Winning Chopped Junior is no cake walk, and it becomes an even more daunting task when the contestant can't taste the ingredients. 12-year-old Bella Francisco from Palm Springs, California, ran into that problem during the dessert round Tuesday night.
Bella is gluten-free and dairy-free, so when the two of the dessert ingredients were a piñata cake and chocolate condensed milk, Bella was facing an uphill battle. Bella explained that her passion for cooking started out of necessity, saying, "A couple years ago I was getting headaches and stomachaches, then one day my mom suggested we go gluten and dairy-free. That was really the turning point for when I started cooking"
So when the judges loved Bella's pizzelle taco with pomegranate reduction and chocolate ice cream, it was extra impressive. Bella was crowned the Chopped Junior champion and she already had a plan for her $10,000 prize, saying, "I would put most of the money over to charity. It's important for me to give back because I go to a Catholic school and they always teach you to, like, be giving and kind. Doing something to help the less fortunate, it's just a lot better than taking it for yourself."