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Jonathon Chatman

Fourteen-year-old Jonathon grew up watching his grandmother, mother, and big sister whip up omelets, pasta dishes, and other delicious fare, but he didn’t just sit at the table and enjoy the fruits of their labors. He got inspired—and developed some serious culinary chops of his own. It was his grandmother’s corn pudding that gave him the idea for his winning recipe: “It’s my favorite dish that she makes, so I wanted to enter an updated version of it,” Jonathon says. “Grandma uses canned corn, but I use fresh. I also sweeten it with agave nectar.” When he isn’t cooking, the Chicago eighth-grader keeps busy by playing football and piano, singing in his church choir, and studying. A regular renaissance man!

Favorite food: His grandma’s corn pudding, of course.

Biggest cooking disaster: While shooting his Next Great Young Chef entry video, Jonathon accidentally dropped an eggshell in the blender. “But I just had to keep going!” he says.

Best cook he knows: His sister, Jacqui, 22, who makes the best gooey-in-the-middle chocolate lava cake. “I love Paula Deen, too!” he adds.

Judge Aviva Goldfarb says…

“Jonathon had so much going for him. He was warm, upbeat, and engaging with the story of what he was making and tying in his grandmother to the recipe. I loved that his corn pudding uses fresh corn, and I wanted to take a big bite of it!”

Click to view the recipe
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