On this episode of MasterChef Junior, “A Sweet Surprise,” three competitors race to put the finishing touches on a sweet dessert, a former MasterChef Junior winner returns and the home cooks work with seafood.
Twenty two of the most adorable and precocious home cooks continue their journey to becoming the next “MasterChef Junior” and that fat cash prize. The kids are wired and very, very loud.
That’s the Way the Cupcake Crumbles
Jesse, Sam and Addison were last week’s standouts, so this week these three get to compete in a “super sweet challenge.” They are tasked with frosting as close to 60 cupcakes as possible. The person with the most perfectly frosted cupcakes will be safe from elimination. Keep in mind, these kiddos can’t just slop the gooey frosting on any old way. These cupcakes have to look good. Christina gives them a quick lesson on how to create a visually appealing treat and then it’s off to the races.
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In addition, hovering over each judge is a giant piping bag full of frosting. The winning home cook will save one of the judges from being frosted. Addison is playing for Gordon, Sam for Graham and Jesse for Christina. Because the judges will be stuck awaiting the outcome of their gooey fates, they’ve brought in a guest judge, Logan Guleff, the winner of season 2. Self-anointed “Cupcake Queen” Addison, “Addy,” came in third with 10 cupcakes which means Gordon gets slimed. Jesse completed 11 perfect cupcakes, but it was Sam who blew away the competition with 29 cupcakes, sparing Graham from getting frosted.
The Elimination Challenge
The young chefs have one hour to shuck their own live scallops and use them to prepare a restaurant-worthy dish. Gordon gives them a demonstration and there is no part of the process that isn’t a pain in the ass, from opening the shell, to scraping the scallop free and removing the surrounding muscle.
Ian, 8, who suffered a meltdown last week when his dessert didn’t come together, struggles again. He cannot figure out how to get the scallop open and bursts into tears. It’s actually a bit more of a tantrum. His competitors really rally around Ian, giving him encouragement, but the kid is inconsolable. Gordon comes to the rescue and takes care of the hard part, leaving Ian free to focus on his cooking.
Annabelle,10, from Tennessee, burns her scallops with just minutes left to go. She’s able to score two un-shucked scallops from one her competitors.
Tae-Ho, 12, from California, made pan seared scallops over lemon risotto with a beet root and Brussels sprout leaf garnish. Gordon is blown away by all the techniques that Tae-Ho mastered on one plate.
Another standout is Nate, 10, from Philadelphia, PA. Nate prepared pan-seared scallops, sitting on a bed of spinach and Brussels sprouts leaves. His side is a cauliflower mash. Christina thought the mash could use some zing, but she gave props to Nate for making his perfectly-cooked scallops the star of the plate.
Next up is Chad, 9, from NY. He did a take on an Italian surf and turf. Basically, he made spaghetti and meatballs and threw the scallops in for good measure. Graham points out that he’s never seen this combo before and with good reason. Scallops are delicate, and the flavor gets overpowered by the tomato sauce and the meatballs.
Ian, who struggled through the entire challenge, still managed to get something on the plate. His dish is pan-seared scallops with zucchini cakes that are topped with micro greens. Gordon comments that it looks like a dish you would see at any trendy gastro pub. Ian’s scallops are cooked perfectly, but his zucchini cakes are a bit bland.
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Other dishes include:
Vivian: Parmesan-crusted scallops with a lemon-lime couscous and a bacon and corn relish
Derek: pan-seared scallops over Israeli couscous and carrot puree with an herb pesto
Kamilly: California scallops on a bed of spinach with an avocado-lime sauce and quinoa on the side
Amaya: pan-seared scallops with grilled asparagus and bechamel sauce
Annabelle: scallops two ways; a scallop ceviche with lemon and cilantro and pan-seared scallops with zucchini sauce.
The Winning Dish and Two Go Home
It’s no big surprise when Tae-Ho takes the top spot. He blew all the judges away.
Kamilly, Chad, Annabelle and Vivian are the bottom four. Kamilly and Vivan’s dishes weren’t perfect, but they weren’t the worst, so the girls are spared. Chad and Annabelle are forced to say goodbye.
MasterChef Junior airs Fridays at 8pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)