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Debasmita Ghosh , Hindustan Times
New Delhi, November 07, 2013
It’s not easy to score well in history, geography and mathematics in school, and also help mum back home at her noodle corner, and then win a top chef honour on TV. But Sarthak Bhardwaj from Dehradun has done all of it, and that too at the age of 12.
“I still can’t believe that I’ve won the competition,” says the maverick kid, who snatched away the title of Junior MasterChef India by competing against 20 junior cooks in the show on Star Plus.

“I had been really nervous throughout the competition, but in the grand finale somehow, I felt very confident. Even then, when my name was announced I couldn’t believe that I had won. I stood still... without any reaction, and so was my mother, sitting far away. Finally when everyone started applauding, I realised that this was not a dream,” says the eighth-standard shy kid, who lost his father at a very young age. “I have a younger brother, and mom runs the house with her small noodle stall. After school I used to help her out. I would experiment making new dishes there and that is how I learnt to cook,” says Sarthak, who’s now the proud owner of a `20 lakh-scholarship.

So does he plan to go for higher culinary studies in future with the money? “No. My brother can use that for his higher studies. I want to join the National Defence Academy and be in the army,” replies Sarthak, who idolises celebrity chef and his show’s judge Vikas Khanna. “He also struggled a lot in life but always had his mother beside him, just like me,” says Sarthak.