Bryson McGlynn of Opelika won $100,000 Monday night, but the prize money may only be the smallest part of what he won. His first-place national finish in "MasterChef Junior" may open the door to a career as a chef, a celebrity chef, a culinary arts teacher, or Bryson's personal dream – owning and operating a mobile food truck specializing in cheeses and cheese dishes.

The nationally televised competition is like "The Voice," only it's "The Chef." Or "American Idol," only with cooking and explaining your cooking as you go rather than music. "American Chef."            

Season 9 of "MasterChef Junior" began with 12 kids cooking for the assessment of host and judge Gordon Ramsay and three other judges.

On Monday night, the judging panel picked their winner: 11-year-old Bryson McGlynn from Opelika. Bryson had been up against some serious competition: 11-year-old Michael Seegobin from New Smyrna, Fla., and 10-year-old Remie Powell from Hollywood, Fla.

Bryson kept true to his Alabama roots, winning over the competition with his three-course meal:

Appetizer: Marinated red prawns with creole hushpuppies, rum marinade sauce and tomato relish

Entrée: Wagyu filet mignon with red wine reduction, squash puree and confit turnips

Dessert: Peanut butter mousse crunch with chocolate ganache and peanut brittle.

So what does an 11-year-old do with his newly earned hundred grand? Go to Disney World? Start going to see his favorite rock concerts? Buy an ATV?

No, Bryson's plan is so mature for an 11-year-old. He will save the money and put it into an account. He will invest in his own food truck. Maybe some for college or culinary school.

Auburn University has a top-rated culinary program nearby, the Tony and Libba Rane Culinary School. It is named for "Mister Tony," a second-generation Italian immigrant, and his wife.

Bryon McGlynn would be an obvious candidate for a scholarship to Auburn University to the Rane Culinary School. Are you listening, Jimmy Rane? 

Bryson will spend this summer's vacation driving around with his family, competing in barbecue and other cooking competitions.

Bryson3 Alabama News
Bryson McGlynn, winner and Gordon Ramsey, host and a judge. MasterChef Junior.

Here are lessons from Bryson's winning experience for "yutes" and grown-ups:

He watched "MasterChef Junior" in years past. That's partly how he got the idea to audition.

After he passed the audition, he carefully studied past episodes to familiarize himself with the procedures.

He does a lot of cooking at home for his own family and friends.

He looks up recipes online and in a few cookbooks.

Be prepared.

An ironic development was that Bryson had his hardest time with desserts. He rarely cooks desserts, yet they are his favorite dish.

Bryson quite naturally became a bit of an evangelist for deep south cooking, especially barbecue and grilling. He is teaching the other contestants about the many southern cooking competitions.

Bryson's family has a truck and a large grill that they hook to the trailer hitch. They are a traveling cooking setup and will use that rig this summer as Bryson continues as a competing chef.

Bryson McGlynn is Alabama's first winner in MasterChef Junior, which has a nine-year history. 

Jim' Zig' Zeigler's beat is the colorful and positive about Alabama. He writes about Alabama people, places, events, groups and prominent deaths. He is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at

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