When their family home was lost in a fire, Ella Bass was just 3 years old. She, along with her parents, moved in with her grandmother. Despite the tragedy, there was a bright spot: Bass began helping her grandmother in the kitchen, sparking a love of the culinary arts.
Growing up, Bass, who lives in Berwyn, also discovered she had several dietary restrictions, including allergies to dairy, soy and nuts, which ultimately motivated her to become creative when preparing dishes.
That creativity served her well when she pursued a spot on Universal Kids’ Top Chef Junior this season. Bass was one of just 12 contestants, aged 9 to 14, vying for the second season title and a $50,000 prize. The 14-episode season premiered in September and is hosted by actress Vanessa Lachey. Top Chef Masters and Top Chef Duels host Curtis Stone serves as head judge.
Bass made it through four episodes, before being eliminated in the fifth for her spicy nachos with bacon and jalapeno sausage. Still, it was a positive experience for her. “Besides being inspired by meeting the other great chefs, working with new ingredients and having friends my age that love to cook, I definitely was inspired by the TV part of the show,” she says. “I loved seeing how things worked behind the scenes and felt really comfortable during interviews, while cooking, and in the one-on-one interviews. I definitely know I want to be a part of TV more.”
A student at Tredyffrin-Easttown Middle School, Bass enjoys playing football and softball, but hopes to continuing purusing the culinary arts. “I really want to go to culinary school and to work towards getting my own restaurant and to write a cookbook and maybe one day, [to have] my own cooking show,” she says.