.] It’s really good, and it is also healthy and it can be a vegetarian dish if you leave out the chicken because it will still have a great flavor. There’s a sauce that goes with it. It’s a[n] avocado, buttermilk and cilantro dressing. The sauce kind of cools down the spicy flavors.
What is your favorite utensil?
I like the cheese grater because I love cheese. But I can do garlic, ginger, zest … anything you need to grate into small, fine, tiny pieces. When [my mom and I] are making guacamole with garlic, we would use that to put the garlic in because we don’t want people biting into big chunks of garlic. You can use it to put Parmesan cheese on spaghetti, and it kind of looks like snow. It’s funny.
What are you future cooking plans?
I still cook at least once or twice a week. I think I am going to cook a lot in the future, and I will have my own restaurant and I would go to culinary school. I would own a restaurant, but I would be a chef and a vet. I would have a veterinary clinic on one side of the restaurant and have the restaurant on the other side.