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MasterChef Junior season 8 finale exclusive clip and interview with current MasterChef: Back to Win contestant, Dara Yu

Chefs, get your aprons ready, the MasterChef Junior season 8 finale is tonight, June 23. Ahead of the big finale, we have an exclusive clip to share with you, as well as a fun interview with former MasterChef Junior season 1 contestant and current contestant on MasterChef: Back to Win. 

No other cooking show will make you feel like you know nothing about cooking quite like MasterChef Junior. In tonight’s finale, we’ll see the finalist using Nitrogen to prepare their meal. Now, don’t ask me what that’s all about, I couldn’t tell you! Let’s leave it to the young experts and find out during the finale. But, if you want a sneak peek, here’s Grayson fearlessly preparing one of his final dishes on MasterChef Junior. 

MasterChef Junior season 8 finale exclusive clip

Interview with current MasterChef: Back to Win contestant, Dara Yu

Hidden Remote was lucky enough to catch up with Dara Yu ahead of the Junior finale. Dara is currently still a contestant on MasterChef: Back to Winbut it’s not her first time being on the stage. Many MasterChef fans remember Dara from the very first season of MasterChef Junior. 

In the interview below, Dara shares what has changed since her time on Junior 

Hidden Remote: When did your parents realize that your passion for cooking was the real deal?  

Dara Yu: So we [my family and I] would eat out a lot and my parents, and when I was like 3-years-old, I somehow found out what escargot was and I would always ask for it. That’s when they knew I was going to be like a chef or work with food in some way.

Hidden Remote: You’re in the very, very first junior season. How has it changed from what you’ve seen since then? 

Dara Yu: Wow. I mean, so much has changed for engineers and master chefs. You know, my first season we started with like Top 24, and our season was only eight episodes. And now, I think the seasons are 20 episodes. There are a lot more challenges for the kids to go through. And because of that, the competition is different.

I was shocked with some of the stuff that I made on my season, but I now look at, you know, seasons 5, 6, 7, 8 and these kids are making dishes that I couldn’t even think of when I was on the show.

Hidden Remote: Are there any challenges from this season of MasterChef Junior that you’re sort of glad you didn’t have to do?

Dara Yu: Oh my gosh, I’m trying to think. What I’ve seen is actually kind of crazy, but I haven’t been able to watch every single episode of this current season. But like, the restaurant takeover at the hotel. [This challenge] put 8 and 10-year-olds into like a full commercial restaurant. In my season, we didn’t really do any of those challenges where, you know, you have to feed like 100 people. I think that would have been really difficult.

Hidden Remote: Yeah, I was wondering, the MasterChef challenges look so stressful and they move so fast. So dealing with it as a kid, what are some ways the filming crew helps young chefs manage it all?

Dara Yu: It’s definitely a stressful experience, but it’s funny, because when people ask me about it, I really only remember the fun times and just how much fun we all had with the crew and everyone on set. The kids are only allowed to be on set filming for three hours at a time. So every three hours, we have a break and someone from the crew would always be with us and we’d play games, do fun activities, we also did school work for three hours a day.

Hidden Remote: And ultimately, at the en of the day, you’re doing something you love! 

Dara Yu: Exactly!

Hidden Remote: Who would you love to cook for one day, and who would you love to cook for you? 

Daray Yu: This past week, I got to cook for one of my biggest idols, Thomas Keller. I was at an event in Napa Valley and I got to work in event and cook for Thomas Keller. So that was incredible, he is someone I’ve always looked up to throughout my whole career and since I was a kid. But now? I would love to cook for Michelle Obama. She’s been a huge inspiration to me, especially with with, you know, her involvement kids and food and nutrition.

And then who would I want? To cook for me? Massimo Bottura. I would absolutely love to dine out at his restaurant.

Hidden Remote: How did you find out that you had another chance to return to MasterChef? 

Dara Yu: It’s kind of a crazy story. I was planning on going to Cornell University for Hotel Administration for to their hotel school. And so I graduated on August 12 and was supposed to move into my dorm on August 20. And on August 15, I got an email. It was kind of like a cryptic email. It was just like, “you have an opportunity, please sign this NDA and we’d love to talk to you about it.” And I was like, that’s a little brief. But, you know, I’ll go ahead with it. And then I jumped on a phone call and was told that day that they were casting for Back to Win. And it happened so quick! I had to make that decision pretty quickly.

Don’t miss the MasterChef Junior season 8 finale. It kicks off at 8 p.m. ET and wraps at 10 p.m. ET (that’s right, a 2-hour finale) only on FOX.