While she earned her spot in the final two, Liya Chu, MasterChef Junior Season 8 finalist, appreciated that this opportunity was more than just winning the coveted title. Through each challenge, Liya found that the learning experience was more than just checking off another technique. For her, that connection to family and tradition was vital to her fulfilling her goals.
Having parents in the culinary industry might have been both a blessing and a hinderance for Liya. While she has spent many hours in and around a restaurant kitchen, the challenges on MasterChef Junior are different. Still, Liya understood that being able to adapt to any situation was a skill that helped her in difficult challenges.
When she spoke to FoodSided, Liya mentioned that watching the chefs in her parents’ restaurant helped her to appreciate that cooks need to find that you to accept that sometimes things might not go as planned. For example, when she struggled with her flambe, she didn’t let the frustration overtake her. Instead, Liya said that she didn’t want to freak out. Instead, she just kept pushing forward to find a way to finish her dish.
Learning from those mistakes is part of the cooking process. More importantly, Liya wants others to not be afraid of those little failures. Specifically, Liya shared that she is not going to be perfect and that’s ok. As long as she learns from those hiccups, she knows that everything will move forward.
Although she might want to have a redo of that MasterChef Junior egg challenge or the Gordon Ramsay ravioli challenge, she would not be the cook that she is without them. For every great dumpling, there were a few not so spectacular ones.
While she might have impressed the judges with her dumpling skills, Liya didn’t share the secret to the perfect dumpling. The best advice that she had was to practice and practice some more. Although her mother might be the dumpling master, Liya believes that it is about trying and trying again.
At the same time, there needs to be some fun in the cooking process. When Liya and her friends raid the pantry, it is about turning the event into a memorable experience. From baking brownies to even their own version of a mystery box challenge, there is no pressure to make a perfect dish. It is about the celebration of the process and just being together.
As seen throughout MasterChef Junior, Liya looked to her family as inspiration for many of her dishes. Beyond those impeccable dumplings, the flavors and techniques that had been used over and over in that family kitchen helped her to be confident in each challenge.
While there might always be soy sauce in the pantry, there is one dish that she would love to try. The iconic Gordon Ramsay Beef Welington is on her food bucket list. Maybe it is time for her to book a table at Hell’s Kitchen. Until then, Liya Chu could be cooking at home with friends or hitting the links since she is an avid golfer.
And, for anyone who was hungry to recreate some of Liya’s best dishes on MasterChef Junior, be sure to check out her Instagram account. Even if you haven’t cooked eel before, she breaks down the dish so that any cook can master it.
Will Liya Chu be crowned the MasterChef Junior Season 8 winner? Watch the two-hour season finale on Thursday, June 23 on FOX. Starting at 8 p.m., everyone can watch the road to the finale followed by the final battle.