When Gordon Ramsay got together with award-winning chef friends—currently Joe Bastianich and Christina Tosi, as per Fox—fans of Ramsay's other shows worried that they might be about to see a bunch of very frightened and upset children. Gordon Ramsay's known for his fiery temper and spicy language, not to mention his more than colorful comparisons for less-than-impressive dishes he sees. MasterChef Junior has turned out to be a multi-generational fan favorite. However—Ramsay is very kind and encouraging, and the show has stayed true to focusing on the incredible talent that children as young as eight have shown.
Having just now wrapped up its sixth season, many superfans of MasterChef Junior are wondering what some of the young chefs have done once the dust settled for them. While most of the children who competed in the six seasons of MasterChef Junior are still under the age of 18, a surprising number of them aren't slowing down or settling back into the humdrum of daily life. From YouTube series to TV appearances, and from full-fledged businesses to book writing, these graduates of MasterChef Junior are hard at work pursuing their dreams—often in surprising ways. Here are 20 MasterChef Jr. Contestants: Where Are They Now?
20 Beni Cwiakala Has Big Goals
She's only 11 now, but already Beni Cwiakala has bigger dreams than most of us. The most recent winner of MasterChef Junior, Beni can't spend her prize money yet—it's been put into an account she can access when she's the ripe old age of 18, as per Parade. She hasn't had much time to explore her options yet, but Beni can finally reveal that she's the winner, and she's done some cooking demos. She revealed in an interview that she thinks she'd like to pursue cooking as a career now that she made it through the entire season, but at the age of 11, things could always change. Fans will be watching.
19 Leader Of The Pack Alexander Weiss
Alexander Weiss was the very first winner of MasterChef Junior. He beat out 11 other contestants at the age of 13 in episode after episode of the groundbreaking first season of MasterChef Junior. He didn't just go back to being a teenager after the show. Alexander revealed that he's been working hard in several restaurant kitchens during the summer to hone his culinary skills, according to Twitter. He credits the show with helping him to respond more constructively to criticism, as well as broadening his horizons and allowing him to travel and embrace fantastic opportunities. Alexander thinks that the time limits of MasterChef Junior were also helpful in teaching him to work more efficiently.
18 Italy Connection: Andrew Zappley
From a family in New Jersey, Andrew Zappley couldn't keep quiet about his serious crush on Gordon Ramsay's daughter, Mathilda, as per the Courier Post. Luckily Gordon Ramsay didn't hold that against Andrew, and he cooked his heart out all the way to second place on season three, while also tossing out a few funny lines here and there. Since that season aired in 2015, Andrew has returned to school—he was only 11 when he competed—but he certainly hasn't stopped cooking, according to Life & Style. He still dreams of better school lunches, and he competed in a chili cook-off—and took home first place.
17 Troy Glass Acts Cool
Hailing from Thousand Oaks, which is near Los Angeles, Troy Glass was already building a fledgling acting career before appearing on MasterChef Junior, but his chef chops were real, and he got pretty far before being eliminated in season one. He even auditioned in the hopes of returning on MasterChef Junior season two, as per Screener TV. Since his appearance on MasterChef Junior, he's continued pursuing both acting and cooking, and has a busy and thriving YouTube channel. He attends high school even while his uploads frequently get thousands of views, and range from fashion finds to city tours.
16 A Big Move For Nathan Odom
After winning MasterChef Junior in season three, Nathan Odom changed his hairdo and definitely kept busy. He states that he's really enjoyed helping out a number of charities in the San Diego area, as per YouTube. Nathan revealed that he enjoyed using some of his prize from winning to finance sourcing the best ingredients when he cooked, according to Chef's Roll. Recently, Nathan Odom moved from San Diego to rural Japan. While he doesn't cook as obsessively as he says he once did, he still seems focused on a future career as a chef, explaining that he has big plans for the future.
