A Little Update

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Dear Readers:

I have not posted since June 6th. On June 16th I injured my ankle and I have been working hard trying to mend since then. I appreciate all the well wishes, the cards and surprise videos. They have helped me feel better. Thank you to all my MasterChef and Chopped Junior Friends! You are all the best. I promise I will return to my blog as soon as possible. I’m excited The Kids Baking Championship will be airing soon and hope to restart my recaps with this new season.

In the mean time feel free to look through my blog. This week MasterChef Season 7 Winner Sean was featured on the latest MasterChef episode. You can read all about his winning season in my archives.

Also, visit me on Instagram  maxpanke   &  Twitter  @jrmastercheffan

All kind words of encouragement are appreciated!

Thanks Everyone!

Max

My Fantasy MasterChef JR S6 x E25 & 26

Episode 25 The Semi Finals! To get the first spot in the Finale the top 5 must cook their Signature Dish. Ariana’s Kalbi Short Ribs are glazed nicely and have tremendous flavor. Ben’s Fried Chicken looks amazing, but it is undercooked. Beni’s Lime Chicken is nicely done but she was a little heavy handed with the salt. Evan’s Baked Chicken is cooked well and tastes amazing. And Gracie’s Scallops are very undercooked and bland. The first young home cook to make it into the Finale is … ARIANA!!! She is thrilled. She takes her MasterChef Junior Chef Coat and goes up to the balcony.

 

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The remaining 4 cooks will bake French Macarons with a randomly chosen flavor. Evan gets Vanilla, Ben gets Strawberry, Beni gets Chocolate and Gracie gets Pistachio. Evan’s macarons have smooth cheeks and fantastic feet. The meringue has a nice crunch and the vanilla filling is the perfect compliment. Ben put small chunks of actual strawberry in his cream filling and it cause the cookie shells to become soggy. Beni’s Macarons look amazing and the chocolate cream filling goes well with vanilla flavored meringue cookie. And Gracie’s Macarons are a bit small and rough on top because of the crushed pistachios. The next two home cooks going to the Finale are … EVAN and BENI!!!

 

They hug each other, get their MasterChef Junior Chef Coats and head up to the balcony to join Ariana. Ben and Gracie will now compete for the last spot in the Finale by making 3 Cheese Soufflés!!! Not an easy challenge for either cook. The judges taste them at the same time and talk about it with each other. And the last home cook to make it into the MasterChef Jr Finale is … BEN!!!

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Sadly, Gracie is going home. Christina says, “You have brought so much love into this kitchen Gracie. Your tenacity in coming back from last season has paid off. We have seen you grow as a cook and as a person. I have really enjoyed getting to know you.” Gracie says, “Before you ask me, I want to say that I think Evan will win because he keeps his head when things get crazy. Being on this show has been so much fun. I wish I could do it all over again next year 😉!” Evan, Beni and Ariana come down from the balcony to join Ben in the shrinking group hug goodbye. Saying goodbye is getting harder and harder.

