Updated: Apr 1, 2019
This is a guest blog post from Ally Kustera. Ally Kustera was a Chopped Junior contestant and she has severe food allergies. I had the opportunity to meet her at the Teen Summit and she was able to share her story with me. Now, she would not only like to share her experience with all of you but also share some tips to cooking with food allergies. - Katherine
Competing on Chopped Jr was one of the best experiences of my life. It was so fascinating to see what really happens beyond the camera. I was thrilled when we received the news! Immediately I started training, learning new techniques and being experimental. Once on the show I was terrified but I remembered to just do your best. Even though I didn't win I was still extremely proud of myself. I have to admit I was bit nervous and thought I was at a disadvantage. The truth is, I wasn't. Chopped Jr accommodated my allergies extremely well. Every round they would change the oil in the fryer in case someone had fried peanuts/tree nuts in it. They made sure none of the mystery ingredients contained nuts. My opponents didn't think I was weak or inexperienced because of my allergy. I didn't let it hold me back and neither should anyone. Just because you have a food allergy doesn't mean you can't do the things you love. If you think you can do it, then you will.
My Tips for You: 1) Cook as often as possible, remember you can always improve 2) Experiment! Try new things at any opportunity 3) Get creative! Mix it up, add new ingredients 4) Accommodate! Use ingredients that suit your personal needs 5) Have fun!