Originally posted at 12:35 p.m. Oct. 1, 2013.
What would you make for two lauded chefs and a famous restaurateur?
San Juan Capistrano Noah Salviati, 12, an eighth-grader at Capo Beach Christian School, knows what he would cook up: chicken Milanese with fettuccine and a chimichurri sauce.
Because that’s what he made on Master Chef Junior, a pint-sized take-off of the Fox network’s cooking competition.
Salviati was one of 24 children between the ages of 8 and 13 who made the premiere show … where half of them were eliminated.
Including Salviati. But it was fun while it lasted, and our Orange County representative got lots of airtime on Friday’s episode, which you can watch here.
The show grouped the kids into three sets of eight, and each group had its own particular challenge. Salviati’s was second up, and Restaurateur Joe Bastianich revealed the secret ingredient that had to be the star of the dish they had 60 minutes to prepare: pasta.
It turns out, the junior edition of the show is a lot like the adult version (minus the intra-cheftestant fighting) in terms of its foodie demands. The kitchen and pantry are unaltered. Children leap to reach items off the tall shelves, struggle to carry mixers to their stations and stand on step stools to reach the counter- and stovetops.
As the kids scrambled, Chef Gordon Ramsay called the challenge “a bit over the top.”
Chef Graham Elliott agreed. “How many 10-year-olds rock out fresh pasta in an hour with a sauce? … That’s hardcore.”
Then Ramsay asked Salviati what he was making.
“Are you insane?” responded the often salty Brit.
Later, Elliott did the on-air judging.
“The flavor is great. The technique is spot on. The only thing I would do different is cook the pasta a little less,” he said.
It was enough to cost Salviati his place on the show, although unlike the adult version, he got to keep his apron.Here’s a Patch Q & A with Salviati:
PATCH: When did you know you loved cooking?
NOAH: I knew I loved cooking when my aunt would come to visit. She is an amazing chef, and when she would visit we always cooked together. I enjoyed it so much, I wanted to learn to cook without my aunt having to be with me.
PATCH: What were some of the more simple dishes you started making?
NOAH: I think homemade pasta is a simple dish. It can sound hard to people who have never done it, but it is simple. The hard part for me is cooking it!
PATCH: What do you love most to cook today?
NOAH: My favorite thing to make today would have to be homemade fettuccini, turkey Milanese, with a side of chimichurri.
PATCH: Who's had the most influence on your cooking?
NOAH: The greatest influences for me are my grandma and aunt. My grandma taught me eggs when I was really young, and I just loved cooking the simple things with her. My aunt was the person who gave me my passion for cooking. We always cooked together when she came down [from Kenmore, Wash.], and it was a lot of fun. Eventually when I figured out I wanted to cook, I took cooking classes at TSpoons [Cooking School in San Juan Capistrano]. Chef T became somewhat of a mentor, and taught me SO MUCH. Without her I would have never made it on the show, and I want to thank her for that. Also, there is Luca from Masterchef. I was rooting for him from the start, and gosh his accent is cool! His food really inspired me, and I would love to learn more about Italian cuisine from him!
PATCH: What kind of dishes were you hoping to make on the show?
NOAH: On the show, I was hoping to do some baking on the show. I would have enjoyed making the dulce de leche cake my Aunt had created.
PATCH: What did you think of the judges?
NOAH: I loved the judges. Everyone says how mean they are, but they are really nice! I know I undercooked my Milanese on the show, but Chef Ramsay pretended it was perfectly cooked. They are nothing like you see on television.
PATCH: What did you think of the experience?
NOAH: The experience was amazing. I have loved cooking for a while, but only started becoming more advanced a year before the show. Suddenly I was on national television! That is pretty amazing to me. Though I didn't make it far, I am proud of myself. Thousands of kids auditioned, and I was one of 24 who made it on. It was really cool to see how the show was actually filmed. It took a week to film ONE episode! It was an experience I wouldn't trade. I am going to audition next year, and hopefully make into the actual competition!
Master Chef Junior airs Friday nights at 8 on
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