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Two San Antonio Chefs Pass First Round of MasterChef Junior 

click to enlarge COURTESY OF FOX
  • Courtesy of FOX
MasterChef Junior Season 7 has narrowed its competition to 20 young culinary talents, including pint-sized San Antonio cooks — Jayden, age 12, and Nayeli, age 9 — who have made it past two episodes, celebrity chefs and several culinary challenges.

We spoke to San Antonio's Jayden and Nayeli, who recently prepared a delicious lunch for circus performers and took on a birthday cake challenge in Episode 3. Be sure to catch "Junior Edition: Under the Big Top,” the newest episode of MasterChef Junior, on Tuesday, March 19 (7 p.m. CT) on FOX.

Nayeli, 9
click to enlarge COURTESY OF FOX
  • Courtesy of FOX
What was your favorite part of the episode?
My favorite part of the episode was cooking the quesadilla, rice and beans. I stayed confident on this round since these are foods I cook all the time, especially Spanish rice. I really liked the way my dish came out!

How are you feeling after making it past the first round?
I'm feeling so happy because I get to make memories with my friends. I also get to improve my cooking skills to win some rounds. My family just keeps saying how proud they are of me and that I'm really brave for cooking on TV.

How are you feeling after seeing fellow San Antonio chefs, Thomas and Neko, eliminated from the show?
We've been supporting each other since the beginning, and I know they're still rooting for Jayden and me.

What was the most difficult or stressful moment on the show?
Watching my friends go. It was hard to believe they were going home.

What are you most proud of, in your work as chef?
I'm most proud of every dish I make because I work hard in delivering the best I can.

What are you excited for next?
I'm really excited for the next team challenge at the circus. We really had some challenges in both teams and cooking for the circus was an amazing experience— unforgettable!

Jayden, 12
click to enlarge COURTESY OF FOX
  • Courtesy of FOX
What were your favorite experiences from the first two episodes?
I definitely found out that I am fully capable of dealing with team challenges after being shackled together during the banana split challenge. Even though I didn't care for the live lobster, I feel I did a pretty good job of turning my lobster into a creative dish.

How have family and friends reacted to your success on the show?
My family was very excited to see that I made it past the first two episodes... I think the other contestants were happy that I made it past the first two episodes. I know Neko and Thomas were very excited to be one of the top 24 Contestants on the MasterChef Junior Season 7 show, and had a great opportunity. We have really became close friends, and I consider them to be [some] of my best friends.

What's been the most difficult moment for you on the show?
The most difficult moment on the show was pulling the live lobster out of the freezing cold tank of water and killing it. The lobster was screaming at me as I was trying to reveal its meat, which made me nervous.

What are you most proud of, in your work as chef?
I am most proud of learning to bake and cook at a young age, and having the opportunity to showcase myself as a home cook on national television. I am also proud that I have made it to the top 20.

So many restaurants, so little time. Find out the latest San Antonio dining news with our Flavor Friday Newsletter.

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January 12, 2022

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