Standing before a line of television cameras, Berry Nakash ’20 cooked her favorite risotto for the judges of “MasterChef Junior.”
Nakash said she wasn’t planning on going onto “MasterChef Junior” but found out about the opportunity through a friend.
The auditions included identifying exotic foods, following judges’ specific cooking instructionsand copying specific cutting techniques. Although Nakash thought the auditions were easy, she said the callbacks were more difficult and required her to go to a hotel kitchen and create a dish in a 30 minute time limit.
Nakash said the most rewarding part of her experience on the show was the relationships she built following her participation. “I met so many people there that I’m still friends with now,” Nakash said. “The experience was just amazing and I learned a lot from it. I was only there for an episode but I managed to get so much out of it.”
After the show, Nakash started working for a catering company, which requires her to attend events and cook for guests during the summer and on weekends.
“Masterchef Junior has opened up a lot of opportunities for me,” Nakash said. “For example with the catering job, I don’t think I would have gotten it without being on MasterChef Junior. It shows that you have a level of expertise within that craft.”
She said she has cooked since before she can remember.
“My mom says I’ve been cooking since I was two,” Nakash said.
She finds most of her inspiration from her cultural background.
“I am half Chinese and half Israeli so most of the things that I make are middle eastern and I would say most of that is influenced by my grandparents,” Nakash said.
When Nakash travels to Israel, she typically studies the spices used in traditional dishes and added them to her own recipes.She said her recipes are never taken straight from a book but instead developed by trial and error.
“There was one week when I was testing cake recipes and I had a cake every single day,” Nakash said.
Since coming to Harvard Westlake in ninth grade, she has had to find time outside of school to pursue her passion.
“I feel like I have less time to do cooking because of the amount of work that is required here but I still feel like I am able to cook fairly often and still be creative within that time,” Nakash said.
In the future, Nakash hopes to study management and have a large franchise based off her name. She also wants to own a smaller restaurant where she can pursue her creativity and use high quality ingredients.