Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S3x05

mj305dmThe fifth fantastic episode starts with the top 8 young cooks walking into the MasterChef Kitchen. It’s time for the next Mystery Box and inside the cooks find only one ingredient – Bananas! Their challenge is to cook a restaurant quality dish that has bananas in it.

Time is up the first best dish belongs to Jenna who made Coconut Shrimp with Banana Coconut Puree. The shrimp are cooked perfectly, the puree is great and the whole dish tastes amazing. The next best dish belongs to Nathan who made French Macarons with Banana Caramel Filling. They look stunning, are light and crisp inside and taste delicious. Gordon says they are amazing and he could put them on his dessert menu in any of his restaurants. The last best dish belongs to Ryan Kate who made Caribbean Spiced Pork with Spicy Banana Sauce. Her dish has good seasoning and the pork is well cooked. Gordon says this is her best dish so far. With three great dishes the judges have a hard time picking the best, but finally they say the winner is… Nathan! Gordon says his cooking has turned a corner and he now has everyone attention.

Now it is time for the Elimination Test. Gordon’s daughter, Matilda arrives with her father’s specialty, Salmon En Croute. Because he won the Mystery Box, Nathan is safe and gets to go up to the balcony and enjoy the Salmon En Croute made by Gordon himself. The rest of the cooks will have to make this technically challenging dish.

During the cooking time the biggest drama is when Jenna’s Hollandaise Sauce breaks. Luckily for her, Andrew gallantly helps her fix it by talking her through the steps.

Time is up. Jenna’s Salmon En Croute is cooked great and her sauce turned out amazing. Andrew’s dish looks stunning and tastes lip-smacking good. Gordon says that everything on the dish is mind-blowing. Up on the balcony Nathan claps for Andrew. Although seasoned well, Kayla’s portion is way too big, the pastry is raw, and the salmon is dry. Nathan looks very worried for Kayla. Ayla’s dish is good, but the judges think there is too much sauce. Ryan Kate’s dish looks good but she folded the pastry wrong allowing the moisture out and overcooking the fish. Riley’s dish suffers because the pastry is raw and the sauce doesn’t work. Finally, Jimmy’s dish looks awesome, is seasoned well and tastes delectable. Gordon says his salmon is cooked perfectly, as is the pastry shell. Nathan look very happy for him. In the end Andrew and Jimmy had the two best Salmon En Croute. And Ryan Kate, Kayla and Riley’s dishes are on the bottom. The one who is safe is … Kayla, that means Riley and Ryan Kate are going home. Nathan looks very sad. When Gordon asks, Riley says he thinks either Andrew or Jimmy will win. Ryan Kate says she thinks it will be Nathan. He looked honored by her prediction but still very sad his friends are going. As they are leaving the MasterChef Kitchen Nathan comes down from the balcony and all the kids are hugging goodbye. As Riley and Ryan Kate are walking out the doors Nathan is waving goodbye.

Next episode: The Restaurant Take Over!

Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S3x04

The third thrilling episode starts with the top 10 young cooks walking into the MasterChef Kitchen. The judges ask Cory, Jenna and Nathan to step forward to take part in a culinary scavenger hunt. Since they had the three best alligator dishes last week they get to search the extensive MasterChef pantry for a list of 20 ingredients. The young cook who finds the most wins an advantage in the Elimination Round. It’s exciting to watch them run around searching for unlabeled things like an Ostrich Egg, Arborio Rice and New York Strip Steak. In the end Cory finds 7 items, Nathan finds 8, and Jenna wins with 10 ingredients found. 🙂

Even though he’s a little disappointed about losing, Nathan is happy for Jenna who gets to pick her team partner for the upcoming Sushi Tag Team challenge. She chooses her best friend, Kayla. Then she pairs up the rest of the cooks: Andrew & Riley, Ryan Kate & Nathan, Jack & Cory, and Jimmy & Ayla. As the cooks try and make sushi rolls Jack & Cory are having trouble communicating. Andrew & Riley are doing great working together. Riley tells Gordon he is very confident even though he has never made sushi before, because Andrew is confident. (The face pat is adorable! 🙂 ) Nathan & Ryan Kate are getting along very well, planning what each will do before they swap places. But Jenna is so upset she is yelling and Kayla is crying. By comparison, Jimmy & Ayla are working well together. Overall, it’s a tense sixty minutes. Time is up.

