The culinary prodigy tells about his initiation into cooking at age 2, his love for rugby and rowing (besides cooking, that is), his devotion to The Kids Cancer Project and his goal of going through university.
I had the pleasure of interviewing the lovely Jack Kibble, 13, the runner-up of the hugely popular cooking reality show Junior MasterChef Australia (season 2). Jack is here to share his great advice for young cook wannabes in addition to some other anecdotes about himself. (Jack the Junior MasteChef strikes a seriously handsome pose.)
Boys go to school, study, play with mates, do sports and get dirty on the playground. Jack is no exception. But it is cooking that thrust him into the global limelight. Jack does not cook his age, he cooks like a professional celebrity chef, notwithstanding his young age. (Jack is flanked by the MasterChef Judges, George and Gary.) (This is Jack, a big neighborhood boy. But he rules when it comes to cooking. )
Jack started cooking as a toddler with his Nanna. His undivided passion and love for cooking coupled by his talent saw him through the Junior MasterChef Australia competition as one of the only two finalists. It was no easy feat indeed considering no less than 20 contenders rivaling with him in that final heat.
Jack had always been the best part of the show, a true showstopper. There were many tough challenges in the competition, but Jack always dealt with them properly with his positive, blithe attitude. He was also one of the cutest contenders, in my opinion. He smiled from ear to ear, rooted loud for fellow contestants, and showed his winning personality the natural way. It’s always a great joy to see him cooking on TV. Everyone who has seen him on the show would readily agree with me and adore this endearing big boy at the first sight.
Guess by now I must have piqued your interest in knowing more about Jack. Lucky you: Here’s a rare opportunity for you to get to know this genius of the kitchen better.
Q: To you, what is it in cooking that makes you so into it?
Jack Kibble: Cooking is an art, it is creative and fun. It shouldn’t be hard or stressful. I love to cook and taste my food. I love to cook for my friends and family. Food and family and friends go hand in hand. I certainly love to eat sweet things, as I am sure you have noticed. I love to create sweet desserts, but as a sportsman, I also make sure that I make lots of healthy food. What you put into your body is so important, so you need to make sure it is healthy, but it can also taste nice and be totally delicious.
(Jack commands the MasterChef kitchen.)
Q: How do you feel about your culinary journey through Junior MasterChef?
Jack Kibble: Amazing wasn’t it! I loved every minute of it. I loved creating and making new recipes, other kids would get upset or worried. It was stressful at times, but I was never worried, I always just had fun. I created my own recipes; I would review other recipes and think about how I could combine different flavours, textures and colours. Let’s face it, sometimes my creations were like “amazing” and other times I could just kick myself for messing things up. Most of all I learnt that life doesn’t always go to plan, and that one of the most important skills one can have, is how to deal with this. Life is a journey and one only learns from making mistakes along the way. This is what makes us better people and better chefs. I don’t like to play it safe, I like to experiment and give things a go. I never really know what I am going to come up with until the very end. Perhaps if I was a bit neater, but then I wouldn’t be Jack; I was certainly the messiest Junior MasterChef.
Q: Do you find it hard to balance cooking and studying?
Jack Kibble: It is very challenging balancing cooking and studying and of course I have my sporting commitments too. I love to play rugby and row. I am the Captain of the Year 8 A Rugby team. People find it amusing, I come off the rugby field, which let’s face it can be pretty rough. I can be pretty dirty with mud and sore from all the tackles, and then I whip up an amazing cake for all the boys!! Unfortunately I had a sporting accident this year, which left me with a fractured T8 vertebra. I am really lucky that I didn’t damage it any further. However, while it heals I am not able to play rugby for a year. I was devastated, but I am going to turn this into a positive and spend more time on my cooking and my school work and find some other sports to do while my back is healing.
I am hoping that I might be able to start back at rowing later in the year. I am in the Year 8 First Quad, so they will be missing me. I want to go to university, so I need to get good grades at school. My education is the most important thing; without an education you have nothing. I have dreams of being a Celebrity Chef… but I must ensure I have a good education first. Besides I am 13 and my Mum and Dad are the boss… and school comes first.
Q: What kind of suggestion would you give to youngsters aspiring to be a great cook?
Jack Kibble: My biggest advice would be to give cooking a try, start with something simple and don’t worry if it doesn’t turn out perfectly. What’s perfect anyway? I would tell kids to have fun, create and experiment. (Another colourful, scrumptious dish Jack created in the MasterChef kitchen: Lamb Cutlets with Balsamic Honey Jus, Parsnip Horseradish Mash and Caramelised Carrots . The name of the dish is long, so is the tastiness.)
I don’t think you can ever be too young to start in the kitchen. I started when I was two. I would sit on my Nanna’s lap and use the beaters to make chocolate cakes. The best part was licking the beaters. My Nanna still has photos of me with more chocolate cake over me than in the cake pan. My mum would say have fun and make sure you clean up the kitchen after you have finished. I would say, Mum you are the best dish washer!!!
Q: Will you consider cooking as a life career? What’s your next step after participating Junior MasterChef?
Jack Kibble: Josh, I am thirteen. I have my life ahead of me. There are so many things I want to do. I do want to be a Celebrity Chef. But I also think about being a doctor or a member of the Australian Wallabies Rugby team. In reality, I have done so much since Junior Master Chef. I have my own Facebook page, Jack – Junior Master Chef, which keeps all my fans up to date with what I am doing. So please everyone like my page!! I have my own business Just Ask Jack, Special Cakes for any Occasion.
I have become the Australian National Ambassador for The Kids Cancer Project, which is all about finding a cure for cancer. You can support The Kids Cancer Project by buying a cuddly bear, there is even a Chef Bear called Charlie. They are $49.95 Australian dollars and can be purchased on line at www.thekidscancerproject.org.au
I have done cooking demonstrations in locations in Australia and overseas. I have cooked with Celebrity Chef Forest Leong and met Celebrity Chef Sam Leong. I have cooked with Celebrity Chef Allan Teoh, author of Allan Bakes Great Cakes. Both of these chefs have successful cookbooks. A “Jack Cooks All Things Sweet and the Odd Thing Not” cookbook would be fun. I am hoping to do some more cooking demonstrations overseas, so that I can combine my love of travel and food. Maybe someone will invite me to Taiwan… here’s hoping.
Junior Masterchef Australia Season 2 Promo:
Sooper Jerry’s Note:
1. Please do not forget to “LIKE” Jack on his Facebook fan page.
2. All my family members love Jack. My parents don’t watch much TV, but surprisingly, a year on, they had little problem recollecting the images of little Jack, praising him for his impressive performance during the show. That’s one telling example of how endearing Jack is to the audience, young and old.
3. It’s nice working with Jack. He’s willing to share his unique experience and thoughts. He’s so sweet online that I received many a :) from him as a way of saying “thank you” or “I think you’re cool.”