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Earlier this year, I talked with KC, a 3rd grader in Ms. Cris’s class, to find out how this 8-year-old chef earned a place as a contestant on the popular TV show: MasterChef Junior Thailand, a competitive cooking game show series adapted from the British show, Junior MasterChef.
More than 2,000 children from all over the country applied for a coveted spot on the show. Forty children were selected to be on the show, and only 26 of them got their MasterChef Apron. MasterChef Junior Thailand airs on Ch7HD (35) Sundays at 6:20 p.m.
How long have you been at RIS?
For 3 years, since 1st grade.
How long have you been interested in cooking?
Since I was 4 years old.
What got you interested in cooking?
My family owns a restaurant, Jitpochana Park, which serves good Thai food. I would sit in the kitchen and watch the cooks work. Then I started to wonder if I could cook, too. At first I helped in the bakery, making tarts, creams, and creme brulee. I also made my own butter and cream.
What happened after that?
I started to work with Ms. Kun, one of the senior Pastry Chefs in the restaurant. She ultimately became my cooking teacher. I started by reading old cookbooks. The first thing I cooked was a simple carbonara dish.
How did MasterChef Junior come about?
My dad asked me if I wanted to apply to MasterChef Junior. He explained that it would be quite a bit of pressure. I decided that I was OK with that, so I decided to audition.
How did you get onto the show?
The first round was a video of me cooking. I made carbonara with flaming cheese on top and a panna cotta with strawberry sauce. I was invited to the next round of auditions. For that, I made creme brulee and jam ahead of time and did the decorations live at the audition.
Three weeks later, I heard that I had made it to the next round of auditioning, where we had to cook in front of the show’s actual judges: Chef Pom, Chef Ian, Chef Ink. I made filet mignon in a peppercorn sauce. I wanted to make a flambé but they only had an electric stove not a gas cooker. For getting that far, I was awarded a MasterChef Junior certificate. Then I had an interview with owner of the show and the creatives. They asked me many questions, including whether I could sing—because I had to be entertaining as well as good at cooking!
How did you feel about being invited on the show?
I felt good, especially when I got to see the MasterChef kitchen!
How many kids made it onto the show to begin with?
20 boys and 20 girls—40 in all, then down to 26 for the Apron Challenge.
How did you prepare to be on the show?
My dad invited Chef Mark Cawley, my uncle and grandfather’s friend, to teach me. He’s a good teacher and helped me learn how to be organized. I worked with him every single day after school at the restaurant. For three weeks I practiced basic cooking skills.
How did you feel about filming the first episode?
I was worried and wondered if I would make it. It was quite scary! I had to make a dish with Japanese scallops, called Hotate with Wasabi Sabayon, and I had only one week to practice making it.
How did you calm your nerves?
I practiced meditation and ways to breathe that would calm my nerves. I also did singing therapy and worked with RIS alumna Maleewan.
How did the filming work for the show?
Each episode took most of a whole day to produce. There were two weeks between each taping session so we had two weeks to practice.
How far did you get and what did you make while on the show?
I made it to the sixth episode then I had to withdraw because I was not feeling very well that day. I got to make hotate, risotto, cupcakes, nam prik ong, and take part in two team challenges where I got to work with the other Junior MasterChefs. For the first team challenge we made pork chops, which was hard. We also had an Infinity Choice, which included ostrich, frog, and crocodile. I won best dish for my Crocodile menu, which I put in the pressure cooker because if you don’t cook it well it tastes like rubber.
Tell me more about the team challenges.
I learned from the first team challenge that we needed to be organized. For the second team challenge, I got to be the Team Captain for the Blue Team. We went to the Cartoon Network Waterpark in Pattaya and had to serve fast food to all of the people visiting the park that day. I believe that fast food and fine dining go together, so we made guacamole because it is filling and it’s good for you.
What’s your secret to making really good guacamole?
You need to scrape out all of the avocado especially the part nearest the skin because that is the tastiest part. But the real secret is in the seasoning, but I can’t tell you what it is because it’s a secret!
What is your biggest take away from the experience?
Friendships, both here at school and with the other MasterChef Junior competitors. I met up with all of the MasterChef Junior kids in December. We got to swim, cook, and play Bingo.
What is the most important thing about cooking?
The most important thing is that your workspace is as clean as possible. Also, you have to pay attention to the details, like noticing how hot a pan is so you don’t burn your ingredients. And you need to be patient!
What are the hardest things about cooking?
Being organized and preparing ahead as much as possible.
What is your favorite thing to cook?
My favorite things to cook are deconstructed coq au vin and souffĺés. I have a “KC Signature Soufflé.” It’s top secret! I’m more interested in savory food than sweet food because sweets require a lot of patience. Dessert is my favorite, but I find it hard to be patient because I want to eat it right away!
Do you have any other hobbies or passions besides cooking?
I also enjoy singing and playing golf.
Who are your heros?
Chef Mark Cawley, my nanny (who helps me clean up after cooking), my dad, and my mom.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to keep cooking! I have launched a new YouTube channel, which I would love people to subscribe to: “Cooking English.” My goal is that it will help me earn money for a Chef’s Table at the restaurant. I’m planning to make 9 courses for 9 people at a time. That’s a total of 81 dishes! My first Chef’s Table is coming up on March 14, which is my birthday. You are welcome to come try my food! I hope to have a lot of Chefs Tables and to get to go on a Disney Cruise. Then I want to open a restaurant and get a Michelin star.
Please check out and subscribe to KC’s YouTube channel, Cooking English: www.youtube.com/channel/UC1tj7NFkO26C7hu1IXpTd0Q?view_as=subscriber to see him cooking his favorite dishes. He speaks in English with Thai and has English subtitles.
You can also find KC on other social media platforms:
Congratulations, KC, and best wishes for much success now and in the future!