A kids-only Q+A session with Junior Masterchef contestant, Filo.
Bryce: Hello there – and welcome to a very special Squiz Kids Q+A — part of our ongoing series of interviews where you – the kids of Australia – get to ask the questions.
I’m Bryce Corbett. Today, we’re delighted to welcome to the Squiz Kids hot seat pint-sized cooking sensation, Filo – from the hit TV series, Junior Masterchef.
Growing up in Egypt, Filo was surrounded by cooks. He moved to Australia when he was eight, his parents bought a cafe, and ever since, he’s been honing his craft in the kitchen.
And now – as we come towards the end of the TV cooking competition, the 12 year old from Victoria is among the last mini-chefs standing.
He’s taken a break from making lobster mornay, he’s put down the paring knife and lay down his oven mitt for a moment to take the Squiz Kids hot seat and answer your questions.
Filo – welcome to Squiz Kids!
Filo: Thank you for having me.
Bryce: You’re very welcome mate. Now, we’re super excited to have you in the Squiz Kids hotseat – we were inundated with questions from our listeners – you’ve really built up a fan base…
Filo: Well, it’s really cool. Like I’ve never thought that I’d actually be a celebrity. I joined a competition this big and amazing, and it was such an amazing feeling to be joining the competition, and then cooking in it and going through into rounds and competitions. It was just so amazing. I never wanted it to end.
Bryce: I’ll bet! You have an older brother, who I believe is 14. Is that right?
Filo: Yes, 14.
Bryce: And has he been treating you any differently since you became a megastar? Has he been treating you with more respect around the house?
Filo: No, he’s treating me the same.
Bryce: Of course he is. He’s an older brother. He has to keep you in line. Now, Filo we’ve got lots of questions to get through. Shall we jump straight in?
Bryce: Ok question number one comes to us from Arthur in Perth, and he asks…
Arthur: Hi Filo, my name is Arthur and I’m six years old from Perth. My question is, Who taught you how to cook?
Filo: Well the person who told me how to cook was my mum. She probably had the biggest influence on me in cooking. She’s taught me everything I know – desserts and savoury. She knows so much and she’s taught me so much. Like I can’t thank her enough. And also my dad and all my family they’ve also taught me so much. They’re always there, they’re always helping me if I’m doing something wrong they can show me what’s right and tell me how to do the right thing.
Bryce: Excellent. Let’s get on to the next question and it comes from Audrey from Queensland and she asks…
Audrey: Hi Filo, my name is Audrey and I’m 7 years old from MT Crosby in Queensland. My question is, why did you want to be on Junior Masterchef?
Filo: I wanted to be on Junior Masterchef for a lot of reasons actually. I want it to be my first step of becoming a chef and I also want to learn how to work under pressure, work under time when there has to be no mistakes. I really wanted to learn that. And I thought if I went to the competition, and if I stayed in the competition that I would learn exactly that and that’s exactly what I did. I’m sure it’s going to be my first step. I’m sure when I grow up I’m gonna be a chef and yeah, that’s probably the biggest thing of why I wanted to join the competition.
Bryce: Good for you buddy. Now, Eamon from NSW has what I think is an excellent question…
Eamon: Hi Filo. My name is Eamon and I’m eight and three quarters. My question is, how would you elevate a Vegemite sandwich?
Filo: Well, I would like sprinkle some things you love on it, like let’s say honey. Maybe you can add a layer of Nutella or maybe you don’t want to make it a sandwich. You can kind of like, make cinnamon and the cinnamon filling could be with Vegemite. You can make kind of a cream, you can make cake batter with a bit of Vegemite – not too much because it does overpower the flavour really easily. So yeah, that would probably be what I would do if I loved Vegemite.
Bryce: But you don’t like Vegemite?
Filo: No (laughs).
Bryce: That’s okay. I think you either love Vegemite or you really hate it. There’s nothing in between is there?
Bryce: So, a lovely question here from Misha, in Griffith NSW.
Misha: What is it like going up against the Masterchef clock?
Filo: Well, it’s really stressful. Like I was super scared in the beginning and I never thought time would go this fast. Like, I thought 90 minutes was going to be a breeze, or 75 minutes was going to be normal. But it goes so fast. I would have never thought they would go this fast. It was mind blowing on my first cook.
Bryce: It looks really stressful.
Filo: I have to say yeah, it’s pretty stressful.
Bryce: A question now from Class 4B from the Fraser Coast Anglican College in Queensland…
Charlotte: Hi Filo, my name is Scarlett and I’m 10 years old Fraser Coast Anglican College in Queensland. My question is, what is it like with your friends now that you’ve been on a tv show?
Filo: Well because like I don’t really wanna act like I’m cool and stuff, I just want life to be normal, and I just want to hang out with some of my friends and hang out with everyone at school. And I want to have friends at different levels and teach people from what I know. And probably how they treat me? It’s probably normal – maybe like maybe they’ve treated me a bit better? But yeah pretty much mostly it’s normal.
Bryce: Have you been recognized in the street or when you go to the supermarket with your folks?
Filo: Yeah, I’ve been recognized a lot of times.
Bryce: And what’s that like?
Filo: It’s really fun. I like how people watch me and they’re like, oh you’re almost a chef, that’s really cool, you’re amazing. It kind of encourages me to keep cooking and to keep doing different things.
Bryce: Good on you mate. Question now from Class 4M at Hunter Valley Grammar School…
Hadley: My name is Hadley. I’m 9 years old from Hunter Valley Grammar School. My question for you is, who is your favorite Master Chef judge, and why?
