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Taiwanese American wins 8th season of MasterChef Junior

Liya Chu relied on family recipes to wow competition judges

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MasterChef Junior winner Liya Chu. (Fox Media photo)

MasterChef Junior winner Liya Chu. (Fox Media photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwanese American Liya Chu has won the eighth season of the MasterChef Junior cooking competition after wowing judges Gordon Ramsay, Daphne Oz, and Aaron Sanchez with tried-and-true family recipes.

In the semifinals, Liya whipped up a dumpling dish she had learned from her mother, Parade reported. “I wanted to show that cooking isn’t just making food, it’s actually creativity, a break from life,” Chu, who hails from Scarsdale, New York, said.

She explained: “My mom learned from her mom and her mom learned from her mom. So, it was something that I wanted to show everyone, our bonding, and our family time together, and what has become of what I’ve learned.”

The then-10-year-old (the season was filmed three years ago) prepared pan-roasted duck breast with scallion pancake, charred long beans, miso eggplant, and red miso demi-glace for the season finale entree. To end with a bang, she made coconut and pandan panna cotta, tapioca, passion fruit coulis, and mango heart for dessert.

Going back to her Taiwanese roots paid off, as Chu, who is now 13, was awarded the US$100,000 prize (NT$2.97 million), which she intends to spend on her college tuition once she finishes high school.

“It’s crazy that I won that,” she said. “I want to thank everybody for that because I couldn’t have done it just by myself.