10-Year-Old Elijah Zelaya Is Competing to Be Gordon Ramsay’s Next MasterChef


by Veracity Savant

December 7, 2023

His favorite is Haitian recipes!

10-year-old Elijah Zelaya credits his mom with igniting his passion for cooking, WTOP news reports. 

“She was on the stove a lot, teaching me new recipes. I became like mom’s little helper. If she needed a seasoning, pass it to her. Or if she needed me to watch the food while she would go get something. I would be, you know, the man,” Elijah recalls. 


By the time he was six, he began making dishes on his own. Over the years, the Maryland native has built a brand for himself, going by ChefElijah21 on Instagram, where he regularly shows off his skills. Elijah cooks everything from stir fry to empanadas and lamb chops, but his favorite thing to cook is the Haitian recipes he gets from his mom. 

Now Elijah is getting ready to air his skills on the big stage. The tiny chef is preparing to star in an episode of MasterChef Junior alongside Gordon Ramsay. 


“I was very excited, but also a little bit nervous. You know, because you’re meeting Gordon Ramsay. He’s like very famous,” Elijah told reporters. 

He’ll be appearing in a special edition of the hit show, “MasterChef Junior: Home for the Holidays,” where Elijah and the other young contestants cook up special holiday-themed items. Elijah said he had a great experience as one of the nine chefs and admits that Ramsay was quite the character. 

“[It was] like, very, very, like, surreal…Overall, it was a very fun experience. And Gordon Ramsay does have a few jokes up his sleeve,” said Elijah. 


While the show was great for exposure, this is just the beginning for the budding chef. Elijah is currently perfecting his shrimp curry recipe and hopes that he can inspire other young chefs looking to make a name for themselves. 

“Follow your heart. Don’t listen to anyone; [what] anyone says, block [it] out like the rest…Just do what you know and what you do best,” Elijah said. 


The “MasterChef Junior: Home for the Holidays” episode starring Elijah Zelaya is set to air Sunday, December 10th, and Monday, December 11th at 8 p.m. on FOX. 

Cover photo: 10-Year-Old Elijah Zelaya Is Competing to Be Gordon Ramsay’s Next MasterChef/Photo by MasterChef Junior/FOX/WTOP News

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