The Top 10 kids head into the MasterChef Junior kitchen pretty pumped that they’ve made it this far. Fresh off her win, Jenna is confident going into the quick ingredient challenge, but could her confidence screw up the team challenge and a friendship? Meanwhile, the chefs work together to present some pretty impressive sushi boats in “Raw Talent.”

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Knowledge is Key in the Kitchen

Cory, Jenna and Nathan had the best chili dishes in the last challenge. They now have to compete for an advantage in the next competition. They are given a list with 20 ingredients on it. In two minutes, they must collect as many items from the list. The catch is that all of the ingredients in the pantry aren’t labeled. Some of those items include star anise, an ostrich egg, a pomegranate and Arborio rice. All three are pretty nervous going into the pantry. In the end, Jenna wins with 10 out of the 20 correct ingredients.

Perfect Cuts and Teamwork

Jenna’s advantage is she gets to choose the teams for the elimination challenge. I don’t really think she puts too much thought into choosing them, though. She chooses Kayla as her teammate. Then she pairs Riley and Andrew, Jimmy and Ayla, Jack and Cory, and Ryan Kate and Nathan. I think she paired some really good chefs together, which is dangerous in team challenges.

It’s a tag team challenge, which means only one person can be working in the kitchen at a time. They then switch every 10 minutes. The other person gets to cheer on their teammate and offer up tips to get the dishes ready.

The dish is a sushi boat, which includes a California roll, tuna and salmon sushi and shrimp tempura. The boat itself looks easy to present, but it’s not really all that simple. As the judges explain, the cuts of the fish are very hard to get right, and the tempura batter is also tough to nail.

Right off the bat, Andrew and Riley are killing it. They cheer each other on, take direction well and just work really well together. On the other hand, Jack and Cory are a mess. However, Jack went into the challenge basically knowing he wasn’t going to work well with Cory. I think this is the only team that Jenna paired together that worked to her advantage. After Cory cuts all of the fish, Jack goes in and tells him each needs to be done again. They constantly argue throughout the hour that they have to cook.

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A Friendship is Tested

Jenna starts to have second thoughts about her partner and buddy Kayla. While they are very good friends, they don’t hit it off as teammates in the kitchen. They constantly bicker and don’t communicate well. At one point, Jenna even tells Kayla that she’ll step away if she isn’t going to listen to her advice. It gets very heated in that kitchen and they pay dearly during the taste test.

Tasting and Elimination

First up in the tasting are Andrew and Riley. Gordon is very impressed with the presentation. He loves the California roll, while Graham loves the tempura. Gordon also commends them on their great teamwork in the kitchen.

Next are Kayla and Jenna. And, as expected, their boat is not great. Both Gordon and Joe offer some tips to better themselves in the kitchen; overall, it’s the worst challenge for the two so far.

Ryan Kate and Nathan do okay with their boat. The tempura is a little greasy according to Graham, but he’s impressed with the presentation. Also, as expected, Cory and Jack’s dish is not great either. The cuts are off and the shrimp is not cooked right, according to Graham.

But the team to win the challenge is Ayla and Jimmy. They kept quiet during the challenge and just plowed through as a great team. Their dish is presented beautifully and the taste, cut and texture are spot-on, according to Joe. This is a great comeback for Jimmy, who almost got sent home earlier in the competition. I’m pretty excited that he’s redeemed himself.

The two chefs that are sent home are Cory and Jack. I really have mixed feelings about this decision, though. While the judges did pick apart their dish, they really ripped into Jenna and Kayla’s. And just by looking at the girls’ dish, it didn’t look as great at the guys’. As much as I love the girls and want a girl to win MasterChef Junior, I don’t necessarily think they should have stayed. Perhaps it was the tears, or maybe just knowing that the two are good chefs, that kept them on. Jack and Cory have been pretty weak competitors throughout this season, so I can see why the judges went that way. I really hope the ladies take a page from Jimmy and step it up in future challenges. It’s now four girls and four guys. A girl needs to win this!

MasterChef Junior airs Tuesdays at 8pm on FOX.

(Image courtesy of FOX)


Contributing Writer, BuddyTV