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Episode 26 It’s time for the Finale! Ariana, Ben, Beni and Evan will cook a 3 course meal and 2 of them will be declared winners. The finalists’ families and all the Season 6 contestants are cheering from the balcony. MasterChef Junior Season 1 Winner Alexander is the guest judge!
For the Appetizer Evan made Grilled Chicken Tacos. Christina says, “The chicken is so succulent. It is the star of the dish!” Aarón disagrees, “This salsa is the star! It is bright and flavorful and brings a ordinary taco up to MasterChef Level.” Beni made Spot Prawns. They are a beautiful red color and the meat tastes incredible but Gordon says, “The broth is a bit too spicy hot for me. Too much cayenne?” Aarón disagrees, “I enjoy the heat, Gordon. I think it adds a depth of flavor unmatched in most seafood dishes.” Ben made Spicy Pork Sausage. Before Gordon tastes the dish he says, “It looks okay Ben, but maybe not a Finale worthy dish.” Again Aarón disagrees, “If the flavors are elevated it could be as good as any Beef Wellington!” The sausage is actually amazingly delicious and Alexander says, “I think Chef Aarón was right. You did something very special here, all on a toasted bun. Great job!” And Ariana surprises the judges with Shrimp & Grits. Both elements are spot on. Gordon says, “I wasn’t expecting a southern style dish from you, but this is amazing. You took Shrimp & Grits to another level. Did you use a Belarusian trick with your seasoning? Well done.”
For the Entrée Evan made Double Cut Pork Chop. The pork is the perfect temperature and cooked beautifully. Aarón says, “I love, love, love this Cactus Sauce! It brings me back to my childhood.” Alexander says, “I’m super amazed by your talent and creativity in this dish.” Ben made Brisket. Sadly he did not trim the fat enough and it does not taste as good as it could. Some of the judges think it is a bit overcooked, but Alexander got the best serving and says, “Mine is very good. I know it’s tough to have a dish not go the way you hope, but if I learned anything in the MasterChef Kitchen it’s that mistakes make you better. Gog job!” Ariana made Goat Chops. The chops have an amazing sear and meat is cooked perfectly. Christina says, “I’ve never had this cut of meat before Ariana and I am excited to try something so special. Your seasoning is on point and you have created an elevated dish that I won’t soon forget.” And Beni made Duck Breast. Alexander says, “You got an excellent sear, this skin is spectacular. I love it.” Aarón agrees, “And the cook on this meat is top notch. I’m always looking for chefs that cook duck as well as this for my restaurants. And you’re only nine years old!?”
The finally for Dessert Evan made Peanut & Coconut Cookies. When Christina cuts into one it is nice and moist. Aarón says, “You know, I always asked my mom to make cookies for me when I was growing up, and these remind me of the ones I used to love. You can bake, man, you can bake.” Beni’s Mini Apple Pie is beautiful. The crust and lattice work is golden and crisp and the pie cuts well, but some of the apples slices are a bit too big. Christina explains, “If you cut your apples pieces too big they don’t cook all the way through and effect the taste of the pie. This is a small knife skills mistake, but small mistakes are important when everyone is cooking at such a high level.” Ariana’s Pirozhnoe Kartoshka are amazing. Alexander says, “I didn’t know potatoes could be made into dessert, but these are delectable.” Christina says, “You went back to your roots and elevated something as simple as a potato into an elegant chocolate sponge. I’m beyond impressed, I’m jealous.” And Ben made a Chocolate Bunt Cake. The sponge is amazing and deep flavor of the chocolate is remarkable. Christina says, “You nailed this cake, Ben, but I’m not sure about the raw strawberries on top. They made the cake a bit soggy on top.” Alexander agrees, “I love the strawberries as a counter point to the deep chocolate flavors, but I think they would have been better on the side. And by the way, your hand whipped cream is THE BEST I’ve ever tasted. Can you show me how you made that after the show?”

The judges remind the finalists they are all great cooks and they have all created amazing meals. It is incredibly hard to pick the winners and that it comes down to the smallest of details. Aarón says, “No matter who wins today, you are all definitely going places in the culinary world!” The After much debate they choose 2 winners. The finalists are asked to switch places with the judges on the main stage. And the 2 winners of MasterChef Jr Season 6 are …

EVAN AND ARIANA!!!

They are in shock and hug each other. Beni is so happy for her friend Evan she almost knocks him over with a big hug. A teary eyed and overjoyed Aarón also hugs Evan and says “Amazing Job Man!” Christina wraps her arms around Ariana and says “You deserve it, Girl!” Gordon hugs both Ben and Beni and tells them, “You are amazing cooks! It’s been a pleasure working with you! I hope to see you again when you open your own restaurants someday!” Then all the kids come forward to congratulate their friends! Evan and Ariana get $100,000 each and MasterChef Jr Trophies. Ben and Beni get $50,000 each and MasterChef Jr Medals. The show ends with the biggest group hug of the season and tons of confetti covering them all! Someone is heard saying, “We’ll always be friends.”

 The End 😊

 

 

My Fantasy MasterChef JR S6 x E23 & 24

Episode 23 The Top 6 will cook for 30 MasterChef Jr Alumni. Evan is the Captain of the Red Team and Gracie is Captain of the Blue Team, but the judges pick the teams.

Ariana and Beni are on Evan’s team

and Ben and Sammy are on Gracie’s team.

During the cook time Sammy undercooks the lamb and it goes to the Winner’s Table! They send it back. Ben takes charge and completes the cook, but this is a big error.

Evan is an amazing captain for his team. He checks in with Ariana and Beni and helps as they need it.

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All the kids are happy to see other young home cooks like Adam, Avery and Jack. And the previous winners Alexander, Dara, Logan, Adaiah, Nathan, Ryan Kate, Zac, Nate, Shayne and Adam

I loving tasting the food and seeing their friends again. The votes are counted and the winning team is … RED TEAM!!! Evan gives his team a hug and says, “Great job! I love working with you two so much!”

