Kid chef cooks up culinary dreams

Published 10:27 pm Monday, April 4, 2011

Mason Goss, an 8-year-old Suffolk resident, hopes to become a restaurateur and chef when he grows up. He already cooks for his family and has written a cookbook for them.

Mason Goss loves to cook, and he hopes to take that passion and open his own Italian restaurant.

He has plans just like any future restaurateur and chef, but there is one thing that sets Mason apart — he’s only 8 years old.

He might not be able to open his business this year, but his age can’t stop him from learning everything he can about cooking by helping his parents in his own kitchen.

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It was his mom and dad’s cooking, in fact, that inspired Mason to try it out for himself.

“I kind of think my parents make masterpieces when they cook, and I wanted to make some of my own masterpieces,” he said.

His mother, Danielle, said she was not surprised when Mason made his way into the kitchen because he has always been very curious about how things work.

“He just decided he wanted to help,” she said. “We just gradually let him do more.”

He started off just taking orders from his family and helping serve dinner, she said. But now he has a much more active role in the evening meal.

Mason helps mostly with preparation, doing things like gathering the ingredients as well as combining them in bowls, he said.

He also likes being able to add spices to foods to make them taste better, he said.

But it’s when he sits down to the meal when he gets most creative. He takes dishes his parents make and then invents new creations from them.

“Most of my own inventions are based off of my parents’ dishes,” Mason said.

His mother’s meatloaf, for example, was the starting point for a creation Mason said is his favorite to make — rice a la meatloaf with asparagus.

His parents are the inspiration for all of his cooking dreams, Mason said, not just his dinner table inventions.

In fact, he based many of his recipes off of his mother’s when he decided to put together his own cookbook.

Mason said he wanted to put together a cookbook because he noticed a lot of professional chefs writing them. But instead of selling it to the public, Mason said he made it to share with his family.

The cookbook features some of his favorite dishes, such as homemade chicken enchiladas and husband’s delight, which is like lasagna with sour cream, he said.

Mason also plans to serve at “Mason’s Extreme Cuisine,” his Italian restaurant.

But he kept all of his future diners in mind while planning his menu. In addition to his favorites, Mason has items that he doesn’t particularly enjoy, like chocolate lava cake, but he knows he’s not the only one who will eat there.

“It’s for the public, not for me, to eat,” Mason said.

Even with the menu in place and an advertisement he designed himself, he doesn’t plan to open “Mason’s Extreme Cuisine” until he turns 18, he said, because he wants to go to college first.

As to what he wants to study, Mason said he would choose to learn how to run a restaurant instead of studying cooking.

“I think I would like to go to college for running a restaurant because my parents will have taught me everything about cooking,” he said.

The most important thing he’s learned from his parents is presentation, he said, adding that it’s little things like placing cinnamon buns on a nice plate instead of leaving them in the pan.

Mason’s parents also have been teaching him new techniques in the kitchen. Danielle Goss said they have been working on timing, so that all components of a meal are finished at the same time.

She said Mason is a great help in the kitchen and she is thrilled to have him as her sous chef.

“He’s always told me this is his dream, and I’ve always said you’ve got to have a dream,” she said.

When he isn’t cooking, Mason likes to play with his iPod and spend time on the computer. He also plays baseball for Bennett’s Creek Little League and loves studying history at school.

But he said his passion for cooking wins over his love of history.

“It’s good to know how to cook for life, but you don’t really need to know history, I guess.”