Filo: Well, probably my favourite is all of them. All of them were amazing judges, like they’re amazing people, they have taught me so much. But if I had to choose my favourite, it’s probably gonna be Jock because he is really funny, he always encourages me when I’m really stressed. He’s just always there, encouraging me like, ‘It’s fine. It’s going to be fine. You’re ok, just keep doing what you’re doing, you’re doing great,’ which always kind of helps me and it didn’t make me feel like I’m in a competition and this is serious. Jock made me feel like I could just cook casually and just have fun.
Bryce: That’s awesome. Now Finn from Sydney has a question for you….
Finn: Hi Filo, my name is Finn, I’m 10 years old and I’m from Sydney. My question for you is what’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten?
Filo: I really love eating food. I love cooking food and eating food. But if I had to choose one, it would like probably be anything seafood. I really love seafood and it’s one of my favourite things to eat. So like fish and crayfish, lobster, crab, mussels… anything like that, it’s probably my favourite.
Bryce: You famously prepared a lobster mornay for one of your first cooks I think on the show. How often do you eat lobster at your house?
Filo: Like twice a week? It’s one of my favourite things to eat. The flavour is just so unique. There’s nothing like lobster, you can never go wrong with lobster. Just add any sauce and it’s gonna be great.
Bryce: I’m with you, I’m absolutely with you, Filo. You can never go wrong with lobster. Now, a question from Elissa who is nine years old and from Melbourne…
Elissa: Hello, my name is Alyssa. I’m almost ten years old from Melbourne. My question is, on the show, when you are being interviewed about your cook, when does it happen? If it happens after your cook, do you have to make it up and pretend how you felt at the time?
Filo: Well, it’s after the cook. I’m putting myself in the moment and probably just say what I felt like because I always remember what I felt like because it’s an amazing experience. I probably just say every single thing I felt when I was in that moment?
Bryce: And was that hard to recreate that? Or was it easy to summon up those feelings that you’d had?
Filo: It was pretty easy because sometimes I’d be really stressed or sometimes I’d be kind of breezing through the competition, walking around doing fun stuff. Yeah, it was not that hard like probably just remembering to put myself in the moment, and that’s exactly what I did while I was doing those interviews.
Bryce: Excellent. A question now from Elissa’s sister who is also from Melbourne…
Evelyn: Hi Filo, my name is Evelyn and I’m seven years old from Melbourne. My question is Do you think you became really good at cooking pastry because of your name? Evelyn, 10 Melbourne
Filo: Well, when I was five, I actually knew about Filo pastry, and I was like ‘wow, my name is Filo and that’s really similar.’ And so I thought, ‘Why don’t I just try pastry?’ So yeah, it just went off of that. I tried different kinds of pastries. I tried pies, tarts, all those different kinds of things that I kept trying and making different fillings from them until I actually perfected the dough, perfected the filling, perfected everything in pastry. Which was really cool to me because my name is Filo pastry. So yeah, that was amazing. It’s a fun coincidence.
Bryce: It’s a very fun coincidence. Now a question from nine year old Amelia from Sydney.
Amelia: Hi Filo, I’m nine years old and I’m from North Kellyville in NSW. In MasterChef, you don’t seem to have any recipes. So my question is, how do you remember how to cook all of those dishes?
Filo: Well because it’s not like I need to do it. When I find a recipe, I just do it, and if I like it then it just comes into my mind. It’s really easy to remember. I add my own touches, and then that’s even easier to remember. So yeah, it’s not that hard. It’s not like it’s school work, I’m not doing science, where I need to remember everything. It’s something that I love and when I do something I love it’s pretty easy to remember everything.
Bryce: It’s like a passion I suppose, it’s like a sport, or like playing piano. If you’re passionate about it, it comes easily.
Filo: Yeah. Yeah when I play the piano, I remember because I love it.
Bryce: A question now from Jay, in Melbourne
Jay: Hi Filo, my name is Jay, I’m 10 years old from Upper Brookfield. My question is, if you’re stuck in isolation, what would be the only cooking tool or appliance you couldn’t live without?
Filo: Well, that’s like really hard because I love all my appliances and I need all my appliances. If I had to choose one it would probably be my tongs because I can do so much with them. If I’m doing desserts I can fold things easily, if I’m turning things around I can do that, and if I want to mix things up, I can just bake it thin and start mixing things up. So for me, tongs are really useful. So yeah, that’s probably that’s what I would use.
Bryce: Good answer. What would you say has been the best part of being on Junior MasterChef?
Filo: The best part Is probably learning new things. All the contestants do things differently, and not everyone’s the same. So learning from them and also learning from the judges. I knew that it would help me so much in my cooking dream. So yeah, that was probably the best part about being on the show.
Bryce: And in terms of your cooking dream, what should we expect? To one day come and sit down and eat at Filo’s Restaurant – is that the plan?
Filo: Yes, that is the plan
Bryce: Wonderful. And would I be right in guessing there might be some seafood there?
Filo: There might be dessert, there might be seafood. I’m thinking about opening different restaurants at different places, So yeah, probably dessert or seafood.
Bryce: Excellent. Filo’s Gastronomic Empire. Can’t wait, I’ll be the first in line mate!
Filo: I’ll see you there!
Bryce: Sadly, that’s all we have time for today. An enormous thanks to all of you Squiz Kids who sent in questions for Filo. As usual, we had more questions sent in than we had time to ask. Each one was fantastic – so thank you very much. Filo – thank you so much for taking the time to chat to us today.
Filo: Thank you, it was really fun!
Bryce: And remember folks – the Squiz Kids podcast – a daily fix of kid-appropriate news – is out at 7am every morning, via the Squiz Kids website – www.squizkids.com.au – or wherever you find your podcasts. This is Bryce Corbett, signing off – and Filo, would you please do the honours…
Filo: Now get out there and have a most excellent day!
Bryce: Thank you buddy. Over and out.
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