On this episode of MasterChef Junior, “Happy Birthday,” the home cooks cater a birthday party with some very special guests. The pressure test has the contestants constructing a complicated French dessert.
The remaining 16 home cooks are going on a field trip to a ranch in Malibu, CA. They arrive at a very special birthday party complete with rides and a bouncy house. Addison LOVES a good bouncy house, so much so, she wishes she could live in one all the time. Win this competition kiddo, and that dream could become a reality.
It’s a Party and They’ll Cook What They Want To
The party guests consist of 8-13 year olds. Each age group will occupy one table and they will all serve as the judges. The MasterChef Junior competitors will be responsible for catering the entire event. In addition to the 48 kids, there will be another table consisting of Graham and Gordon’s progeny. I guess Christina has yet to hit the reproductive lottery.
The chefs will be split into two teams of eight. Since Nate and Addison had the best two dishes last week, they’ll be the team captains. The teams are as follows:
Blue Team: Addison, Kya, Mia, Kaitlyn, Corey, Zac. Kamilly and Tae Ho
Red Team Nate: Nate, Derek, Sam, Amaya, JJ, Jesse, Avery and Ian
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The menu consists of fish tacos, chicken wings and turkey burgers. Each team has one hour to complete their dishes and 40 minutes to serve. The teams can interpret the three dishes any way they’d like, but Christina reminds them that they are cooking for kids, just like them. Translation: don’t make anything too wacky because the average tween palate likes simple, recognizable food.
Back at home, when Addison, “Addy,” isn’t in the kitchen, she’s on the softball field, and she’s confident and assertive right out of the gate. Poor Nate on the other hand, struggles to keep his team focused. The responsibility of being captain is getting to Nate, and his team is all over the place.
If this was MasterChef, it would be sink or swim. But Gordon sees Nate floundering and pulls the young man aside and informs Nate that he’s got to get it together. Nate takes Gordon’s advice to heart and hustles to get his team focused.
The guests arrive, and the pressure is on. Sam and Jesse who have never worked with a deep fryer before, burn their first batch of chicken wings.
The blue team has hit a snag as well, the seasoning on the fish is way too spicy. They can’t scrap the dish and start over because they are out of fish, so Kaitlyn decides to rinse off the fish, scrapes of the original rub and puts on a new rub consisting of only olive oil, salt and pepper.
The red team is serving a turkey burger with cheddar cheese on a toasted bun, Asian-style chicken wings with a hoisin sauce and fish tacos with coleslaw and a pineapple-mango salsa.
The blue team’s menu consists of a turkey burger with Swiss and cheddar, honey-barebecue wings with a Sriracha Aioli sauce and fish tacos with pureed mango salsa and guacamole.
As the voting begins, the red team runs into a big problem. Because they burned so many of their wings, they don’t have enough to serve everyone. This snafu guarantees the red team will lose votes.
Addison discovers that members of her team have goofed up as well by under-cooking the fish. Nothing screams “party pooper” like kids barfing in the bushes from food poisoning. They have to quickly rally and whip up a new batch of fish to prevent them from losing votes.
With all the votes tallied, Gordon announces the winning team. The blue team emerges victorious which means the red team will have to participate in a pressure test to determine who goes home.
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The Pressure Test
The chefs have 90 minutes to prepare a dessert. But this isn’t your run-of-the mill confectionery delight, it’s a croquembouche. It consists of french pastry balls (cream puffs) piled into a ball and thread together with caramel. This tasty dish not only has to be yummy, but it has to look good as well.
Graham comments that Nate’s creation does pass muster in the presentation department. He ran out of dough, so he’s a few cream puffs short of a croquembouche. (And I mean that literally, not metaphorically.) Nate was also heavy handed with the caramel which he burned. An all-around disaster for Nate.
Derek, who was very confident going into the challenge, didn’t deliver. Derek’s cream puffs were under-cooked, and Gordon criticizes Derek for treating the challenge instead of of giving the dessert the meticulous attention it requires.
Amaya, Avery, Sam, Jesse and JJ all did well although JJ, Amaya and Avery’s presentation wasn’t quite up to par.
The croquembouche may have a powdery dusting of sweetness, but Gordon doesn’t sugar coat his critique of Ian’s dessert, calling it a “croque-mess” and asking Ian if he sat on it. The cream puffs are misshapen but at least they taste okay.
Two More Home Cooks are Eliminated
Christina announces that Sam is the winner. Three other standouts were Avery, Jesse and JJ. Derek, Ian, Nate and Amaya are the bottom four, and Nate and Derek are sent home.
MasterChef Junior airs Fridays at 8pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)