Tomorrow Gracie, Ben and Sammy must make the technically challenging Croquembouche in the final Pressure Test. But today, they get to hang out with all the guests and talk MasterChef Junior experiences.
Back in the MasterChef Kitchen Gracie nails her Cream Puffs. And Christina says, “Your spun sugar is a work of art. It’s magical!” Sammy’s Cream Puffs are heavenly and his sugar covers the entire tower. Gordon says, “These pastries are so good, I want to eat more and more of them!” Ben’s structure is a bit crooked, but the pastry is light and Aarón says, “This vanilla cream is to die for!” And the cook going home is …. NO ONE! All 3 did so amazing they all deserve to stay and keep cooking in the MasterChef Kitchen!

Episode 24 The top 6 will cook a dish inspired by their families. The first best dish belongs to Gracie with her Pan Seared Salmon. She made this dish because her family loves fish. The cook is spot on and the glaze on top is stunning and delicious. The next dish belongs to Ben. He made Cupcakes because his family loves it when he bakes for them. They are light and fluffy and the frosting on top is one of the best Christina ever tasted! And the last dish belongs to Sammy. He made Pan Seared Chicken Thigh because this is the dish they always order when they go to restaurants. It is a bit overcooked but the skin is nice and crispy and the sauce on the side more than makes on for it.

And the winner is … GRACIE!!! She has won her way to the semifinals and a great advantage.

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The 5 remaining cooks are sent to the pantry to fill their baskets with all the ingredients they need to make an amazing dish. YES! When they return to their stations there is a twist. Gracie gets to switch the baskets!!!! NO! Evan gets Ben’s Basket, Sammy gets Ariana’s Basket, Ben gets Beni’s Basket, Ariana gets Evan’s Basket and Beni gets Sammy’s Basket.

Evan made BBQ Ribs and they are amazing. The meat is tender and juicy and the sauce is an explosion of flavor. Gordon says, “I love how you were able to quickly change directions and adapt to the new ingredients. You show signs of a great chef young man.” Ben’s Chicken Pot Pie sticks to the pot so he has to serve it in the cookery. Christina says, “I think you may have kept it in the oven a few minutes too long, because it is a little dry, but overall, the flavors are there and it tastes pretty good.” Beni’s Mac & Cheese is super creamy and Aarón says, “You surprised me with the flavors in your mac and cheese. Your choice of spice blows my mind!” Ariana’s Sea Bass is a glistening white and flakes like a dream. Gordon says, “Your miso glaze is mature and tastes like it came from a four star restaurant!” Sammy’s Steak is overcooked and the sides are not that good. Gordon says, “I think you could have done better with this challenge. This simply is not good enough.”

EVAN and ARIANA are the top 2

and Ben and Sammy are in the bottom. Because his dish was slightly better, the cook moving forward to the Semi Finals is … Ben. Sadly, a teary eyed Sammy is going home. Gordon says, “Sammy, Sammy. Today was a rough day in the kitchen for you. I’ve had days like this too. But you are a great cook and if you keep working at it, I think you can be a great chef someday. Please tell me you will keep cooking.” Sammy says, “I will Chef. Thank you.” Gordon says, “Good man. Now, tell me, who do you think will win this competition?” Sammy answers, “Evan will win.” Evan hugs him goodbye and says “I will miss you so much.” This time, all the kids walk Sammy to the back of the Kitchen and wave to him as he walks out the doors.

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My Fantasy MasterChef JR S6 x E21 & 22

Episode 21 The top 8 arrive at Big Bear Lake where they will cook fish for the three judges. Winners from the last challenge, Beni & Evan, are Team Captains and flip a coin to see who gets first pick.

Beni wins the toss and gets to choose whether she will pick her team mate or the type of fish her team will work with. Beni wants to pick her teammates and so the Red Team members are Ben, Quani & Sophia.

That means Evan’s Blue Team members are Ariana, Gracie & Sammy.

Now Evan gets to pick between Salmon or Halibut. He picks Salmon, so the Red Team will cook Halibut. During the cook time Evan helps Sammy who is having trouble frying the potatoes. On the Red Team Sophia drops the fish in the sand and Beni helps her cook a new one!!

The judges try both dishes. The Blue Team’s Salmon is nice and pink, has crispy skin and the seasoning is spot on. The fish tastes delicious and the potatoes and veggies are cooked nicely. The Red Team’s Halibut is cooked well, but it is a bit over seasoned and the grilled veggies are still raw. The winning team is … BLUE TEAM!!!
For the Pressure Test the Red Team has to make Éclairs. Beni’s Strawberry Éclairs are firm and the strawberry cream works very well as a filling. Sophia puts big chucks of pineapple in her éclairs and the dough ends up undercooked. Christina says, “It’s never a good idea to put fruit directly into the Pate a Choux dough, whole fruit is best saved for fillings or glazes. And pineapple is especially fibrous.” Next, Quani’s Chocolate Éclairs are troubled. They are super flat and kind of fall apart when Aarón tries to lift it off the plate. Luckily, the flavors are there. “They actually taste pretty good, Quani.” Ben’s White Chocolate Éclairs are amazing. The shells are baked perfectly and the white chocolate cream filling is beyond yummy. Gordon says, “OMG. These are so good. I want everyone here to try a bite!” And they do. And they agree.

