Master Chef Jr. contestant, Malia Brauer, 12, decorates chocolate raspberry cupcakes at her home in Newhall on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

Young cook finishes as top three finalist on ‘MasterChef Junior’

Malia Brauer is no ordinary 12-year-old — she’s been cooking since she was 4 years old, and this year, was chosen to compete on “MasterChef Junior” season seven.

The Signal last caught up with the Newhall resident in February as the show was just beginning.

Now as the season comes to a close, Brauer was not only able to make one of her dreams come true, but was also able to make it to the finals of the competition. And though she wasn’t crowned the winner, she said she has no regrets.

Malia Brauer, 12, competing in the season seven finale of “MasterChef Junior” that aired Tuesday, June 4 on FOX. Courtesy of Greg Gayne/FOX

“It feels like a dream come true,” she said. “I never thought I’d make it to the finals, and I’m very proud of myself for trying. It felt amazing just to make it to the finale.”

Overall, Brauer said the show was a great experience, and way better than she expected.

“I feel like it was a roller coaster of emotions,” she said. “I really enjoyed it, and did everything I could.”

Master Chef Jr. contestant, Malia Brauer, 12, flips through her recipe book at her home in Newhall on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

One of her favorite parts of the competition was how close she got with her fellow contestants.

“I made some great friendships and had great fun that I will keep forever,” Brauer said. “I’m super happy for Che (Spiotta), he worked so hard and he deserves it.”

Earlier this week, Brauer and her friends got together for a viewing party to watch the finale. The next day, she told everyone to wear bandanas to school, which is her signature hair accessory that is not only stylish, but also keeps her hair out of her face while she cooks.

Master Chef Jr. contestant, Malia Brauer, 12, samples her pesto sauce in Newhall on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

And regardless of the outcome, Brauer said she’s proud of herself.

“I’m very happy because it’s kind of like I got the whole ‘MasterChef’ experience,” she said. “I was in all the challenges and I got to do a lot of cooking, so it’s like I got the whole package.”  

Brauer said she plans to continue cooking after the show and someday hopes to compete in the adult version of “MasterChef” or even “MasterChef All Stars.”

Master Chef Jr. contestant, Malia Brauer, 12, prepares pesto salmon wrapped in phyllo dough at her home in Newhall on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

“I love to create and experiment with putting different things (in a recipe),” she said. “It’s a good way to express yourself sometimes.”

Her favorite things to cook? Pesto salmon wrapped in phyllo dough, spicy tuna cut rolls and cupcakes — lots and lots of cupcakes.

Brauer’s goal? To one day cater for weddings.

“I might not be invited to the wedding, but I can still enjoy the fun,” she said.

Master Chef Jr. contestant, Malia Brauer, 12, decorates chocolate raspberry cupcakes at her home in Newhall on Wednesday. Dan Watson/The Signal

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