The cooking world mourns Food Network’s “Chopped Junior” and “Top Chef Junior” award winner Fuller Goldsmith days before his 18th birthday.
The Alabama native died of cancer at the age of 17, production company Magical Elves said on Wednesday.
“We are devastated after hearing about the loss of our former ‘Top Junior Chef’ Fuller Goldsmith,” the company wrote on Instagram. “He was an amazing chef and the strongest kid we’ve ever met. From the minute he was introduced to us we knew he would impact everyone around him and be a positive force in the kitchen world. To his family, give us all our love as they mourn the loss of someone very special. “
‘Top Chef Junior’ host Vanessa Lachey commented on the production company’s post, writing, “We all loved Fuller so much!” And we will never forget his contagious smile, his laughter and his tips. Sending so much love to his family. We will never forget you Fuller! “
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Tuscaloosa, the Southern Ale House restaurant in Alabama, where Goldsmith worked as an assistant to the chef, also confirmed his death.
“Our collective hearts are broken. The SAH family has lost our beloved and respected Fuller Goldsmith today, ”the post said. “Fuller has fought the good fight his whole life. From the age of four until the last days of 17, Fuller fought a courageous battle with cancer. Fuller lived to create delicious dishes and became the little brother of his big brother Brett Garner, our executive chef. He spent a lot of time in the kitchen of the SAH preparing, serving and creating recipes. “
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The post continued, “His presence, his smile, his laughter, his jokes with Brett and his courage will be missed as he battles the aches and pains of a terrible disease. He will be missed but will be forever remembered. His mind will be staying at SAH for the rest of the time. To his family our love and compassion with a huge thank you for sharing Fuller with all of us. He made us better people. “
Goldsmith was a student at Tuscaloosa Academy and has battled leukemia four times since the age of 4.
In February, Goldsmith revealed on social media that he was undergoing radiation therapy for the fifth time. “Unfortunately, the news about the tumor was not what I expected. The same leukemia is back. The plan is to start emitting protons at UAB as soon as possible… hopefully within the next two weeks. I’ll have 12 days of radiation and then more chemo to make sure it’s gone once and for all. Round 5- I’m ready to fight, ”he wrote at the time.
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At the age of 14, Goldsmith appeared on “Chopped Junior”. He won the competition and ultimately donated his $ 10,000 cash prize to the Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
In 2018, Goldsmith’s famous conductor and personal hero Guy Fieri surprised him at the Stagecoach Music Festival. Fieri gave the young cook a few words of encouragement after having to quit “Top Chef Junior” due to his health battle, according to Entertainment Weekly.
“What you’ve already accomplished in your life is amazing,” said Fieri. “You don’t give up… You have to believe, you have to trust, you have to go, you have to fight hard, and it’s not easy. “