In each episode, we learn more about the juniors and their past – where they’ve travelled, their hobbies, what they love and what they aspire to be. And while they all have wonderful stories, there are two contestants who have had a very difficult past and are truly a massive inspiration.
These kids on Junior Masterchef warm my heart - they are gorgeous. Kids are great ♥️ #JuniorMasterchefAu— Fairls (@fairls) October 12, 2020
Firstly, there’s Vienna. She’s only thirteen years old, but to say she’s experienced a lot in her youth is an understatement. At the age of 11, she was diagnosed with Lymphoma. Her brother, only nine years old at the time, was her saving grace.
“I had to have a bone marrow transplant and I needed a donor, and my brother was a 12/12 match. He just did it, he was really brave, he saved my life and I really love him.”
Some may say that it’s during the darkest times that you find yourself and your deepest passions, and for Vienna, that’s proven to be true.
I’ve always had an interest in food, but when I was in isolation at home for an extended period of time, I was literally baking something every single day.
During her interview with The Project, she told the team she believes that it was the courage she got from having an illness that helped her apply for Junior MasterChef.
“I think anyone who’s gone through a hardship or an illness like I have can probably agree that it really helped me discover my passion and I think the courage that it took to go through also helped me apply for Junior MasterChef in the first place, which I’m really glad I did.”
There’s something important we can all learn from Vienna – that no matter how hard times are, you can come out stronger on the other side.
“I’d really like to win it, just to show people that you really can do anything.”
14-year-old Tiffany is another contestant with a heart-breaking backstory. She’s been cooking for as long as she can remember and, like Vienna, her dream formed after her life turned upside down.
At the age of three, she was diagnosed with Juvenile Systemic Arthritis and “with that comes 40-degree fevers on a non-stop cycle with excruciating pain.”
She was in remission for seven years, but unfortunately, the illness returned in 2018.
Poor Tiffany 😢 #JuniorMasterchefAu— (((Jen Dowling 🌏))) (@jendowli) October 12, 2020
Since then, she has been trying to get back into remission, stating “I’m on the mend at the moment and it's actually through a diet that I’m on.”
She’s been on a variety of specialised diets, including paleo, carnivore and vegan. Experiencing various strict food diets is what inspired her dream, made her cook more frequently and encouraged her to apply for Junior MasterChef.
“When I am older, I’d love to have a restaurant that caters to all. If people were to come in and say I’m vegan, or I’m carnivore, they would get a special menu made just for them.”
Her dream of opening an inclusive restaurant is one that we’re here for, and knowing that a dream like that has come from a fourteen-year-old gives us a lot of hope for the future generation.
“I’ve had many challenges in my lifetime so far, and Junior MasterChef is just the next one.”
We can’t wait to see more of their talents!