On the season 4 premiere of MasterChef Junior, “New Kids on the Chopping Block,” 24 home cooks, ages 8-13, embark on their first cooking challenges. The chefs create signature burgers and tasty desserts, and two competitors are sent home.
A new season of MasterChef Junior means it’s time to get your mind blown by a whole new group of tiny home cooks. This year’s competition kicks off with 24 kids and three judges: Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Christina Tosi. One of these tots will win a trophy, a $100,000 and the title of “MasterChef Junior.”
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Mystery Box Challenge
For the first mystery box challenge, the cooks have to create a signature burger with a side of their choosing.
Out of all 24 competitors, the judges single out their top three.
First up is Avery, 9, a Louisiana girl who has crafted a “Sportman’s Paradise Burger” with coleslaw, a creole spread and sweet potato chips. For her protein, Avery used a combination of pork and venison. Gordon and Graham love the seasoning. The only criticism Avery receives is that the bun is a bit soggy.
The judges next pick is Zac, a 12-year-old boy from Orlando, Florida. Zac prepared a chuck and sirloin burger with cheddar cheese and a side of onion rings. Christina calls the burger “picture perfect.” Gordon praises Zac for his classic choice, but he does comment that the onion rings could be crispier.
The third finalist is Kya, the youngest competitor in the bunch. Kya made a wagyu (a type of beef) burger with apple fries. She garnished the burger with cheddar, homemade ketchup and provolone. Graham likes that Kya thought outside the box with her side.
As we all know, there can only be one winner and that is Kya. As the winner, Kya gets to sit out the elimination round and chow down on a cake made by Christina. Kya also gets to pick someone to join her, guaranteeing that person automatically advances. Kya chooses a girl named Vivian.
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The Elimination Challenge
After being bombarded with marshmallows, the cooks learn this will be the go-to ingredient in their next dishes. Before they get down to work, there’s just enough time to shove a few of the fluffy treats into their mouths and engage in a lively marshmallow fight.
After the chaos subsides, the cooks learn they will have 60 minutes to create something amazing, and they all make a mad dash for the pantry.
Personally, I use marshmallows for three things: Rice Krispies Treats, s’mores and on top of sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving. My limited experience has taught me two things: marshmallows can lose their malleability PDQ once melted or burst into flames when held too long and too close to an open flame.
Addison, 9, from Illinois, is a little girl with big dreams. She wants to own her own bakery called “Batter Up” because it would combine her love of baking and softball. Addison’s dish is chocolate cupcake with marshmallow filling topped with a chocolate ganache, roasted marshmallows and an edible flower.
Sam, 10, from Charleston has made a whoopie pie stuffed with a raspberry marshmallow and a chocolate cookie batter. The presentation is great, and I’m not just talking about Sam’s kickass Mohawk. Graham calls the dish a “home run.”
Alexander, 10, from Phoenix is not confident about his dish. His presentation is a bit sloppy. The poor kid bursts into tears as soon as he lays his concoction down in front of the judges. Christina encourages Alexander to love his dessert as much as she thinks she’s going to love it, and he pulls himself together. Alexander has made a marshmallow pie with a banana and graham cracker crust. Christina praises the filling and politely skates over the pie’s obvious flaws.
Kade, 9, from Louisiana hit a few snags as well. He set his marshmallows on fire with a blow torch, resulting in the charred black remains you usually see when putting them on a stick over a camp fire. His dish is a banana split with sweet potato biscuits and a marshmallow sauce. Gordon doesn’t sugar coat it for Kade. (Probably because the kid didn’t turn on the waterworks.) The biscuit was so-so but several components on the dish were burnt.
Jesse, 11, from NYC prepared marshmallow churros with a toasted marshmallow whipped cream. Christina calls the churros amazing.
Other dishes included:
Cory: peach and banana cake topped off with candied raspberries and a side of toasted marshmallows
Mia: marshmallow biscuit with a marshmallow butter and a raspberry gastrique sauce
Ian: apple crostada served with toasted (burnt) marshmallows
The Moment of Truth
Addison, Sam and Jesse are called out as having the three best dishes. Alexander, Ian and Kade are the bottom three.
Ian makes the cut, but Kade and Alexander are eliminated.
MasterChef Junior airs Fridays at 8pm on FOX.
(Image courtesy of FOX)