12-Year-Old Girl With Belarusian Roots Wins ‘Top Chef Junior’

Nikki Bidun was crowned the champion of American ‘Top Chef Junior’ reality show. The 12-year-old, whose mom is from Belarus, was food fighting twelve young chefs from across the country, New York Post reports.

Nikki credits her mom Olga, a real estate agent, and dad Michael who works in finance for introducing her to world cuisine and love to cooking.


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The prodigy got her start at culinary at about 2-3 years old, acting as her parents’ sous chef. After years of experiments, she kicked her parents out of the kitchen and started creating her own delights.

Read also: How French chef breathes life into Belarusian countryside

“I would say that I like cooking ‘New York Style’ because I cook everything from Belarusian to Japanese. I love Belarusian food – it’s in my roots.

The flavors are bold and smoky, but also, I got spoiled by NYC and love eating and cooking everything,” said the girl in an interview with the mincemaster in 2017.


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Nikki’s family occasionally travel to Belarus, where her babushka (a grandmother – note BelarusFeed) lives.

One of the videos at her dad’s YouTube channel shows the little girl cooking dumplings with her grandma. Obviously, the lessons didn’t go to waste!

A three-course meal of pork soup dumplings, short rib ragu with fettuccine and homemade ricotta, and lemon souffle brought Nikki a title of a champion and $50,000.

Read also: Not only draniki! 17 Belarusian foods you should definitely try

As for her big-money winnings, she has no plans to spend it right away. Instead, she plans to use them for culinary school lessons and eventually open a restaurant of her own.