My Experience on Chopped, Junior
By Nate Siwiec
Current 7th grade student at St. Mark School in Buffalo
My experience on the Food Network's Chopped Junior was definitely one to never forget. From the glaring stage lights to the hearty smell of food cooking, I loved every second of it.
Starting from the day the episode was being filmed, I woke up feeling nervous but of course excited to be on national television. I was filming in New York City, so the studio was quite far away. I had to get changed and shower quickly. When I was done, I went down the hotel lobby to see the other contestants waiting. We all boarded the small private bus and talked. Maya, Keyanna, and Josh, the other contestants, were great company to be aboard with. We got to the studio, Chelsea Market, and headed upstairs to where we filmed. The filming started. I opened the basket to find chicken and waffle sliders, mustard greens, jicama, and pickled buffalo eggs. Seeing the ingredients, I decided to make a chicken and jicama pizza with a Buffalo sauce. While trying to get the chicken crispy, I burnt it...twice. The second time I just put it on the pizza, hoping the judges wouldn't notice. The first round was finished and the other contestant's dishes looked amazing. The judges loved everything about my pizza besides the burnt chicken. I waited in the small waiting room called "The Cookie Jar" and prayed I wouldn't go home. We came out and heard the words "Who will be chopped?" Ted Allen said that and revealed that Josh was chopped. I felt sad and excited in a single moment.
On to Round 2- Entrees. I opened the basket to find salmon fillets, carrot noodles, hard pretzels, and curry paste. I decide to make a pan-seared salmon with red curry and carrot linguine. I felt scared at the beginning because I have never cooked salmon but the round started and I began. The round went smoothly but I didn't know how the salmon was cooked. Back to The Cookie Jar we went. When the judges picked who was moving on, we came out and found out who was going to the dessert round. "Maya, you have been chopped," Ted Allen said. Again, I felt sad but excited.
The final round, dessert, and I was in it, I had a 50% chance of winning $10,000. The baskets opened and Keyanna and I find budino, tarragon, raisins on the vine, and lunch box sushi. Finally, I decide to make a no-bake cheesecake. The round goes very well and I feel I could win. We step into The Cookie Jar, then come out to find out who was going home. It was me, I was chopped, sadly. After shaking the judges' hands I walked out to my mom, very proud of me. We got into the Uber and back to the hotel it was.
This was one of the best experiences of my life and I'm happy even though I didn't win. Just because I didn't win doesn't mean I didn't do a great job.