Mackenzie Patten: MasterChef Junior with Gordon Ramsay
Mackenzie Patten was only four years old when she first showed an interest in cooking. “One day my dad was cooking, and it looked really fun to do. I really wanted to try it, and he said that I could cook with him. And it was really fun.” Five years later, the now 11-year-old Santa Clarita resident competed on the sixth season of the Fox hit “MasterChef Junior” alongside forty other young contestants for the coveted grand prize of $100,000 and the MasterChef Junior trophy. Hosted by award winning chef Gordon Ramsay, the show gives talented kids between the ages of 8 and 13 the chance to show off their culinary chops through a variety of challenges including a Blue Apron mystery box challenge and the pop-up restaurant challenge.
Mackenzie never expected to be on any show, let alone a cooking competition where she made it to the top 18. “I felt really excited but nervous at the same time. At the time, I wasn’t a pro at cooking. I felt like I was medium good at cooking. But then after I was on the show, I got to grow.” Mackenzie has taken the experience in stride, using it to learn more about cooking and improve her already impressive skills as a chef. “It’s taught me how to cook things better. It taught me how to make different things, how to use different ingredients and materials. I had no clue what Worcestershire was. I used it, and it’s really cool and smells like vinegar.”
With her entire 5th grade class at Wiley Canyon Elementary rooting her on, as well as family and friends, Mackenzie has a strong support system back at home. But no one could be prouder of her accomplishments than her parents. Mackenzie’s mother, Elaine Patten, gushes over her daughter’s fearless approach to life. “She has her mind set on something, and she goes after it. She loves challenges. She’s not afraid to do anything, try anything. Her dad and I are very proud of her.”
Mackenzie has a clear goal in mind for what her next steps will be after MasterChef Junior.
“I want to open up my own restaurant for kids. I want to make different foods that I think kids will like. And I would also be able to feed the homeless. Whenever we drive by a homeless person, I feel really bad. They have no shelter and they’re just begging for food. I want to help them.”
Beyond having the culinary skills of a seasoned professional and a generous spirit to match, Mackenzie embodies the traits it takes to be successful. She has a lifetime ahead of her to grow and learn, but there’s one important thing she already has figured out, “Never give up on your dreams. And if you don’t get something you really want, just keep trying and trying. Never give up.”
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