Kristina Nemckova has loved cooking since she was a young child. Creating beautiful food in the kitchen brought her family together. Her older sister, Paulina, having Cerebral Palsy, had mobility challenges and was nonverbal, but watching Kristina cook and later eating the finished product made her happy.
In 2017-2018 she attended high school in Federal Way, Washington as part of CHI’s Academic Year Program. While there she tried many new activities including cross country, wrestling and tennis. “She is nearly fearless, always up for an adventure,” said Mary Barber, her host mom.
The budding young chef would often cook for her host parents, but before serving the meal, she would take a picture for her Instagram page “Made_by_Kristina”. “She has the most amazing eye for detail,” commented Dale Villines, her host father. Her host parents have hosted ten students with CHI and are expecting their eleventh in August.
This year Kristina and hundreds of great cooks applied for the MasterChef Czech TV show. The judges were so impressed with her initial presentation she went straight to the final 16. Six months later after numerous culinary challenges, she became the youngest MasterChef winner in the Czech Republic. Kristina’s host mom, Mary, was able to travel to Prague for the finale and was there to see her win. She was introduced on the show’s website as Kristina’s American mom.
Kristina took inspiration from her grandmother who owned a restaurant in Slovakia. Her home-style comfort food was the basis of Kristina’s winning entree of duck with pumpkin sauce. While waiting for the final show to air, Kristina produced a cookbook entitled “Upgrade” celebrating the food of her grandmother and upgrading the recipes to beautiful food any modern chef would be proud to serve.