Top Impressions Chopped Junior Contestants Left on the Judges

As junior contestants chopped, sauteed and mixed their basket ingredients together, the judges observed in awe over their advanced level of skill and technique.

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

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Photo By: Susan Magnano

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

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Photo By: Susan Magnano

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Susan Magnano

Photo By: Susan Magnano

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Susan Magnano

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Photo By: Susan Magnano

Photo By: Susan Magnano

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Susan Magnano

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Susan Magnano

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Susan Magnano

Photo By: Susan Magnano

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Susan Magnano

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: ADECARLOPHOTOBLOG.COM ©DECARLOPHOTOBLOG.COM

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jason DeCrow ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Ahead of Their Time — Marc Murphy

"The most-impressive thing about seeing these kids in action is their actual skills and the knowledge that they have. I didn't know that kids this age knew this much about food."

Camera Ready — Raquel Pelzel

"Cooking on camera is so difficult. Cooking with all these people watching you, first of all — all these kids are so composed and polite and organized, and none of them have lost their cool."

Strength Under Pressure — Jake Smollett

"What impresses me most about the kids is that they're able to work under pressure. It's hard for adults to work under pressure, let alone a kid."

Calm and Collected — Sandra Lee

"I was really taken aback by how incredible all the young chefs were today. They are accomplished; they are thoughtful, very engaged and focused, not emotional. They don't get ruffled — always calm. And I just think that sometimes they do better than adults do in the kitchen."

Better Than Seasoned Acts — Alan Thicke

"I am impressed that they are so calm and composed on television, when they're laying against the clock and being scrutinized and judged the way they are, and where they're improvising essentially. Combine all of those and a lot of seasoned television performers wouldn't be able to cut it."

Team Work Makes the Dream Work — Meghan Markle

"I'm so impressed with ... how kind they are with each other. They're so supportive. It's like they've created this own little club between the four of them, which is really nice to see, and also just the level of ingenuity."

A Few Smart Cookies — Andrew Gruel

“I think what impresses me the most about seeing these kid competitors is their level of knowledge. It’s almost beyond culinary school. Some of the things that they’re saying, I have to check myself and reference if I even know where they figured that out.”

Blossoming Before Our Eyes — Iliza Shlesinger

"You can see the buds of professionalism in trying to make a sauce, in trying to add olive oil, in trying to put together all the components that make something look professional, and it’s just so endearing."

It's a Family Affair — DeMarcus Ware

"A lot of the kids have a reason why they do things, and a lot of it starts with family. ... It's sort of the same thing in my sport, playing football. A lot of the other players do certain things or play the sport either to help their family out or to quiet their critics, but it's usually for something bigger than themselves, and it's just great to see the kids doing that."

Standing Under the Pressure of the Chopping Block — Mae Whitman

"They're using such complicated techniques and doing it under time pressure. I just don't know how they do it. I'm just happy to be sitting behind the chopping block and not [standing] in front of it."

The Ambitious Little Chefs — Kenny Gilbert

"You know, what really impresses me about these kids is that they had the courage to even just apply to be on Chopped Junior. I mean, I tell you what, just to compete at a very high level as an adult, I couldn't imagine competing as a 12- or 13-year-old."

Creativity at Its Finest — Justine "iJustine" Ezarik

"They’ve managed to create these amazing dishes out of some obscure ingredients, which if I had to do that, I really don’t think I could do it.”

The Math Wizards — Chelsea Peretti

"I think that there is a lot of, kind of mathematics involved to cooking, timing things correctly and knowing what temperature, you know so that's what I'm kind of astounded that these kids know anything about that stuff, because they're still learning actual math."

Handling Food Like a Pro — Luke Thomas

"The techniques that they're using, you know, the sauteing, there's chargrilling, there's blending — it's insane how much knowledge these kids actually have at such a young age. It's just, like, it's so inspiring."

A Visionary Perspective — Brandi Milloy

"You can really see the vision and the process as soon as they open the basket. I mean, it's really incredible. I mean, at that age I was barely heating up a microwave dish."

Cooking with an Attitude — Tiffany Derry

"They cook with so much pizzazz, you know. They're sure of who they are; they taste [and] they love. You can really see their heart and their personalities through their food."

