Exclusive: Teen chef Dara The Bow Girl takes you to a Winter Wonderland

If you're a MasterChef Junior fanatic like we are, you already know Dara Yu—aka The Bow Girl. The runner up from season one, Dara's been cooking for over seven years and with her YouTube chanenl, she's ready to share her cooking craft. 

We chatted with Dara about all of her years in the kitchen—and everything she has to look forward to. Read on to get to know The Bow Girl a little better and check out our exclusive premiere of her Winter Wonderland Surprise Cupcakes.

GL: How old were you when you started cooking?

Dara: I started cooking around 7, 8. Cooking food is something that I’ve always really been interested in, and something I’ve been around. My family was fortunate to be able to travel when I was like younger, and one of the earliest memories I have is from when we were in Italy when I was four or five. The waiter at a restaurant we were at gave me some pizza dough and I got to make my own pizza.

GL: What was the first recipe that you mastered?

Dara: I think salmon. I love seafood. If you want some salmon, come to me—I’ll make you some killer salmon.

GL: What made you decide to try out for MasterChef Junior?

Dara: One of the reasons I went on the show was to inspire other kids to start cooking and show that, you know, kids can cook. Kids can go in the kitchen and cook their own dinners. If you're good at following directions, that's how you start out. You find a recipe that sounds good and just try to follow it. I've definitely had some fails, but something good always comes out.

GL: So—tell us about the bow.

Dara: I got the bow at a birthday party for Hello Kitty at this little Japanese cafe. They were selling Hello Kitty bows and I just bought one and thought it was cute. When I was trying out for the show, I thought it would help me stand out so people could get to know me. It's a little crazy, but it's so awesome and it really reflects my out-there personality.

GL: Plus it's adorable. You're working on a new cooking show, right?

Dara: Yeah! After the show, my step-dad and I decided to do a web series for YouTube, just by ourselves. Last February, we actually got in contact with DreamWorksTV and we did 3 videos with them on their YouTube channe. Now I have a new show called In the Kitchen with Dara the Bow Girl on the Go90 app which is produced by DreamWorksTV. The first season will be 14 episodes and five are already out. They're so much fun to film.

GL: Do you have your eye on your own restaurant one day?

Dara: That’s my big goal, and I’ve made some really good connections. I’ve actually been able to work in some of L.A. and New York’s biggest restaurants, which is really cool, so I’ve been able to really learn a lot. I want it to be Asian infusion, have the flavors and stuff, but I also want it to be a cafe and a coffee shop and a lunch spot—I dream big. I’m really proud and excited to see how the restaurant industry changes in the next ten years, I mean even in like 5 years. It's a very male dominated industry, and I think it's time for girls and women to have a bigger role in the restaurant world. We need some women there to make it a little more fun.

GL: What's something fun that you've made?

Dara: Well I love working with the Hershey's candy cane kisses. Those are my favorite right now, and I actually created a peppermint hot chocolate cupcake with the kisses in them. It's so good, and it's one of my favorite things I've made.

Check out the recipe in the exclusive premiere of Dara's newest video below.

What's your favorite winter recipe? Do you love cooking like Dara does?

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by Chelsea Duff | 2/1/2016