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St. Louis Represented in Masterchef Junior

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MASTERCHEF: Judges Bastianich, Ramsay and Elliot with the Contestants in the “Junior Edition: The Class of 2015” Season Premiere episode of MASTERCHEF airing Tuesday, Jan. 6 (8:00-9:00PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Greg Gayne / FOX. © FOX Broadcasting Co.

If you're looking for someone with the longsuffering patience needed to deal with a room full of children, Gordon Ramsay probably isn't going to be on your list. But that unexpected mix is part of what makes MASTERCHEF JUNIOR such a fun watch for viewers.

Representing my home town of Saint Louis, Missouri, is Ayla, an eleven year old whose already got a signature dish in her culinary repertoire: Corn and Pumpkin Soup. "I learned from my mom's cooking school," says Ayla. "It ws the first recipe that I had to learn and master."

But there's a distinct difference between what she does best and what she likes most. "[Pumpkin and Corn Soup] is definitely the think I make the best," says Ayla. "But my favorite thing to cook is Chocolate Souffle."

Masterchef Junior AylaAyla has been attending her mother's cooking school since she was six -- something I would never attempt with my own little guy of similar age, even with Ayla's encouragement that I should. Mom also takes care of the rest of Ayla's education through home schooling, so she didn't have the kind of disruption that other kids going into a television production have, switching from public school to private tutoring.

MASTERCHEF JUNIOR wrapped up last spring, and Ayla is tight lipped about any of the details. Even asking her if there's a special moment she wanted us to look for couldn't get her to crack. "You guys really have to watch the show," she says. "I can't say."

We asked Ayla what kind of challenge she would design for the next group of contestants. "I would definitely do some kind of war," she says. "Like a cupcake war, or a pizza dough war. A pancake war. Anything really messy."

Ayla's MASTERCHEF JUNIOR debut airs Tuesday, Jan. 6, 8:00PM ET/PT on FOX. But just because the show's over for Ayla doesn't mean she's taking it easy. "I do cooking clases now," she tells us. "I do a lot of cooking classes!"