Estie Kung, 8-year-old TV chef who’ll have you eating out of her hand

Chinese American from Hollywood is youngest competitor on show, about to premiere in Hong Kong, that pits child cooks against professional chefs. She started cooking at three, is a dab hand at Tournedos Rossini, and likes to eat steak tartar and caviar

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 January, 2016, 12:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 January, 2016, 12:43pm

She’s eight years old, Chinese American and a reality-TV chef with her own YouTube channel.

Meet Estie Kung, the youngest competitor on cooking show Man VS Child: Chef Showdown. The cheery youngster was in Hong Kong recently to promote the show from America’s FYI Network, which will premiere on Now TV’s Lifetime channel on January 26. The Hollywood, California, native shares her enthusiasm for food and parties with Vanessa Yung.

I started cooking when I was three. My mom was really helpful and then I started to catch up a lot and get so advanced she has no more to teach me now, it’s me teaching her.

The first dish I ever made, by myself, was called a surprise pie. It’s from a little children’s book recipe. All it was was a Rice Krispies treat crust mixed with some chocolate with a chocolate pudding filling in the centre and some cream on top. We added a few raspberries for fun.

WATCH Estie Kung on The Late Show with James Corden

I was quite happy doing that by myself. It was kind of for me just to see if I could cook and I did really well. So I decided [to do] more advanced recipes and I started to become more of a chef.

I’m most proud of my Tournedos Rossini, which is a brioche crouton with a filet mignon on top. On the very top there is some foie gras, shaved truffle and also a nice brown sauce.

She has no more to teach me now, it’s me teaching her
Estie Kung on her mum

I learnt cooking mainly from my mother and watching other chefs. I especially look up to Rosanna Pansino whom I watch on YouTube all the time. She has her own cookbook out now. She’s a very geeky one. She has a lot of video-games-inspired treats. Her channel is called Nerdy Nummies. I like that name.

Most of her stuff is baking and she only has a few savoury ones. I kinda want to try her pizza cake – a pizza that looks like a cake. So it’s savoury but most people would think it’s a cake but it was a pizza.

An excerpt from Man VS Child: Chef Showdown

The Man VS Child show was kinda stressful and kinda happy. I made a lot of new friends. We did a bit of partying and we went to Disneyland. We had a lot of fun together. But it was also quite stressful being timed and doing all that work.

My favourite food is steak tartar and caviar and sushi and filet mignon. These are my few favourites.

I’m not even close to picky. I’ll eat anything that’s on my plate. [How about insects?] Well maybe. Once I actually tried a quite yummy grasshopper [on a stick] inside the LA County fair.

I think I’m going to have a Harry Potter birthday party. I’m planning on making some cute little custard bars that are coloured like potions.

My favourite character is actually Harry Potter. But if I had to choose a girl I think I’d be Hermione. And maybe Myrtle and wearing a toilet on my head. I like Myrtle.

When I’m not cooking, I’m at home, chilling, on the couch. Doing really nothing. Maybe resting or watching TV or videos. You never know.

I have my own YouTube channel but I don’t update it very often. Before I started the show I did that. I think I’m going to make a chef Estie one, rather than just Estie Kung.

When I grow up, I definitely want to become a chef. I’m taught in my own house and I like just being at home learning new dishes and new techniques and looking them up online. I don’t want to go to culinary school, since there’re some mean people, I think.