MASTERCHEF JUNIOR’s Samuel Stromberg is willing to taste just about anything — except fresh-from-the-womb seafood.
“I have eaten some pretty eccentric foods: Rambutan, Durian, a lot of really specialty items,” he says.
“I will put anything in my mouth as long as it is fresh and it looks interesting.”
Even blowfish, which can often be deadly if not prepared just right!
“It depends how you cook it,” he tells me. “I read somewhere that there are certain parts of it that are not poison. So I would eat that.”
“But I won’t eat balut — which is an unborn duck fetus. It is a delicacy in Asia because you get to eat an egg with an unborn animal inside of it.”
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Yuk! Can’t really blame the kid…
Still, with his diverse palate and uber-confident personality, Samuel is considered by many to be the kid to beat on season two of the Fox cooking competition.
“If I win MASTERCHEF, it would be so great, because I would use all of the money to go to college, to pay for culinary equipment. I would want to put the money — if I won — towards something that would really count in my life.”
Like a restaurant, he says, called Le Samuel.
The 7th grader from Greenbrae, California had lots more to share when we sat down in West Hollywood for one of his very first interviews…
So tell me about yourself…
I am from north of San Francisco, in Marin County. I am in 7th grade. Life is very exciting for me at this age. I am discovering a lot of new things, a lot of new flavors. The whole experience of doing this (show) has just been great.
How did you end up on this show?
I saw the first season and I got real excited. I thought to myself as I was watching, “I could do that and I could probably do it better. So then in January we saw there were auditions in Los Angeles. We drove down in the middle of the night and we just kept getting called and called and everything started to progress. Then all of a sudden you are on the show. From start to finish it is just so awesome.
What do your friends think about you being on TV?
They are all rooting for me. They all think I can cook really well. I definitely don’t think it will be too much of them wanting to be my friend just because of this. They definitely think a little more highly of what I do now. But it is definitely good to have friends who support you and that are not just interested in you because you are on the show.
What is your signature dish?
I have a couple of favorites. There is a real crowd pleaser: Sous-Vide Steak with Sun Choked Puree and Mustard Gnocchi
I can’t even spell that! How does someone your age learn that much about food?
A couple of years ago, I started to watch food television. I watched MASTERCHEF and Food Channel and I started to get real interested in it. So I would read cook books and go online and look up recipes. I made a lot of mistakes, but over time I built up my knowledge and after that all I had to do was translate that into real life.
Kids as a rule are picky eaters. How did you get to be daring enough to try all these new foods?
The older you get and the more food you eat, the bigger your palate gets. The thing with some kids being really picky eaters is that either A) they really don’t like it or B) They haven’t tried it in a way that tastes good. I know some parents that cook their chicken, their beef and their vegetables to death. And no surprise, their kids are picky eaters. But with time and properly made food you can really build up your palate.
What won’t you eat?
There are very few things I will not eat. Unfresh seafood is one of them. I don’t really not like to eat anything. I will put anything in my mouth as long as it is fresh and it looks interesting. I won’t eat balut — which is an unborn duck fetus. It is a delicacy in Asia because you get to eat an egg with an unborn animal inside of it.
What about blowfish?
Blowfish? It depends how you cook it. I read somewhere that there are certain parts of it that are not poison. So I would eat that. The fear factor… sometimes I will get pushed into it. I have eaten some pretty eccentric foods: Rambutan, Durian, a lot of really specialty items.
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