15 Time For Desserts With Adaiah Stevens
The kids that compete on MasterChef Junior are definitely a talented bunch, but many of them are very driven and even entrepreneurial. Adaiah Stevens certainly didn't let a little burnt garlic sideline her; since her elimination from MasterChef Junior in season two, she's been busier than many adults. Adaiah was back on TV in 2017 and has been busy writing both a cookbook and a fiction book, as per News Times. Her new brand, Doux will focus on carefully crafted desserts such as gluten-free and vegan Tea Cakes, as well as macarons. She explains that she's worked hard to perfect her technique since the show.
14 Jenna Kloner Is Back To School
Jenna was 12 when she competed on season three of MasterChef Junior, but even then she already had a plan for the future—she wants a college degree first, then culinary school, according to The TV Page. She was inspired to begin cooking because her family wasn't really into cooking, and she explains that she often compares a dish from a restaurant to the version she's cooked—and she's not always impressed by the restaurant's version. Although she was a fan favorite, Jenna lost to Nathan Odom for the top prize. Afterward, she returned to school and has been working hard, as seen in her blog, as per Jenna Kloner Photography
13 Logan Guleff's In The Business
Some people are practically born with pure talent and savvy business sense, and Logan Guleff is definitely one of those people. When Logan appeared on MasterChef Junior, he went on to become the youngest to ever win the culinary competition at that time, according to Logan Guleff. He's clearly not been content to rest on his laurels, however. Since wowing Gordon Ramsay and friends, he's kept up a whirlwind schedule, including judging food competitions, doing cooking demonstrations at fairs and charity events, and even appearing on YouTube. Logan has appeared in cookbooks, then undertook to publish his own. Not too shabby for a 16-year-old kid.
12 How The Cookie Crumbled For Cory Nieves
When life handed Cory Nieves a spot on MasterChef Junior in season three, he ran with it. Already a successful businessman, “Mr. Cory” of Mr. Cory's Cookies has continued to promote his cookie business with such heavyweights as Marcus Lemonis, according to Harlem Eat Up! He's also pressed forward with a number of promotional spots and is known for his dapper style. Cory has modeled and has also developed his own clothing line, and has worked on a number of collaborations with fashion and clothing lines. Mr. Cory CARES is the name of his charity, and Cory has set his sights on Princeton University—but first, high school.
11 Dancing Around With Addison Osta Smith
Ten-year-old Addison Osta Smith made history when she became both the first girl and the youngest contestant to win MasterChef Junior, but TV fans didn't have to say goodbye to her when the final episode aired. Since then, Addison has appeared on several shows, including The Steve Harvey Show, The Late Late Show With James Corden and Good Day LA, as per ABC. She also filmed a pilot show in 2016. This year she's back again, but not in the kitchen—she's scheduled to appear on Dancing With The Stars alongside other kid ingenues like Honey Boo Boo and Ariana Greenblatt.
10 Jimmy Warshawsky's Cooking On Camera
Jimmy Warshawsky took the fame and success of MasterChef Junior all in stride. While he didn't win, he did become one of the finalists. He reveals he's been cooking and performing since he was six years old, as per The Chef Jimmy. Chef Jimmy—what he calls himself—has stayed so incredibly busy since MasterChef Junior a mere three years ago, including publishing regular YouTube installments about food and cooking. Jimmy, a sophomore in high school, wants his fans to know that he loves being a chef, but he's so much more than that—he's also a Boy Scout, a videographer and a journalist.
9 It's Elementary For Avery Kyle
She was edged out of winning MasterChef Junior by co-contestant Addison Osta Smith, but Avery Kyle hasn't slowed down since the final episode. Producers admitted that the video her family sent in of Avery hunting a gator for dinner definitely showed them that she's not lacking in confidence, according to The Glamorous Life. Despite the fact that her family states that Avery cooks dinner as often as four or five times a week, the tot-sized chef has dreams of becoming a lawyer—or maybe an actor. She's also a big theater geek and dreams of maybe being in movies or commercials.
