‘MasterChef Junior Live!’ cooking up some fun in Pittsburgh | TribLIVE.com
Movies/TV

‘MasterChef Junior Live!’ cooking up some fun in Pittsburgh

Candy Williams

Kids in the kitchen aren’t necessarily a recipe for disaster.

It was just the opposite for Jasmine Stewart, whose creativity and persistence helped her win the grand prize of $100,000 at age 12 on Season 5 of “MasterChef Junior,” a culinary competition series for ages 8-13 on Fox television.

The seventh-grade student from Milton, Ga., survived elimination on the show and fought her way back through cooking challenges to become one of the finalists and the eventual winner.

She finished first in a molten lava cake challenge and prepared an impressive three-course meal for the judges that featured a white fish and scallop appetizer with green papaya salad, a coconut curry and lobster tail entree and her sticky rum cake with pineapple chips.

Stewart credits her parents for introducing her to a variety of foods and cooking styles.

“My dad is from Jamaica, which is very tropical, and my mom is from Virginia and makes very Southern dishes. They are such a big influence on my cooking,” she said.

Now 14 and a high school freshman, she has gone on to create her own company focused on girl empowerment and motivational speaking, with dreams of having her own television cooking show like her celebrity chef heroes Gordon Ramsey — one of the hosts and executive producers of “MasterChef Junior” — and Martha Stewart.

“What I love most about cooking is that it brings the family together,” she said.

What’s cooking at the Byham

Jasmine Stewart is one of four alums from the TV cooking show who will be part of a 16-city “MasterChef Junior Live!” tour that kicks off Oct. 3 in Joliet, Ill., and visits Pittsburgh on Oct. 6 at the Byham Theater as part of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Cohen & Grigsby Trust Presents Series.

The new production from TCG Entertainment and EndemolShine North America will feature head-to-head cooking competitions with past MasterChef Junior all-stars and fan favorites, question-and-answer sessions and audience participation.

Also demonstrating his cooking skills onstage will be Matthew Smith, 9, of Livingston, N.J., a Top 8 finalist in last season’s TV competition.

Some of his challenges included creating breakfast from a box of mystery ingredients, cooking for 51 circus performers, preparing a restaurant-worthy fish dish and making a perfect 24-foot sheet of pasta with his teammates.

The fourth-grade student said he’s enjoyed helping with the cooking at home since he was 2, but only started “taking it seriously” at age 6.

“Being on the ‘MasterChef Junior’ TV show was fun,” he said, “but the best part was just the memories of being in (Los Angeles) California,” where the show is filmed. And he doesn’t really aspire to a career as a chef.

“I love cooking, don’t get me wrong,” said Smith, whose favorite food is an unlikely kid’s dish — rack of lamb with Dijon mustard and rosemary coating served with Greek salad and tzatziki, “but I love a bunch of other things, too, like swimming, dancing, gymnastics and the performing arts.”

Inspiring kids to cook

He said he was looking forward to the “MasterChef Junior Live!” tour “to hopefully inspire other kids to cook and eat healthy and to chase their dreams no matter the circumstances.”

The “MasterChef Junior Live!” host at the Byham will be Casey Shane, a New York-based performer whose credits include regional theater productions in New York, Maine, Massachusetts and North Carolina.

Stephen Cook, founder and president of TCG Entertainment, said the stage show incorporates a few key elements: the kids from “MasterChef Junior” showing off their cooking abilities, some “fun, crazy, zany stuff” and audience participation, which is an integral part of the production.

“This is a highly rated show with a good fan base,” he said. “We wanted the touring show to be for families to spend a couple hours together having fun. In this day and age with kids hooked to their devices, it’s important to have that togetherness time.”

Candy Williams is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.


1734340_web1_gtr-liv-masterchef-03100219
Courtesy of EndemolShine North America
Jasmine Stewart, grand prize winner of Season 5 of “MasterChef Junior,” in an episode of the Fox TV kids cooking competition. She will be one of the young chefs at “MasterChef Junior Live!” coming to the Byham Theater at 7 p.m. Oct. 6.
1734340_web1_gtr-liv-masterchef-02100219
Courtesy of EndemolShine North America
Matthew Smith, a fan-favorite contestant from Season 7 of “MasterChef Junior,” will be one of the young chefs at “MasterChef Junior Live!,” the FOX TV kids cooking competition’s first touring show, coming to the Byham Theater ­ at 7 p.m. Oct. 6.
1734340_web1_gtr-liv-masterchef-04100219
Courtesy of EndemolShine North America
Contestants from the Red Team in the “Under the Big Top” episode of “MasterChef Junior.” The FOX TV kids cooking competition’s first touring show, “MasterChef Junior Live!” comes to the Benedum Center at 7 p.m. on Oct. 6.
1734340_web1_gtr-liv-masterchef-05100219
Courtesy of EndemolShine North America
Contestant Kate concentrates on cooking in an episode of “MasterChef Junior.” The FOX TV kids cooking competition’s first touring show, “MasterChef Junior Live!” comes to the Byham Theater at 7 p.m. Oct. 6.
1734340_web1_gtr-liv-masterchef-01100219
Courtesy of EndemolShine North America
Jasmine Stewart, grand prize winner of Season 5 of “MasterChef Junior,” will be one of the young chefs at “MasterChef Junior Live!” the FOX TV kids cooking competition’s first touring show, coming to the Benedum Center at 7 p.m. on Oct. 6.
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.