Enthusiastically Living Life — Aarón Sánchez

"I think, you know, anytime you see young people being creative, or applying themselves, especially in a competition, whether it's in sports, you know, academics, or in this case the Chopped kitchen, it's really beautiful to see how prepared, how enthusiastic and how resilient they are."

A Faceoff with Intimidation — Alison Roman

"Just the sheer ability to get up there and stand in front of the judges like that is intimidating for any human, much less an 11-year-old. So, I think that that is something that is crazy-admirable to even come all this way to do this."

Shine Bright Like a Star — Angelo Sosa

"The dishes that they're putting up are dishes that chefs my age are relatively cooking, so I'm just beyond impressed with what these kids are going to be cooking in 10 years — five years — from now."

Kids from the Modern Age — Katie Lee

"These young competitors have such a vast understanding of culinary arts that, you know, when I was their age, kids didn't talk about food like that, and they didn't know the things that these kids know. I'm super impressed by them."

Never Let Them See You Sweat — Jason Varitek

"They're faced with a big kitchen, newer [and] upgraded utensils, and no matter where it's gone in the process, each one of them has been very calm and stayed pretty poised throughout the challenge."

They’re Pretty Amazing — Cheryl Hines

"I'm really impressed with the competitors here because they're so young and yet they clearly are very smart and they really can keep it together. It seems like a high-pressure situation. People are watching you, cameras on you, the clock is ticking, and they're still keeping it together and thinking what they're going to do next, and then on top of that, to stand there and take criticism, eye to eye, face to face. They're pretty amazing."

Lightyears Ahead of Time — Dale Talde

"I think what impresses me most is just the level at which they can cook at, to be honest with you. It’s like, lightyears ahead of where I was at 10. They're just very knowledgeable. If you were to give me quinoa, even now, I’d have a hard time."

It's All in the Execution — Ta'Rhonda Jones

"I've never seen kids at their age so into cooking, or into stuff like what grownups do. And it's fascinating at the age of 9. I was still trying to figure out what color gummy bears I wanted to eat or what was I going to get my new bike or stuff like that — not cooking in the kitchen."

They Carry Themselves Eloquently — Sabin Lomac

"These young chefs are just so talented; I couldn't imagine being at their age and having the vision and the courage really to step into the Chopped kitchen and perform at that high level. They're eloquent, they're fun and they're extremely talented."

Methodical Thinkers — Jamika Pessoa

“When I look at these young competitors, I think about myself and how I was so not put together as they are. They seem very organized. They’ve very methodical about how they’re doing their process. Kudos to them. I wish I was that [put] together right now in life.”

Ambitious at Any Age — Danica Patrick

"I feel like it's most impressive to hear just how much cooking they've done, and when some people say that they have taken cooking classes, I just think that's really impressive to do pretty much before you're a teenager, to even have that kind of idea or dream or ambition. What kind of kid wants to go to more school? So, it's impressive to me just how much practice they've had."

Laser Focus — Laura Vitale

"What impresses me most is that none of them seem to have any fears. They seem to be really wise beyond their years and with so much confidence, which I can't say I was the same at their age, but that's what's really impressive — and that they're all very, very focused. And they trust their instincts, which I think is amazing for any chef, but when you're 11, I think that's pretty incredible."

Age Is Nothing but a Number— James Maslow

"I started singing at about 6, but a lot of these chefs started cooking at 6 or even younger, and it's just — to see someone else in their field have that type of tenacity, start something and continue, especially at that age, for years and years and still be in love with it, that's definitely impressive."

Already Incredible Cooks — Rachel Hollis

"They're better cooks than I am. I am not just saying that. I am so impressed with the skill level, the knife skill level. They truly are chefs regardless of their age. I'm a home-taught cook, so I know how to make fried chicken or a casserole, but I couldn't have done what they've done."

Friends Not Foes — Maia Mitchell

"They're making friends and they're connecting and they're, you know, egging each other on and cheering each other on while in competition with each other, and that's been really cool and really heartwarming."

Confidence Is Key — Lazarus Lynch

"They're so confident in their decisions. ... They know exactly what they're doing, and they're deliberate about it. They don't apologize for it."

All-Around Great Competitors — Siri Daly

"What impresses me most about these kids, and that's what they are, they're just kids, is nobody seems flustered, they all have this great pace, this great attitude. ... "They all have each other's backs, which, you know, you don't always see with adults. It's really inspirational."

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