Not surprisingly, the best box of Éclairs belongs to … BEN!!!

@mcjr-s6_15-Ben-Gray_1104_pBeni is also safe. That leaves Sophia and Quani. And the young home cook heading to the top 7 is … Quani! Sadly, that means Sophia is going home.☹ Christina says, “Sophia, you are an amazing cook. And an amazing person to watch in the kitchen. Let your creativity continue to guide you. It’s very special.” Group hug and promises to keep cooking. Then Sophia says, “I think Ariana will win in the end. She is one of the best cooks I have ever met! Good luck to everyone though!”

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Episode 22 The top 7 find canned food under their Mystery boxes. They must open the cans and make a dish out of at least one canned item. By the looks of it, not everyone has used a hand held can opener before, and some of them struggle getting the tops off the cans. But they do. And they cook their hearts out. And three of them get called to the front for tasting. The first best dish belongs to Sammy. He made Smoked Sardines over pickled cabbage. Gordon says, “Somehow you managed to smoke these little guys perfectly and make a fantastic dish. I love the simplicity. Well done.” The next dish belongs to Evan. He made Pumpkin Sweet Potato Ravioli. Aarón says, “No one would believe this elevated dish started in a can. It looks beautiful.” And it tastes beautiful too. Evan hit this one out of the park. And the last best dish belongs to Gracie with her Peach Cake. Christina says, “It is moist, it is light, it is peach perfect young lady. You are baking beyond your years!”

And the winner is … EVAN!!! He is not safe, but he wins an advantage for the Elimination Challenge.

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Aprons on! Everyone has to cook a cut of beef, and Evan gets to decide who gets what cut, including himself. Evan takes the Filet Mignon. He gives the Flank Steak to Beni, the Hanger to Ariana, the T-Bone to Ben, the Rib Eye to Sammy, the Flat Iron to Quani, and the New York Strip to Gracie.

During the cook time Beni’s steak appears to be burning on the grill. Evan goes to her station to warn her to turn down the heat. He says, “Yes, I want to win. But Beni is my friend and no matter what I am going to help my friend.”

Time is up so fast. Sammy’s Rib-Eye is overcooked, it has become tough and chewy. Gordon says, “This is too bad, Sammy. You had the cut everyone wanted, but you left it too long in oven. One thing though, this seasoning is very good. It’s something I would like to have again.” Beni’s Flank Dish looks a bit messy on the plate, but it tastes amazing. When she walks back to her station she stops to give Evan a hug and thank him for helping her save her dish from ruin. Ben did not adequately sear the fat off the T-Bone and it tastes too fatty. Some of the meat is cooked nicely though, and Aarón says, “There are some great bites here, for that I’m grateful.” Evan’s Filet Mignon is as good as it gets. It has an incredible sear on every side and the herb butter he melted on top makes it taste even better than it should!!! Christina says, “This is the best filet I’ve had in all the MasterChef shows. I want to keep eating.” Gracie nailed the cook and presentation of the New York Strip. Gordon says, “You have done justice to this beautiful cut of meat. This is as good as any cook in my kitchens could make. I’m serious. You have blown me away young lady.” Ariana has a nice cook on her Hanger Steak. Aarón says, “I like the way you marinated your cut. You were able to make it tender and delicious. I just wish it had more of a sear to hold in all those flavors.” And Quani’s Flank Steak is seriously undercooked. Christina says, “Quani, I’m afraid you spent too much time chopping too much garlic. Your steak needed more time on the grill, and less garlic. It overpowers my palette.”

EVAN & GRACIE cook the best steaks of the night.

Sammy & Quani are the bottom 2. And sadly, the young chef going home is … Quani. ☹ Aarón says, “Quani, I’m really sorry to see you go. I have enjoyed watching you grow as a chef in these past weeks. I hope we get to work together in the future, because you are going to become a great chef one day.” The judges and chefs take turns giving Quani individual hugs goodbye. Quani is all smiles. He says, “I had so much fun here. I wish I wasn’t going home. And before you ask Chef, I think Evan will probably be one of the winners. But it could be anyone, because everyone here is that good.”

