My Silver Lining: How Mason Became My Best Friend


This is the lovely story of how I became friends with Chopped Jr Winner Mason. We started to talk on social media around 2016 when I told him he was a good cook and I was a fan of his. Mason said, “Let’s be friends.”

On November 28th, 2017 we became closer. His episode of Stove Tots had aired the night before and sadly they did not edit him and his mom in a good way. The show made them seem rude. He was talking about it a lot on Twitter the next day and he was very upset with the show. Mason said they were trying to pit the kids against each other. I felt bad about this and I told him I knew he was a very nice boy and I would not watch that episode again. Mason thanked me and said I was a good friend to him.
Later on I did a Recap of his episode of Chopped Jr on my blog and he loved it. Mason told me that he wanted to send me a Christmas gift to say thanks. He sent a copy of his Cookbook, an autograph picture, a note and some of his favorite candies. After that Mason made nice comments on my social media posts, like how it is an honor to be my friend and how I always brighten up his day.

In June 2018, after I broke my ankle really badly and spent a lot of time in the hospital, Mason was one of my main supporters. He was always checking in on me and he told me he was so worried about me and how he hoped I would be okay. He sent me a special package with one of his chef coats with my name on it and a get well soon letter. On a day when I was nervous about going into surgery he sent me a video telling me he hopes it goes well and that he really wants to meet me one day. Another time he made a video saying he loves how I am always positive and when I am ready we can text, talk on the phone or Skype. Mason said I was always there for him and he wanted to always to be there for me.

And he was always was there to cheer me up when I was in and out of the hospital. It was very hard for me to go under for surgery and when he sent the video it really helped me to calm down. The nicest thing he did for me was when he was at the OC Fair he made a video and sent it to me saying he wanted to win me a prize at his favorite carnival game. He asked which prize I wanted, so it was like I was there with him. Later, he sent me a stuffed dog, 2 fish and a butterfly. He also sent me 3 jars of his Carmel Sauce (Sooo Good!) .

maxpanke___BlnSyOQlEfQtqqoBFu4mmtPkJs8OLvoRPFHcoM0___Once I was home and feeling better I wanted to thank him for his friendship in a big way so I sent him a LEGO person I made of him, Connecticut nutmeg, chopsticks, a ramen noodle bowl and some of his favorite chips. When he got it he was so happy. When he said he is happy to have me as a friend it made me smile.

We talked a bit after that and I told him good luck in High School. On September 18th, I saw he had fallen and cut his head and needed staples so I made a video for him saying I hoped he was going to be okay. Mason loved that I cared enough to do that for him.

And when I saw he was cast in an antibullying video I got the courage to tell him I had been bullied. I told him how it means a lot to me that he was doing this work and that I was happy to see he was going to play a hero. I felt since we had gotten so close in the summer and he was working to stop bullying he would understand how I felt. This was big for me since I had not told anyone I was bullied before. It makes me feel happy to have someone that I can trust to tell and let it out. Mason was really nice about it, he understood and told me that everyone has been bullied once. He is such a smart young man.

So even though I hard a very hard summer, the big silver lining was that I became better friends with Mason. Now that we are closer I feel like I have someone to talk to. It really shows how something good can come out of something pretty bad. Even though we were already friends, since I got hurt and sick we got closer and closer and it makes me so happy to call him my Best Friend. I know we will be friends forever. We will continue to chat online and one day we will talk over the phone. I know one day we will meet each other (it is my dream) and just hang out. All I can say is, Friendship really can make a difference in life.

My Thoughts On Stove Tots

aaastovetots2I was worried about the show when I read it was like Dance Moms. And then, when I watched Stove Tots I had very mixed feelings. I hated all the drama with the moms fighting over who’s child should win instead of focusing on the kids’ amazing cooking talents. It totally misses the point of the kids cooking shows. For me, the cooking and the friendships are most important. I like how creative the kids are in the kitchen and how nice they are to each other in the break room.


One of the things that really made me mad is how the show made Mason and his mom, Kathy, look very arrogant. They edited Mason’s words to make it seem like he only cares about winning cooking competitions. But, he is not like that. I have talked to him online and he is one of the most humble kids ever; he did not brag about how he won Chopped Jr. and he really liked meeting new friends on the show. In addition, Stove Tots made his mom look mean by showing her happy when Talia was having trouble. In reality, Kathy was actually happy another time and it was just edited to look that way. In real life, Mason and his mom have the sweetest Mom & Son relationship I have ever seen, but the show made it seem like they were always fighting. So, they made Kathy seem rude and happy when kids are failing, and Mason seem like he was just there to win, but this is not who they are. Also, Mason himself said he hated how they made him and his mom look since they are nice in real life. If I worked on Stove Tots I would show Mason as someone who is very nice and loves his mom, and his mom as someone who is proud of her son. That would be true reality television since that’s how they really are.

Unfortunately, the editing ruined the show for me. I’ve been a fan of Ryan Kate since Season 3 Master Chef Junior and would have enjoyed re-watching her win Stove Tots if they had not done that to my buddy, Mason. I was happy when I learned he and Ryan Kate became friends on the show and that his mom got along perfectly fine with other moms.

There were also things I liked about Stove Tots, like seeing some of my old favorites back in the kitchen. I was happy to see Chopped Junior winner, Caroline win again and for Zac, Elliot, Ayla, Ryan Kate and Jacob to get their wins in a television cooking competition.

It was also great to see Chris, Bryce, Nick, Paris and Kayla cooking again even though they didn’t win.

And, it was great to meet some new young chefs. I was happy Miles won in the first episode and thrilled when Devlyn won the eighth episode. Devlyn was my favorite new kid chef because he seemed so nice, like someone I would be friends with. I was happy about that.

Over all Stove Tots is just OK. I give it 5/10. I did not like the made up drama with the moms and false presentation of some of the kids. If the parents had to be on the show, I would have them as helpers and there for hugs if the kids got upset. I’d have the show focus on cooking, not fake drama. Or, instead of a parent have a best friend be the support person. That would be cool! I will still re-watch certain episodes because I like kids cooking shows, but not the ones that made the kids and their moms look bad.