CBBC’s Junior Masterchef 2014 – Winner Revealed

Kent College student, Phoebe (12), has been crowned winner of Junior MasterChef 2014, it was announced today.

After a gripping two weeks, CBBC’s search for this year’s Junior MasterChef champion culminated in an exciting final show when Phoebe was awarded her trophy by judges top chef John Torode and food blogger and TV cook Donal Skehan.

Phoebe said: “Awesome! This is one of the happiest days of my life, I’m really excited, and proud. I’m really happy!

John Torode said: “Every so often you find a cook who’s got the magic in their fingers – and Phoebe’s got it. Phoebe walked in this kitchen and impressed us straight away. She works hard and is always happy, and her food shows it. That girl is going to go a long way!

Donal Skehan added: “Phoebe is a true home cook, one that has learned the lessons from her nonna, with food handed down through the family – I love that! Her food is gutsy and bold, and her consistently strong cooking throughout the competition makes her a true champion.

Phoebe battled her way from 24 contestants through to the final four and throughout the Semis and Final week, and alongside other finalists Amelie (10), Barney (10) and Mya (9), had to demonstrate her passion, skill and determination as the four undertook seriously exciting challenges.

These included: cooking a sumptuous two-course lunch for the penguin keepers at London Zoo using basic outside kitchens and with only barbeques, sports day in MasterChef HQ with a skills circuit test and cooking in relay teams for special surprise guest judge Beth Tweddle and the infamous Critic’s Table, when they cooked their very best dessert for restaurant critics William Sitwell, Tracey Macleod and Charles Campion.

The final task was to prepare their most delicious favourite three-course menu, in just two hours, for the judges. Phoebe’s wowing winning menu consisted of a starter of Courgette Soup served with Courgette Flower Fritters, a main of Brasioli – Braising Steak stuffed with butter, garlic and pancetta, cooked in tomato sauce and served with tagliatelle, and a Coffee and Chocolate Mousse topped with Cream, and Hazelnut Biscotti.

Phoebe started cooking properly when she was five years old. She explains: “I would watch my mum and grandma cook in the kitchen and they would let me help – when I cooked with my mum I would have to stand on a little box because I could not reach the counter surface.

“The first thing I cooked was fairy cakes, although I was usually allowed to help roll out meat balls and stir big pots of sauce.”

She now cooks regularly at home: “My signature dish has to be the dish I made in my heat – Fillet of sea bass with fondant potatoes and peas and samphire with parsley chilli dressing.”

But what does Phoebe like to eat? “My favourite foods would be Italian food like pizza and pasta, but I also like Japanese food and I love Oreo milk shakes!

Right from the start of the series, Phoebe impressed with her passion and ability to cook great classic food from scratch, but says her best moment was when her name was announced as champion: “My favourite bit was definitely winning! I thought I was dreaming when they said my name. When I was announced as Junior MasterChef champion it felt amazing and exciting it made me feel that I can actually be a chef when I am older. It’s so cool to be told by professional chefs that they love what I cook.”

On her MasterChef journey Phoebe said: “The most useful thing I learnt on Junior MasterChef was not to over complicate things, and to like what you are making, and most of all put a lot of love and passion into it.

“Cooking for John and Donal was a great privilege but quite scary as I just wanted them to enjoy what I made!”

On plans for the future, Phoebe said: “When I grow up I would like to be a professional chef and have my own Michelin star restaurant, or be a head pastry chef of a famous hotel.

“What I love most about cooking is how it can bring everyone together, I like experimenting with flavours and I like sticking to the simple things because I think it is a great skill to be able to do simple dishes and techniques done perfectly. When you give people amazing food and see the smile on their face, it makes me feel so happy.”

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