 

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My Fantasy MasterChef JR S6 x E19 & 20

Episode 19 The Top 10 will make a Lamb dish with at least two sides. They will work in teams of 2. The wining team will have their recipe in Family Circle Magazine. The judges put Ben & Emily, Sammy & Gracie, Beni & Quani, Evan &Ariana, and Cade & Sophia together.

During the cook time Cade & Sophia struggle with communication. Cade wants to use his Southern style of cooking and Sophia wants to use her Hawaiian flare. They take so long deciding what to do, they never complete their sides and just get the lamb on the plate. Gordon cuts into the lamb to find it undercook. He says, “This is upsetting. You are both better cooks than this. And it is ridiculous you do not have any sides.” Evan & Ariana made Spiced Herb-crusted Lamb Chop. They nailed the cook on the lamb. It is seasoned well and tastes delicious. Christina likes the spring themed sides, shelled peas and glazed carrots. Sammy & Gracie make Grilled Lamb Chop. It has amazing grill marks and the meat is tender. Aarón says, “Overall, a good job.” Beni & Quani cooked their lamb well, however they overcook the side of zucchini and undercook the potatoes.
And Ben & Emily’s dish has some real problems. The lamb is undercooked and the sauce they made for it is broken. Gordon says, “I don’t know what happened today, but this is the worst performance from both of you.” The wining dish belongs to EVAN & ARIANA!!! Gracie & Sammy and Quani & Beni are also safe.


That means Ben & Emily and Sophia & Cade are going to the Elimination Test. After Gordon demonstrates the necessary techniques they have to replicate Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb with Cauliflower Purée and Shallot Vinaigrette. Ben’s lamb is spot on, the seasoning is perfect and all the elements are flavorful. Christina says, “ I knew you could bake. Now I know you can cook as well!” Sophia also cooked her lamb to perfection and Aarón is impressed that even though she does not cook lamb a lot she stayed focused and got it done.

Sadly, both Emily and Cade have undercooked their lamb. The judges tell them they must cook their dishes again! When they put the new dishes up, the judges taste them at the same time and then go to talk. The young home cook who is safe by the slightest of margins is … Cade, since his was seasoned better. So Emily is going home. ☹ The other cooks surround her with hugs and well wishes. On her way out Gordon asks Emily who she thinks the final winner will be. She smiles and says, “Evan. I think Evan will win.”

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Episode 20 The 9 remaining home cooks arrive at their station and lift their Mystery Boxes to find a huge jar of Nutella, that deliciously sweet hazelnut and chocolate spread from Italy! They have 60 minutes to make a restaurant quality dish with this ingredient. Everyone is excited to work up until the last moment when Aarón shouts, “Times up! Hands in the air!” The first best dish belongs to Gracie with her Nutella cookies. She baked them nicely and the Nutella shines. The next best dish belongs to Ben. He made Nutella Filled Donuts. They are super fluffy and Christina says, “They taste divine. I like how you are showing your baking skills.” The last best dish belongs to Beni with her Nutella Turnovers. The pastry is a golden crisp and they are filled nicely.

And the winner of the Mystery Box Challenge is … BEN!!!! He is in top 8 and gets to pick the teams for the Picnic Platter Tag Team Challenge. The platters with include Lobster Rolls, Sliders, Scotch Eggs, Homemade Tortilla Chips with Salsa & Baked Cookies.
Ben pairs Beni & Evan, Sammy & Cade, Quani & Gracie and Ariana & Sophia.

During the cook time Evan and Beni are doing amazing. They talk about what to do before the switch and keep cheering each other on! Sophia and Ariana are also working well together. Unfortunately, Sammy and Cade are having trouble coordinating their efforts and they are yelling at each other a lot. And Quani and Gracie are also having problems working as a team.

Time is up. Evan and Beni are up first. Evan says working with Beni was fun because she is one of his best friends. Their platter looks amazing. The lobster rolls are cooked nicely, the sliders are medium rare, and the Scotch eggs are spot on. Beni made her grandmother’s shortbread cookies and Christina says they are better than at Milk Bar. And Evan’s spiced chips are incredible. Quani and Gracie’s platter is not as good. The burgers are hammered and the lobster lacks flavor. The chips are burnt and the cookies are under baked. Gordon says, “Gracie, you did do a good job on the Scotch eggs, so lunch is not a total loss.” Sophia and Ariana’s platter is fine. Sophia did well on the lobster roll and Ariana’s burgers are nicely cooked, but their Scotch eggs are a tad overworked and taste greasy. Sammy and Cade’s platter is a disaster. They forgot the Scotch eggs, the sliders and lobster tail are undercooked, the cookies are dry and broken and the chips are soggy. Aarón says, “My oh my, this platter just never came together. I want to say something positive, but there are technical problems with every element.” The best team is … EVAN & BENI!!!

