Junior MasterChef Success!

Junior MasterChef Success!

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This year, Middle College student Tiffany Szerenyi was selected for Channel 10’s Junior MasterChef series, making her one of the top 14 junior chefs in Australia!

Tiffany’s determination and talent throughout the show saw her make it through to the final few episodes of the series, before being eliminated last week. With the Grand Finale held on Monday night, we’ve chatted with Tiffany about her experience. 

Congratulations and well done to Tiffany on this amazing achievement.

What inspired your love of food and cooking?

My mum has always had me in the kitchen since I was little, so I’ve grown up loving cooking. I have lots of memories of making cakes with mum, making fondant icing and working on the piping together. My dad is also Hungarian, so I am very inspired by the heritage and culture.

I was diagnosed with Systemic Juvinile Arthritus when I was three years old. I was treated and then went into remission for seven years. In 2018 it returned and it’s actually been through trying different diets that assist with my symptoms that I’ve really been able to get creative and explore different dishes.

I also enjoy cooking from scratch and visit my local farmers market each week to get fresh produce.

What is your favourite dish to cook?

My favourite dish to cook is a carbonara – I’ll always make it if we’re having a dinner party. It’s not a traditional carbonara, there’s no egg yolk, but there’s lots of cheese which makes it very tasty! My carbonara was actually the dish I prepared in the MasterChef first audition stage.

I also really enjoy baking sweets and cakes.

What prompted you to apply for Junior Masterchef?

I’ve always loved watching the show and enjoyed cooking, so when I saw the opportunity come up and that they’d extended the age limit, I knew I had to go for it.

The application process was quite intensive. I had to complete an application form, make a video about myself and the dish I’d chosen to make. Once I was through to the second round, I had a Skype call where I had to make a sweet dish. I made a croquembush, which was quite ambitious, but turned out well.

Out of the 2000 applicants, 24 children were flown to Melbourne to complete the final audition stage. In Melbourne, we had to create a signature dish. Mine was a raw chocolate cheesecake with a miso and peanut butter sorbet and a coconut drizzle. From these dishes, only 14 children were selected for the show.

Tell us about your experience on the show – challenges / opportunities?

It was really cool being on set knowing you were in the famous masterchef kitchen. It was interesting to see behind the scenes and how reality shows are actually produced.

Overall, it was a challenging environment as we were filming for 12 hours a day over a six week period. But I made so many new friends, which made the whole experience really enjoyable.

For the actual cooking challenges, it was hard not to crack under the time pressure. But all the contestants and judges were really supportive so it made it a little easier.

I learnt a lot about myself during Junior MasterChef. I’m a lot more resilient than I thought and I also learnt that a positive mindset is a huge help when you’re under pressure.

Do your future career aspirations involve hospitality / food?

Food is definitely on the table, but I have lots of ideas about what I want to do, definitely something creative. One of my dreams is to own a high-end restaurant that serves good quality food, but for now that’s a long way off!