Chopped Junior: Make Me a Judge — Meet the Competitors

In this new tournament, 12 kids cook for the chance to earn three spots as junior judges in the finale, where they'll get to pass judgment on four senior Chopped judges. Meet the hopefuls.

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Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Episode 1: Arjun

Inspired by watching Chopped, Arjun, 10, started cooking a few years ago, and he now posts original recipes and restaurant reviews on his blog. He loves creating fusion dishes, often combining up to three different cuisines in one dish. When he's not in the kitchen, Arjun likes to travel, and he spends a lot of time planning all the places where he's going to eat. He's also into music, sports and computer coding.

Episode 1: Nikki

Growing up in New York City has really influenced Nikki, 10, and her cooking style. In the beginning her mom taught her to cook Belarusian dishes, but the tables have turned, and now Nikki's parents act as her sous chefs. Nikki dreams of combining her love of architecture and food by designing and building her own restaurants. She also loves to travel, practice the cello, play sports and write.

Episode 1: Olivia

Like many kids, Olivia, 9, began playing with a toy kitchen, but as she got older, she starting cooking for real, and now she does it all on her own. She learns a lot from watching Food Network and gets lessons from her grandma. Olivia dreams of making it big in the culinary scene, hoping to one day open up a restaurant/bakery. In her spare time, she reads and writes, and she loves dancing and gymnastics.

Episode 1: Tyler

Both Tyler, 12, and his twin brother, Tristin, learned to cook from their parents. But the home cooking wasn't enough for Tyler, who prefers to cook burgers. During the week he and his brother compete to see who has the superior dish — and the two even have their own YouTube channel. When he's not cooking, Tyler loves to draw. He's also a big film buff, and he hopes to one day be an action star.

Episode 2: Jacob

Jacob, 13, comes from a family passionate about barbecue — they travel the country on the competition circuit, and Jacob did his first kids' competition at age 6. When he's not competing, Jacob enjoys cooking meals at home. Eventually he hopes to travel the world, discovering new cuisines, before settling down with a restaurant of his own. In his free time, Jacob plays soccer, video games and the guitar.

Episode 2: Kenzie

Ever since she got an apron, measuring cups and a whisk as a Christmas present at the age of 3, Kenzie, 11, has been interested in cooking. She loves to help with holiday meals, and she now cooks five days a week. She loves to express herself in the kitchen and at taekwondo. She plans to go to culinary school and open her own restaurant in New York City, and she hopes to one day achieve Michelin-star status.

Episode 2: Ryan

Ryan, 12, began cooking with his mom and grandpa, and he later attended cooking classes to hone his skills. He attributes his love of cooking to his mom's side of the family, but he says he gets his flavor profiles from his dad's Puerto Rican side, and he loves blending American and Hispanic flavors. Ryan's into science, and he hopes to one day become a neuro oncologist. He also excels both in the classroom and in sports.

Episode 2: Sophie

From a young age, Sophie, 11, learned to cook Portuguese food from her mom, grandma and aunt. Sophie soon started experimenting and loved how fun cooking could be, so she continued to develop her skills by watching Food Network and taking classes. One day she hopes to become a chef and run a restaurant focused on healthy eating. When she's not in the kitchen, Sophie likes to run track and make movies with her sister.

Episode 3: Joshy

Originally from England, Joshy, 12, moved to northern California when he was 8 years old. He learned to cook Italian food from his father and his grandmother, and he's even mastered cookies, biscuits and cakes. Despite being a bit of a control freak in the kitchen, Joshy likes to cook with his friends. He dreams of becoming both a chef of a Michelin-starred restaurant and a soccer player, even though that sounds like a crazy combination.

Episode 3: Kiara

Kiara, 12, first started to show interest in cooking during a Thanksgiving a few years ago. She considers herself a Chopped fanatic, learning much of what she knows from Food Network, as well as from her mom. She's inspired by the dishes of Haiti, putting her own creative spin on them. Kiara considers herself very competitive and confident, not afraid to go after what she wants. In her free time, she loves to sing and dance.

Episode 3: Matthew

Matthew, 12, names his grandma and YouTube as his cooking teachers. He originally started baking, and he was most recently a runner-up on Kids Baking Championship, Season 2. He loves to cook classic dishes with a modern twist and has his own YouTube channel. He dreams of owning a successful chain of themed restaurants. When he's not in the kitchen, Matthew enjoys playing sports and musical instruments.

Episode 3: Sophia

When Sophia, 13, was 3 years old, she began cooking Portuguese dishes with her dad, and it eventually became her new passion. She takes cooking classes online and has even written a cookbook for a school project. A recent diagnosis of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) has prevented her from doing a lot of things, but cooking has been her creative outlet. She is currently taking college courses in computer science, and she hopes to become a website developer.

More Chopped Junior

See top moments from the tournament, go behind the scenes of the set, and hear more from the judges and Ted.

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Chopped Junior