And the worst team is Sammy & Cade. The young cook the judges think did slightly better is … Sammy. So that means Cade is going home, again. ☹ Christina says, “Cade, I want you to know what a pleasure it has been to have you here in the MasterChef Kitchen. You bring so much positivity to everything you do. Don’t lose that!” All the kids hug him goodbye, and before Gordon can ask, Cade turns and says, “I think my platter partner Sammy will win. I know he’s got what it takes!”

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My Fantasy MasterChef JR S6 x E16, 17, 18

Episode 16 Redemption Challenge! The last 8 eliminated kids – Anthony, Avery, Cade, Gracie, Grayson, Henry, Juelz & Zia – come back to the MasterChef Kitchen to try and win their way back into the competition. Two will succeed. All the kids are super excited to see their friends again and there is a lot of cheering from the balcony! For the first challenge the 8 returning cooks will cook as many fried eggs as they can in thirty minutes. The top 6 will move on to the next round. GRACIE and GRAYSON both make 14 perfect sunny-side-up eggs. AVERY makes 13. HENRY makes 10, ZIA and CADE both make 9. Sadly, Anthony and Juelz make only 8 and do not advance to the next round. Everyone waves goodbye as they leave the kitchen for the second time this season.
Now the remaining 6 kids will have to remake the dish they were sent home on, but the judges will only taste 4 dishes, and choose 2 winners. Avery, Cade, Gracie & Grayson’s dishes are chosen to come forward, so sadly everyone has to say goodbye to Zia and Henry again. On her way out Zia says, “It was so much fun to come back and try again. That Tilly Burger is a tough dish for me!”

Time for the tasting. Gracie’s Homemade Sausage on a Roll is nicely cooked and the seasoning is perfect. Christina says, “You just might be the last one out and the first back with these flavors missy. Terrific job!” Grayson’s Vanilla Layered Cake is baked well and the frosting tastes good, but the sponge is a bit too sweet. Cade’s Salmon en Croûte is nice and pink on the inside and golden brown on the outside. The mustard is a bit strong for Gordon, but Aarón likes that Cade is not afraid of using spice. And Avery’s Chicken & Potatoes is better than her first attempt, the chicken is cooked well, but still, it lacks seasoning. The first young home cook coming back is … GRACIE and the second young cook is … CADE! That means Avery and Grayson are going home for a second time. ☹ Christina, Gordon & Aarón decide they will walk Avery and Grayson to the doors while Gracie and Cade run up to the balcony to rejoin their friends. It is all Goodbyes and Welcome Backs in the MasterChef Kitchen!

Episode 17 The Top 12 arrive at a local park where they will cook for a Bounce House & Fireworks Party. Quani is the Red Team Captain and picks Ariana, Ben, Emily, Mikey & Sophia.

Gracie is the Blue Team Captain and picks Beni, Cade, Evan, Maria & Sammy.

On the Red Team Ben is doing amazing grill work on the porkchops. When Sophia puts out fried fish that is practically raw, Gordon says “This is not a sushi bar!’ On the Blue Team Gracie asks Evan to help Maria grill the pork. He works fast to pull the meat from the fire and get it on the plates. The judges tell everyone the winning team will be announced tomorrow back in the MasterChef Kitchen. For now, everyone did such a great job, they should bounce and eat and enjoy the fireworks before heading back to the hotel. 😊

Back in the MasterChef Kitchen the teams line up to learn the vote was incredibly close. By only three votes, the winning team is … THE RED TEAM!!! The Blue Team is heading to the dreaded Pressure Test. They will cook Lobster Tail. Gracie’s lobster is cooked well and the broth is amazing. Gordon says, “I’m so happy you came back to show us what you can do.” Sadly, Sammy overcooked his lobster, it is tough and chewy. Aarón says, “This one got away from you buddy, but I want you to know that this broth is delicious.” Evan’s lobster tail is amazing. Christina says, “I don’t know how you learned to make broth like this at your age, but I am impressed. This lobster is sweet and tender and the best I’ve tasted in this kitchen!” Maria’s lobster is undercooked and there is little to no broth in the bowl. Beni nailed the cook on the lobster, but she added too much spice to the broth. Gordon asks, “How much pepper did you put into your broth? Too much I think.” Cade’s lobster tail was covered by broth that didn’t have much flavor. Luckily for him the lobster itself was cook well and with a little butter would have been delicious.

Gracie, Evan & Beni are the top 3. Then Sammy is saved.

