Meet Donovan, MasterChef Junior

Donovan Milstein, MasterChef JuniorWho or what was your inspiration to start cooking?

I always loved watching my father and my nanny cooking in the kitchen. I’ve also been watching cooking shows (like MCJ) and other cooking videos since I can remember.

At what age did you start cooking?  What was your initial experience like?

I started cooking when I was around 3 years old. In the beginning I just helped prep, but over time I started to take on more on more of the responsibilities for preparing and cooking meals for my entire family.

Why did you want to be on MasterChef Junior?

I wanted to prove to the world that I had what it took to be a masterchef. And, I thought it would be really fun!

What did you most enjoy about being on the show?

I loved everything about the show, especially all of the friends I made. It was also incredible to cook in the Masterchef kitchen.

What is it like cooking for Gordon Ramsay?  What was the best advice he gave you?

It’s really stressful, because he’s very serious and you always feel like he’s judging you – which he is

Donovan Milstein, MasterChef JuniorWere there any catastrophes in the kitchen?

There were definitely a few… but the craziest one was when I went to the pantry to get vegetables for a challenge. And when I was starting to prep them I realized I had taken plastic red peppers instead of real ones…

What’s your favorite dish to prepare?

Steamed Chilean Sea Bass with wild mushrooms, ginger and green onions.

Where do the ideas for your dishes come from?

We are always exploring new and interesting restaurants in NYC, trying all sorts of new cuisines, dishes and flavors. Then I come home and do my own experimenting. Last year I ate some amazing Chinese food from Sichuan province, and I became obsessed with making dishes with Sichuan peppercorns.

What is your plan after the show?

I plan to continue to learn as much as I can about cooking. I want to push myself to try new areas of cooking, like pastry and candy making.

Do you want to someday own your own restaurant and if so, what kind of food would you serve?

I would love to have my own restaurant. I want to serve all different types of authentic Asian food, including a lot of spicy dishes.

Donovan Milstein, MasterChef JuniorWhat will you do with the money if you win?

I will save the money to invest it in building my restaurant when I’m older.

What chef do you most want to cook with and why?

Tough question. But I guess I would say my top pick would be David Chang. He’s not only an amazing chef, with a lot of awesome restaurants (and cookbooks), but he also seems like a really cool guy!

Besides cooking, what other things do you like to do?

I like hanging out with my friends, reading and playing video games. I’m also growing a lot of chili peppers in my backyard – even some ghost peppers!

Who was your favorite guest judge?

Definitely Wolfgang Puck – He was so amazing, and spent so much time hanging out with us.

Which challenge was the hardest and how did you overcome it?

Is this a trick question? Of course I can not comment on specifics of any episode