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'MasterChef Junior' contestant Kayla Mitchell cooks for Kidsday

Kidsday reporters Erin Wuestmann Connor McNeill, Sean Nolan,

Kidsday reporters Erin Wuestmann Connor McNeill, Sean Nolan, and William Dietz all from Bayport. They are with MasterJr Chef Kayla Mitchell (center) at her house in Center Moriches. They made chili fries together. Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

Do you recognize me? I am a contestant on Fox's TV show "MasterChef Junior," Season 3, and it has been a one-of-a-kind experience.

I live with my mom, dad, 8-year-old sister Lauryn, and my Havanese puppy, Jameson. My interest in cooking began when I was 7, and I was inspired by watching cooking shows on the Food Network. I started out with small, simple recipes and then went on to more complicated dishes. The first recipe I conquered alone was chocolate chip cookies. Since then I have moved on to more difficult dishes such as butter-poached lobster tails and beef bourguignon.

When the finale of "MasterChef Junior" Season 1 aired, they stated that there would be auditions for future seasons, and to go on the show's website. It was a perfect opportunity for me to give it a try.

With the help of my mom, I applied online, and after a couple of auditions I received a call saying, "Kayla has made it to 'MasterChef Junior' Season 3!"

I will never forget that night. It was around 10 p.m. on a Friday and I was at family game night in my community clubhouse with my friends and family. We all screamed and cried tears of joy.

Filming the show last spring was a great experience. I made so many new friends. We all supported one another and always wanted everyone to do well. I am in contact with almost all of the contestants still and we all hope to see one another again. I will never, ever forget them.

The judges were very nice to all of us. They have to make tough decisions, like on the first episode, but they were always sad when one of us went home; it wasn't acting. On the first episode of Season 3 and in the first and second seasons, you can see that they really do not want us to go home because we are all really very talented kids. A lot of people ask me if celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is nice, and guess what? He really is! I don't think people realize that Gordon has kids too and always knows how to cheer people up.

For everyone who has hopes of doing something when they grow up, my advice is ... GO FOR IT! Even if you are shy and hesitant, go for it! I went for what I wanted, I did my research, and I made it on the show. If you think about it, the worst that could happen is that you have to try again. You won't have any regrets. Just remember: Believe in your dreams and know that anything is possible.

Last week, I invited a few Kidsday reporters to my house and we made chili cheese fries. We thought it would be a great recipe, especially for kids who want to have some food to eat during the Super Bowl.

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