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But tonight it’s just a tuesday dinner for hayes’ elk rapids family. Her brother, christopher kroupa, 17, is out in the backyard, keeping their attack pomeranian butch occupied. Lindsay’s father dave hayes is on his way home from work. Lindsay — between play practice, club cheerleading, and miss elk rapids pageant stuff, is getting sushi rolls prepped for everyone.

Hayes is 11, soon to be 12. She was nine when she was a contestant on the food network show “chopped junior.” she then filmed fox’s “masterchef junior,” which premieres its sixth season march 2.

Kroupa winced at the memory from the kitchen table where she watched hayes cook. Kroupa said she let hayes create in the kitchen starting at age 4. She helps when lindsay asks, but usually just lets her experiment.

“it’s OK,” becky says, and lindsay decides on her own to use the perfect rice on top and flip her rolls inside out — no harm done.


Reality cooking shows eat up those dramas, and she’s learned to think on her feet.Kroupa said

Cooking was one of many interests for the girl, but lindsay’s offhand comment while watching “masterchef junior” — “I want to be on that show” — and a quirk of fate that the show was holding auditions in chicago that weekend propelled the family, first to the windy city then to sunny california.

Lindsay was an alternate for the original “masterchef junior” audition, which put her in a good position for her second try, which she made. Though she can’t reveal what happened on the show — hosted by chef gordon ramsay, with pastry chef christina tosi and restaurateur joe bastianich — she said that she’s now on the older side of the 8 to 13-year-old contestants who vie for the $100,000 grand prize.

The season’s challenges include a beach club pop-up restaurant, and surprise celebrity guests and diners like chef wolfgang puck and the muppets, according to the fox show’s fan site.

But this time around, watching herself on television will be different than “chopped junior,” in many ways.Kroupa said for one, the show is airing during lindsay’s school year, and her mom is curious about how her daughter’s fellow students at cherryland middle school may react.

“I get jealousy factors — and some people might want to be my friends because of the show,” lindsay said. “but I’m humble, I don’t like to brag … Shyness-wise, I was always the quiet one.”

Lindsay’s 12th birthday is on march 1, and the family will be renting a limousine to take lindsay and her friends for an overnight stay at the grand traverse resort and spa, where she trained at one time with the resort’s aerie restaurant head chef bryan petrick.

The plan is to play in the pool and watch the show’s 2-hour premiere. But lindsay said she has a lot of other things on her mind — new projects in the works, a commercial with goodwill industries about to air, and missing one person who won’t be able to see how it all turns out.

His death was sudden and unexpected and the family is still reeling, kroupa said.“chopped junior in fact, the leelanau builder and farmer had just baked a batch of cherry tarts, which at least made everyone smile as they ate them, kroupa said.