8 Dara Yu To Watch Her
Coming in as runner-up on the first season of MasterChef Junior didn't prove a disappointment in the long run for Dara Yu. She's gone on to have a very successful YouTube series and is also known as The Bow Girl, as per Girls' Life. Dara Yu has big plans for her future and is always trying to innovate in her kitchen and on her cooking channel. She's also worked with DreamWorks TV, but she's not just relying on cooking videos alone. After putting in some hard work in upscale kitchens in Los Angeles and New York, Dara has plans for her own restaurant and cafe and coffee shop—why not?
7 What Samuel Stromberg Writes
Sam Stromberg won the hearts of viewers in season two of MasterChef Junior and impressed all the judges, especially Graham Elliot, as per The Mercury News. Sam eventually got knocked out, and Logan Guleff won that season of MasterChef Junior, but Sam Stromberg seems to have taken it all in stride. He and his family took a few trips to visit other contestants on the show. He's been attending school, of course, and perhaps writing or blogging is in his future—he's got at least one article up on Huffington Post, and his bio explains that he loves international travel and food, as per Huffington Post.
6 Zac Kara Of All Trades
Zac Kara said that watching the first season of MasterChef Junior inspired him so much that he went from totally uninterested, to being a contestant on season four. His passion for cooking wasn't just a flash in the pan—he's gone on to appear on MasterChef Celebrity Showdown, and even went on the Master Chef Cruise, according to The Undefeated. He's also got a very popular YouTube series called Cooking With Zac, and a cookbook in the works. None of these things have stopped him from also pursuing a budding tennis career, and he's also taken on some acting gigs lately—not bad for a kid just into high school.
5 Jasmine Stewart In The Mouth Of The Wolf
Jasmine Stewart learned a valuable lesson about never giving up that many adults have yet to learn—and she's just barely a teenager. After initially being eliminated, she was brought back and given a second chance, which she proceeded to run with, according to Family Circle. Winning season five was an exclamation on a topsy-turvy season, but it's just the beginning for Jasmine. She'd love to have her own cooking show like Guy Fieri, and she's loaned her expertise both to the cookbook in the form of a few recipes, but also by helping out at the MasterChef Junior Camps.
4 Adam Wadhwani Sets His Sights
It hasn't been long since Adam closed out his run into the semifinals of MasterChef Junior, but he's still riding the wave. Chef Adam is active these days doing cooking demos on his Facebook page and loves taking a rigorous scientific and technical approach to his recipes and creations, as per Edible Sacramento. Just barely into high school, Adam is still thrilled to have had the opportunity to be on the show. He's delved deeper into examining ingredients at the molecular level, and how precision can affect the total outcome of a dish and its effect on the person consuming it.
3 Quani Fields Bakes Up Future Plans
Like some of the other past contestants, Quani Fields is a better businessman than many of us will ever be, supplying sweet treats both off his website and in person at soccer games in his hometown. Going into MasterChef Junior, Quani says he thought of himself primarily as a baker but came out of the finals really feeling like a chef who'd earn his creds, according to CarterMatt. Nowadays he's gearing up to pursue his dream of eventually owning a food truck that specializes in his cupcakes, donuts and other delicious desserts—but first, culinary school!
2 JJ O'Day Is Still Cookin'
Even talented kids can sometimes change direction, but JJ O'Day appears to be just as passionate about good down-home cooking as he ever was. Texas native JJ O'Day appeared in the MasterChef Junior cookbook that was published in 2017, and he's clearly still getting in the kitchen from time to time, as evidenced by his Twitter feed. After his impressive showing during season four of MasterChef Junior, as per Eater, it's back to school for this young chef—he's all of 15 years old now. Most teens aren't whipping up delicacies for their parents, or grilling and broiling meat to perfection to celebrate special occasions, but JJ O'Day isn't like most teens.
1 Catering For Berry Nakash
One thing that many of the MasterChef Junior alumni often say is how good of a learning experience the show was for them. Berry Nakash definitely thought so, as per The Chronicle. Although she's got several years of high school ahead of her still, she's already started working for a catering company during the summer and on weekends and credits the show with putting the catering opportunity within reach for her. Berry doesn't plan to work for others forever, though—she has plans to one day have her own business, and possibly even her own restaurant featuring her innovative recipes and the best quality ingredients.