Fuller Goldsmith: 5 Things to Know About ‘Chopped Junior’ Champ Who Died Of Cancer At 17

The cooking world lost one of its youngest and brightest stars. Fuller Goldsmith, who competed on 'Top Chef Junior' and 'Chopped Junior,' passed away at 17 after a battle with cancer. Here's what we know.

View gallery
Image Credit: Discovery

Fans of Chopped Junior learned the heartbreaking news of Fuller Goldsmith’s death on Wednesday (Oct. 6) after the production company behind the show, Magical Elves, announced his passing in an Instagram post. The young chef died at age 17, reportedly just days before he celebrated his 18th birthday. “We are devastated after hearing about the loss of our Top Chef Junior alum, Fuller Goldsmith,” wrote Magical Elves. “He was an incredible chef and the strongest kid we’ve ever met.”

“From the minute he was introduced to us, we knew he would make an impact on everyone around him and be a positive force in the cooking world. To his family, we give all our love as they mourn the loss of someone truly special,” concluded the post. As the world mourns the loss of this young talent, here’s what you need to know about the culinary superstar that was Fuller Goldsmith.

1. Fuller Goldsmith Competed – And Won – On ‘Chopped Junior’

A native of Alabama, Fuller competed on Chopped Junior when he was just 13-years-old. His episode, “Fry Fans,” aired on April 25, 2017. He competed against Angelica Iannacchino, Zach Baer, and Kaylee Roope, besting the competition by whipping up meals with ingredients like catfish filets, pimento cheese, raspberries, and okra. “It was a lot like I pictured it,” Fuller told the Tuscaloosa News in 2017, right before his episode aired. “Everything in the studio looked like it does on TV. It was pretty intense.”

“I mean, I knew exactly what I was going to do when I pulled the first ingredient out,” he added. “Before we went up there, I watched it on my computer, and when they would pull the basket ingredients out, I would think in my head, ‘What would I make of that?'”

Fuller said that competing on the show was a dream come true, since he would watch episodes while being treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a condition he was first diagnosed with at age 3. At the time, his cancer was in remission. After winning, Fuller said he was going to donate some of the $10,000 prize money to Fuller’s Fund, which goes to the Hope and Cope Fund, Division of Hematology and Pediatric Oncology at Children’s of Alabama hospital, to assist families like the Goldsmiths, per the Tuscaloosa News.

2. He Also Competed On ‘Top Chef Junior’

Fuller also competed on Top Chef Junior, which aired in 2017. However, he had to withdraw from the competition due to health reasons. Vanessa Lachey, who hosted Top Chef Junior, mourned Fuller’s death on the Magic Elves post. “We all Loved Fuller so much! And will never forget his contagious smile, laugh, and butter tricks. Sending so much Love to his family. We will never forget you, Fuller!”

3. Fuller Was A Fighter

When Fuller was 16, he announced that he was cooking again after participating in a cancer immunotherapy clinical trial after his cancer returned for the fourth time in late 2018. “It was scary hearing the cancer had returned, especially since at first, we didn’t think we had any options,” his mother, Melissa Goldsmith, told the Seattle Children’s Hospital. “It was really encouraging to know there was another option out there, and this wasn’t the end of the line.”

“With the T cells, I got to go back to our apartment every night and pretty much got to go outside whenever I wanted,” Fuller said. “It wasn’t like with the transplant where I was in the hospital for months on end.” He added that while undergoing treatment in Seattle, he would visit the famous Pike Place Market. “He was such a regular at Pike Place that they all got to know him and would call him chef,” Melissa said.

4. Fuller Announced In February 2021 That His Cancer Had Returned

“Unfortunately, the news regarding the tumor was not what I was hoping,” Fuller wrote in a February Instagram post. “The same Leukemia is back. The plan is to start proton radiation at UAB as soon as I can….hopefully within the next two weeks. I will 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!”

5. Fuller Continued To Pursue His Dream To The Very End

Before his death, Fuller was working at Tuscaloosa, Alabama’s Southern Ale House restaurant. The young lad was busy assisting the restaurant’s chef, and the restaurant mourned Fuller’s passing on Facebook. “Our collective hearts are broken. The SAH family lost our much loved and respected Fuller Goldsmith today. Fuller fought the good fight all his life. From age four until the last few days of 17 years, Fuller fought a courageous fight against cancer. Fuller lived to create delicious dishes and became the little brother to big brother Brett Garner our Executive Chef. He spent a lot of time in the SAH 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,” the post continued. “He will be missed but forever remembered. His spirit will remain in SAH for the remainder of time. To his family, our love and compassion with a huge thank you for sharing Fuller with all of us. He made all of us better people.”


More From Our Partners