Local boy wins ‘Masterchef Junior’

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SAN DIEGO – Nathan Odom, 12, of North Park is the winner of Masterchef Junior season 3 and a prize of $100,000.

Odom competed against 11-year-old Andrew Zappley of West Deptford, New Jersey in the finale Tuesday night.

Each contestant had to prepare a three-course meal for the judges in 90 minutes.

For the appetizer, Odom roasted fennel gratin and French ham with a side of shaved fennel and grapefruit salad.

He said the trickiest part was making sure the gratin did not burn and the salad did not break down due to the acid in it.

For the entrée, the young chef made a herb crusted lamp chop with faya beans and white asparagus puree.

Chef Gordon Ramsay praised the dish, saying “…visually it is absolutely stunning and absolutely delicious.”

For the last round of the competition, Odom created an Earl Grey tea tart with Meyer lemon and blood orange coulis.

The judges loved the dessert and said, “…while it shouldn’t have worked, it did and was delicious.”

“I think it’s sophisticated, it’s balanced, to finish it with blood orange, some Earl Grey tea shows that cohesiveness of your menu. Very, very smart preparation,” said Chef Graham Elliot.

Odom said he is very excited about the win.

“This is insane. I really can’t think of any other words for it. It’s like the coolest moment of my life,” said Odom. “I am so excited to bring this trophy back to San Diego because this is going to help me make my dreams come true. This is going to help me go to culinary school, it’s going to help me open my own restaurant.”

Odom has been cooking since he was six-years-old.

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