Nick DiGiovanni Shares What It's Like To Be The Youngest MasterChef Finalist - Exclusive

There's no doubt Nick DiGiovanni is going places. The Harvard grad has racked up millions of followers across his social media platforms, broken world records, and was the youngest finalist "MasterChef" has ever seen.

Recently 26, DiGiovanni competed on the FOX culinary competition show when he was just 21 years old, impressing the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich, and Aarón Sánchez, plus plenty of esteemed guest judges throughout season 10. You'd think going up against chefs with plenty of years on you (and thus, experience) would be very intimidating, but DiGiovanni says it was mostly just a blast.

In an exclusive interview with Tasting Table, DiGiovanni shared what it was like to be the youngest "MasterChef" finalist in the competition's history, why he didn't crack under pressure, and the most important lesson he learned from the entire experience.

Why DiGiovanni had nothing to fear from the competition

If you ask DiGiovanni, he'd say he walked away from "MasterChef" with new friends, a lot more knowledge, and some awesome memories. "I really enjoyed it," the social media star told Tasting Table, adding "I looked at the whole thing as a learning experience where I just sort of went all out on my own."

While the age and experience level of the other competitors might discourage some younger chefs, DiGiovanni said he's always had "a very wide range of friends ... I have friends who are in their mid to late 50s who have a couple kids who are my age." Therefore, he shared that "actually being around a bunch of people that were mostly older than me, I enjoyed in that sense. And I ultimately just took the entire experience as a learning experience and just tried to pick up what I could from these other people."

Gordon Ramsay gave DiGiovanni a confidence boost

Speaking of learning, who better to pick up some cooking advice from than Gordon Ramsay himself? DiGiovanni told Tasting Table that, above all else, the biggest impact Ramsay had on him as a chef was in encouraging him to "break the rules in the kitchen."

As he moved through the competition and continued to impress Ramsay with his dishes, DiGiovanni says the momentum propelled him to try new things and expand his skills. "When you have a chef that's as world-renowned and respected as he is, I think to hear that and get that message from them, it's great because then you figure, okay, I can just go," the young chef said. DiGiovanni continued, "I don't have to be worried. I don't ever have to think twice about trying to bend the rules in the kitchen or with food anymore, because if somebody like that appreciates it, then you'd hope that you're on the right track."

With that in mind, DiGiovanni says his attitude when filming "MasterChef" was this: "I have nothing to lose here. Let's just cook and have fun and see where it leads." That's exactly what he did, and clearly the approach has led him to many great things since.

Catch Nick DiGiovanni on the fourth season of Selena + Chef, now streaming on HBO Max.