This was no ordinary school night.

By Melissa Locker
December 09, 2019
Jake Arthur/Tuscaloosa News

Chopped Jr. has a new reigning champion—Tuscaloosa's own Fuller Goldsmith, who took the title of Chopped Junior Champion and the competition's $10,000 prize.

The seventh-grader created three dishes in a high-pressure environment, transforming mysterious and frequently clashing ingredients into delicious dishes to beat his competitors and impress the judges.

Goldsmith, 13, infused his Southern upbringing into his cooking from the start—he prepared a beer-battered catfish and okra with greens to make his way through the first round of the competition. His skills were so masterful, that he even transformed judge Zachary Quinto from an okra hater to an okra lover, a difficult feat for sure.

For the entrée, Goldsmith once again called on his Southern roots, coating chicken tenders in hush puppy batter (which we simply have to try) and pairing it with a cauliflower, potato, and pimiento cheese puree. His perfectly cooked chicken was more than enough to get Goldsmith to the next round of the competition. For dessert, Goldsmith crafted a New Orleans style treat with powdered sugar beignets served alongside walnut and raspberry ice cream puree.

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"I'm so pumped, I could run a million miles right now," Goldsmith said, according to the Tuscaloosa News. It was a crowning achievement for the boy who had fallen in love with the show while recovering from childhood leukemia. He is now in remission and finds cooking to be relaxing. "Every time I cook, I always feel great," he said on the show. "I was watching Chopped Junior when I was sick and now I'm here, living it out. It's a dream come true."

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