Entertainment

Chopped Junior winner Fuller Goldsmith dies aged 17 after fifth battle with cancer


Teen celebrity chef Fuller Goldsmith has died from cancer just days before his 18th birthday, after battling leukemia disease five times.

Goldsmith, best known for winning Chopped Junior in 2017 at age 13, was first diagnosed with leukemia at the age of three. 

The teen chef had been declared cancer-free after his fourth round of the disease in August 2020, but unfortunately relapsed again in February 2021.  

In a series of Instagram posts that month, Fuller announced that doctors had found a brain tumor and he would have to go through an operation and 12 weeks of radiation and chemotherapy. 

Fuller Goldsmith, 17, died on Tuesday from leukemia after battling five rounds of the disease

Goldsmith is best known for winning Chopped Junior in 2017 at the age of 13

Goldsmith is best known for winning Chopped Junior in 2017 at the age of 13 

He said he had been experiencing nausea and dizziness for weeks before his doctor found the brain tumor.

On February 28, Goldsmith confirmed to his fans that the brain tumor was indeed his ‘leukemia trying to come back.’ 

‘Unfortunately the news regarding the tumor was not what I was hoping. The same Leukemia is back,’ he wrote on Instagram. ‘Round 5 – I’m ready to fight!’ 

Although the Alabama teen kept his cancer battle mostly private throughout the years, he told the panel of judges in 2017: ‘When I was diagnosed, Chopped was the only thing that got me up and cooking. 

Goldsmith was diagnosed first with the disease at the age of three and recently relapsed for the fifth time in February after his doctors found a brain tumor

Goldsmith was diagnosed first with the disease at the age of three and recently relapsed for the fifth time in February after his doctors found a brain tumor

Goldsmith (pictured front left) was in remission during the time of filming Chopped Junior

Goldsmith (pictured front left) was in remission during the time of filming Chopped Junior

His mother Melissa told This Is Alabama that Goldsmith began showing interested in cooking around three years old. Although his family didn’t ‘necessarily eat’ all the meals he made, he would ‘get in the kitchen and play.’ 

His passion for cooking didn’t leave him and he continued to get better and better and dreamed of attending the Culinary Institute of America in New York City. 

At the age of 13, Goldsmith signed himself up for Chopped Junior by pretending to be his mom on the application. 

‘We didn’t realize how talented he was until he went and won Chopped Junior. I guess when he cooks all day at home we take it for granted,’ she told This Is Alabama in a past interview. 

‘When he applied for it, I really didn’t think anything about it. He went online, he said it was me, and he signed up for Chopped Junior.’ 

Two days later, Melissa would get a call from the show, which is based in New York City, inviting her son on the show. 

The teen chef announced in February his leukemia had returned and he needed 12 sessions of radiation followed by chemotherapy

The teen chef announced in February his leukemia had returned and he needed 12 sessions of radiation followed by chemotherapy 

He stayed optimistic and told fans he was 'ready to fight!'

He stayed optimistic and told fans he was ‘ready to fight!’

Goldsmith won the show after making a beer-battered catfish with okra, an ingredient guest judge Zachary Quinto from the “Star Trek” films had a bad experience with as a child. 

Goldsmith was able to win the star over, landing a $10,000 prize, which he donated to the Division of Hematology and Pediatric Oncology at Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

‘You know, that’s a real piece of okra there that I ate, and I actually liked it,’ Quinto told Goldsmith on the show in 2017. 

Goldsmith had made many friends in the food industry, including celebrity chef Guy Fieri and the father of the owner of Southern Ale House in Goldsmith's hometown Tuscaloosa Cal Holt, who wrote on Facebook 'Our collective hearts are broken'

Goldsmith had made many friends in the food industry, including celebrity chef Guy Fieri and the father of the owner of Southern Ale House in Goldsmith’s hometown Tuscaloosa Cal Holt, who wrote on Facebook ‘Our collective hearts are broken’ 

It wasn’t just Quinto’s hearts and taste buds he captured, but celebrity chef Guy Fieri and Cal Holt, father of Justin Holt, who runs Southern Ale House in Tuscaloosa, where Goldsmith is from. 

The teen chef frequented the kitchens of Southern Ale House, helping to prepare and create food for customers and was considered a ‘little brother’ to Brett Garner, the restaurant’s executive chef. 

‘Our collective hearts are broken. The SAH family lost our much loved and respected Fuller Goldsmith today,’ Colt wrote on Facebook. 

‘He spent a lot of time in the [Southern Ale House] kitchen helping prep, serve, and create recipes. We will miss his presence, his smile, his laugh, his banter back and forth with Brett, and his grit as fought the aches and pains of a terrible disease. He will be missed but forever remembered.’



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