After a week outside of the kitchen on MasterChef Junior, the top 18 head back in for a sweet mystery box challenge without sugar. The winner of the mystery box challenge gets a special prize in “No Sugar, Sugar.” In the elimination challenge, three chefs are safe, while the others put their heritage on a plate.

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No Refined Sugar

Christina must have thought up this episode’s first challenge since she’s the baker. However, she throws the contestants for a loop when she announces they will have to make a dessert without refined sugar for the mystery box challenge. After getting doused with sugar, they head to their stations and lift up their boxes to reveal ingredients that are natural sweeteners, such as agave syrup, molasses, maple syrup, honey, bananas, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, dates, shredded coconut and apple sauce. They get 60 minutes to create a dessert without sugar, and the winner will not only get an advantage, but their recipe will be featured in the May issue of Family Circle magazine.

As usual, the chefs walk around while the chefs bake and taste the dishes. When the time is up, the standouts are:

  • 10-year-old Pierce with his vanilla panna cotta with guava-raspberry puree and bruleed blood oranges
  • 8-year-old Maria with her puff pastry plum tart with coconut fruit drink
  • 12-year-old Remy with her baked doughnuts with green tea matcha glaze and chocolate ganache. 

Joe loves Pierce’s panna cotta, and Christina calls it an elegant dessert. Gordon calls Maria’s pastry delicious, but recommends less salt. And finally, Christina and Gordon are blown away by Remy’s doughnuts, with Gordon calling the recipe ground-breaking.

Remy will celebrate her second mystery box win a little later on when she sees her doughnut recipe featured in the magazine, but until then, all three finalists are safe from the elimination challenge and head up to the balcony.

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Honoring Heritage

For the elimination round, each of the judges comes out dressed in something that represents their heritage. Christina is the Statue of Liberty and talks about all of the food from the United States, while Gordon plays some bagpipes and talks about Scotland. Finally, Joe walks out as a pizza slice and talks about Italian dishes. The chefs are then given 60 minutes to make a dish that represents their heritage and culture.

The dishes are as follows:

  • Beni: Deconstructed Polish chicken pot pie with beets, leeks and a biscuit with gravy
  • Cade: Blackened shrimp with buttermilk biscuit, okra and praline sauce
  • Anthony: Linguine and clams 
  • Mikey: Sausage and ricotta ravioli with pesto
  • Quani: Honey barbecue chicken with peach barbecue sauce and coleslaw
  • Arianna: Caramelized apple stuffed pork chop with potato puree and mushroom au jus
  • Mackenzie: California roll with cucumber, crab meat and avocado
  • Sophia: Jerk chicken quesadillas with cold mango soup

Beni wows Gordon, but both Anthony and Arianna wow Joe. Christina doesn’t seem too impressed with the dishes she tries, including Cade and Mackenzie’s. In the end, the judges say that they really enjoyed Anthony and Arianna’s dishes, but the standout of the night is Beni. And then they announce the two going home. While Quani, Cade, Mackenzie and Sophia are in the bottom four, Mackenzie and Sophia are sent home.

In the first few episodes of any MasterChef season, the contestants always seem to make rookie mistakes. There are also so many chefs in the beginning, that it’s hard to keep track of who are the standouts. And while there are a lot of good dishes in “No Sugar, Sugar,” I have to say that nothing really wowed me. That said, I know that as season 6 progresses, each of the remaining chefs will get stronger and present amazing dishes.

I am very impressed with Remy. Her doughnuts looked delicious, you could almost taste them through the screen. I thought the judges made the right decision to send Mackenzie and Sophia home. While their creativeness did impress the judges, their dishes just weren’t good.

Do you think the judges made the right decision? Which dish looked the most appetizing to you? What would you cook for the judges if you had to represent your heritage? Let us know in the comments below.

MasterChef Junior airs Fridays at 8/7c on FOX. Want more news? Like BuddyTV’s MasterChef Junior Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of FOX)


Contributing Writer, BuddyTV