Former Chopped Junior Champion Fuller Goldsmith, 16, Beats Cancer for the Fourth Time
A 16-year-old who previously won Food Network's Chopped Junior and competed on Top Chef Junior is cooking again a year after undergoing his fourth cancer treatment.
In a recent profile with Seattle Children's Hospital, Fuller Goldsmith said he's back in the kitchen and working to pursue his dream of being a professional chef once again after participating in a cancer immunotherapy clinical trial for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which he was first diagnosed with when he was only 3 years old.
Fuller learned that the cancer returned for a fourth time in late 2018 and was urged by his oncologist in Alabama to seek experimental chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell immunotherapy.
“It was scary hearing the cancer had returned especially since at first, we didn’t think we had any options,” his mother Melissa Goldsmith recalled. “It was really encouraging to know there was another option out there and this wasn’t the end of the line.”
Melissa said the family spent two months in Seattle, where the aspiring chef received his CAR T cells.
“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 remembered. “It wasn’t like with the transplant where I was in the hospital for months on end.”
While seeking treatment on the west coast, Fuller's passion for food was reignited and he often visited the the seafood stalls at Pike Place Market, according to his mom.
“He was such a regular at Pike Place that they all got to know him and would call him chef,” Melissa said.
Now, as he remains in remission, Fuller plans on attending culinary school and apprenticing under a top chef, according to the family. He hopes to open two restaurants in the future.
“It’s really rewarding to see kids like Fuller who are so driven toward their dreams that they don’t let cancer stand in their way,” Dr. Rebecca Gardner, one of Fuller’s oncologists at Seattle Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, said. “They are undeterred in their desire to have a future.”
After returning to Alabama, Fuller has been documenting culinary creations on social media amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
"Hope you’re doing well dude! We haven’t heard from you," one fan commented.
Another wrote, "Looks great Chef! Hope you’re doing well!!!"