And then Cade is saved. Which means the next young home cook leaving the MasterChef Kitchen is … Maria. ☹ She breaks down crying and Christina gives her a handkerchief and tells her, “You are an amazing cook. Don’t ever underestimate your talents in the kitchen. Chin up!” Maria smiles and runs to the kids who are waiting to squish her in a group hug. Someone picks her up, because we see her feet dangling in the air before she heads to the doors. 😊

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Episode 18 The Top 11 arrive for a difficult Skills Test. They have to shuck as many scallops as they can in 15 minutes. The six young cooks who successfully open and clean the most scallops will be in the Top 10! Ariana, Ben, Beni, Quani, Sammy & Sophia do the best. They are safe and head up to the balcony.

The 5 remaining young cooks have to cook the scallops they shucked. During the cook time Gracie drops her scallops on the floor. They are ruined. Before she can get too upset Evan gives her a few of his and encourages her to keep going. Christina says, “Did you see that? I hope Evan saved enough scallops for his dish.”

When time is up Evan is the first one called to bring up his dish. His scallops are seared beautifully on both sides, and cooked just the right amount. His seasoning is on point and they taste mind blowing. Gordon is shocked an 11 year old can look like this. Mikey overcooked his scallops. They are very rubbery and he did not get enough seasoning on them. Gracie over seasoned her scallops a bit, but they have an amazing sear and are very tender inside. Cade cooked and seasoned his scallops well however, he didn’t clean them properly and left a bit of the side muscle. And unfortunately for Emily, 2 out of 3 of her scallops are undercooked. But the one that is cooked well is absolutely stunning. Christina ate the whole thing.

 

Evan, Cade and Gracie are safe, they are in the top 10.

That leaves two young cooks who really struggled with this difficult challenge. Thanks to her brilliant scallop, Emily is safe, so the cook who just misses being in the top 10 is … Mikey☹. Cade looks devastated. Mikey smiles at him and says, “I think you can go all the way and win it buddy!” Everyone comes down from the balcony, and the judges come down from the stage, to hug Mikey goodbye. Gordon ruffles his hair and says, “Keep cooking. You are going to have your own Italian restaurant someday and I’m going to come and try your food!”

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My Fantasy MasterChef JR S6 x E13, 14, 15

Episode 13 The top 14 will be cooking a wedding dinner in a hotel! Evan is the Red Team Captain. He picks Anthony, Ariana, Ben, Beni, Gracie & Sammy for his team.

Grayson is the Blue Team Captain. He picks Cade, Emily, Maria, Mikey & Quani for his team

. They will be working in the hotel kitchen to making Gordon’s signature Beef Wellington & Nathan’s Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb. During the cook time Red Team’s Gracie can’t wrap the Beef Wellington correctly, but Ariana shows her how to do it. Meanwhile, Ben is getting an amazing sear on the lamb. Over on the Blue Team Cade allows undercooked lamb and raw beef to leave the kitchen. The guests send the dishes back and Gordon is not happy. Grayson sends Mikey to take over the meat, but the damage is done.

The winning team is … RED TEAM!!!!!
Back in the MasterChef Kitchen the Blue Team gets to save one kid from the dreaded Pressure Test and they save Grayson, since he was a great Captain. The remaining 6 Blue Team members will make the technically difficult Salmon en Croûte. Quani’s salmon is perfectly pink. His mustard dressing gives it a nice heat and the puff pastry is baked well. Mikey overcooked his salmon a bit and his mustard is too hot, but the pastry has good color and is crisp. Sophia’s fish is overcooked. Gordon expected her to do better, but thankfully, she nailed everything else. Emily’s fish is spot on, and pastry works, but it lacks the mustard’s flavorful punch. Cade is having a tough day. His salmon is not cooked, the pastry is wet and he forgot the mustard! Even though Maria’s salmon is small, it tastes amazing.

Quani, Emily and Maria are the top 3.

Mikey, Sophia and Cade are in the bottom.

Gordon sends Mikey and Sophia to the balcony, so the one going home is … Cade. ☹ He says, “Did you ever have one of those days where everything went wrong? That’s the kind of day I had. But I’m glad to have been here and met all these great folks. I’m going home to work on this pastry fish dish until I get it perfect!” 😊 He gets lots of hugs and compliments before he leaves.

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Episode 14 The top 13 are excited to see MasterChef Jr winner SHAYNE back in the kitchen!

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Today they will be cooking with some of his most favorite things ingredients: venison, lobster tail, rib-eye, bacon and Cajun Seasoning. The first best dish belongs to Gracie with her Pan Seared Venison. Shayne loves the cook and seasoning and he just wants to keep eating it. The next best dish belongs to Sammy with his Cajun Seasoned Rib-Eye. The sear and cook is amazing. Shayne says, “If you’re cooking at this level, I’d be terrified if you were in my season!” The last best dish belongs to Quani with his Lobster Tail. He poached it nicely in seasoned butter and Shayne loves it so much he wants to finish the whole thing. Shayne and the judges spend a great deal of time trying to choose the best of the best. They finally make their decision. And the winner is … GRACIE … and SAMMY … and QUANI!!! All 3 win!

 


The ten remaining cooks will be baking a layer cake in the Elimination Challenge. A minimum of three layers are required! Ariana’s Vanilla Cake looks good but it is under baked and the sponge has no flavor. The vanilla buttercream frosting is very good. Ariana goes back to her station tearing up but Evan gives her a warm hug and tells her to stay positive, it’s going to be okay. Evan’s Tres Leches Cake is expertly baked. The layers are moist and taste delicious. Aarón says, “My mind is blown. An eleven-year-old made a cake it took me years to perfect.” Beni’s Coconut Cake is baked well, however some of the shredded coconut pieces are too big. Christina tells her, “When it comes to baking, everything has to be precise, even the size of the toppings.” Grayson’s Strawberry & Cream Cake is very unbaked. The added strawberries threw off the balance in the recipe and ruined the sponge. Ben’s Chocolate Cake is baked perfectly and very sweet. Gordon and Aarón are put off by the sweetness, but Christina loves it. Emily’s Vanilla Cake lacks frosting between layers, but the sponge is nice and tastes pretty great. Anthony’s Chocolate Cake is covered in too much frosting which overpower the delicate sponge layers. His layers are impressive though, he had six of them.

The top 3 best cakes of the night belongs to BEN, EMILY & EVAN!!!

Anthony, Grayson & Ariana are in the bottom.

Anthony is saved because of his great layering, then Ariana is called forward. Her frosting saved the day. that means … Grayson is the next to go home. ☹ Instead of leaving the kitchen directly, Aarón suggests everyone bring out their cakes and have a small going away party for Grayson. And that’s just what they do. 😊

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Episode 15 The top 12 cooks arrive in the MasterChef Kitchen to find out they will be working in teams of two today. The judges have paired Ariana & Evan, Ben & Beni, Mikey & Emily, Quani & Sophia, Maria & Anthony, and Sammy & Gracie. Everyone will make a Beef Wellington from scratch, then the teams will have to decide who brings their dish to the judges for tasting. Evan & Ariana are up first. They pick Evan’s Wellington because Ariana’s crust did not have the golden brown color it needed. Evan nailed the cook on the beef, the crêpe is cooked well and the puff pastry is practically perfect. All 3 judges love the taste. Up next, Quani & Sophia. They show Sophia’s Wellington because Quani thinks he might have overcooked the filet. Sophia’s filet is just right and the puff pastry is buttery and crisp. Sammy & Gracie choose to bring up Sammy’s Wellington because Gracie didn’t finish hers. It was still cooking in the oven when time was called. But Sammy forgot the crêpe and the beef is hammered on the inside☹. Ben & Beni have a hard time choosing the best Wellington. They both think they nailed it. So Ben does Eeny, meeny, miny, moe and Beni wins. Her Wellington is a home run. She nailed the cook on the meat the she got the best texture on the crêpe. Emily & Mikey decide Mikey’s Wellington is visually the best, but sadly the beef ends up being overcooked. The other elements are spot on. Gordon says, “What a shame.” And Anthony & Maria pick Anthony’s Wellington because he feels like he nailed it and Maria is not so sure. Turns out, Anthony’s meat is severely undercooked and the crêpe is soggy and the pastry is raw on the inside. Evan & Ariana, Quani & Sophia, Ben & Beni did the best. It is so close the judges can’t pick a winner, but all of them are safe. Emily & Mikey did just enough for safety too.


So Sammy, Gracie, Anthony & Maria will go on to the dreaded Pressure Test, where not one, but TWO kids will go home!

They will make a Homemade Sausage on a Roll. Sammy’s uses two kinds of meat and it pays off. 😊 Christina says, “This is extremely delicious!” Anthony’s chicken sausage is pink and Gordon can’t eat it because it is dangerously undercook. Gracie’s sausage is seasoned well, but it is overcooked and dry. And Maria’s sausage is cooked well, but it lacks seasoning. Aarón says, “I’m just not detecting much flavor here.” Sammy is saved first. Next, Maria is saved because the other sausages were worse than hers. That means Gracie and Anthony are going home. Everyone is shocked. There are hugs all around, and tears. Evan says, “I will miss you guys so much!”