Andrew & Riley’s sushi is stunning. The judges say the shrimp is amazing, the rolls are great, it’s all very delicious. Kayla & Jenna’s sushi platter did not come out that good. Their salmon is unevenly cut and the shrimp is way too greasy and overcooked. When the judges are tasting, Nathan is looking very worried since now, Jenna is crying. Next, Ryan Kate & Nathan’s sushi looks awesome. Their rolls are neat and tight. Their tempura is nice and crispy and they nailed the cook on the shrimp. But, Jack & Cory’s sushi platter is not that good. They cut the salmon too big and the tuna too small. And their shrimp is all soggy. Again, Nathan is looking very worried for his friends. Jimmy & Ayla’s platter is exceptionally well done. Joe says it’s better than sushi made by adults in MasterChef competitions! 🙂  While the judges are making their final decisions, Nathan reminds Jack he rolled the sushi great and tells him he hope he’s not going home. 🙂

Graham announces that Ayla & Jimmy had the best sushi platter. Jack & Cory and Jenna & Kayla’s dishes are in the bottom. Sadly, (it’s always sad when the kids have to leave the MasterChef Kitchen) the team going home is … Jack & Cory. When they are leaving Nathan gives Jack, who is almost in tears, a big hug. Nathan said on Instagram that it was hard to watch the episode because it was hard to see his friends go. 🙂

Now only 8 cooks left.

Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S3x03

The third exciting episode starts with the top 12 young cooks walking into the MasterChef Kitchen. To their surprise the judges are dressed as older people. But why? Because the next Mystery Box contains a bunch of well-aged ingredients like New York Strip, Smoked Salmon and Ham. Nathan immediately covers his nose because hates the smell of the Blue Cheese. During the cooking time Joe walks over to Kayla’s station and puts his smelly sock over her bottle of fish sauce which grosses her out! 😮

After sixty minutes the judges decide to taste Jack, Riley and Andrew’s dishes. First, Jack made Pan Seared New York Strip. His dish has a nice spice rub and is cooked perfectly. The next dish belongs to Riley who also made Pan Seared New York Strip. It is very delicious. Gordon gives him the ultimate compliment by telling him it’s “Riley on a Plate.” And the last dish belongs to Andrew who made Grilled New York Strip. The dish looks stunning and the steak tastes amazing. And the winner of the Mystery Box Challenge is …. Andrew! 🙂

Now it’s time for the Elimination Test. Andrew is safe and gets to choose what meat his competition will have to cook: Rattlesnake, Snapping Turtle or Alligator! 😮 Andrew picks alligator and the cooking begins as he watches from the balcony. Nathan feels very confident about cooking with alligator because he is making chili. He also helps Jenna when she needs to borrow salt. 🙂 Cory is also not stumped by the alligator meat and does very well tossing it in a stir fry.

Time is up. Jenna made Alligator Curry with Jasmine Rice and Raita. It is a very good dish, the alligator meat and rice are great. Kyler made Grilled Alligator with Mushroom and Pepper Rice. Unfortunately, his thick cut of the dense meat comes out very tough and hard to chew. Mia made Fried Alligator Tacos with Watermelon Salsa. A creative idea but the cook on the meat is also very tough. Cory made Alligator Stir Fry with Fried Egg. The judges say his dish has great spice and the egg is an awesome addition. Nathan made Alligator Chili with Lime Sour Cream. He added dark chocolate to make a kind of mole chili and the judges loved it. When Joe asks him why the chocolate, Nathan says he wanted to add a bit of his Mexican Heritage to the dish. 🙂 Gordon says he alligator is tender and that Nathan has set the standard. On the balcony Andrew looks disappointed but down in the kitchen, Cory looks happy for Nathan. Jimmy made Alligator Fajitas with Guacamole. It is good but the judges feel it is a bit too simple a dish.

While the judges are deciding who has the best dish and who will be going home, Nathan tells Cory he did a very good job on his stir fry. 🙂  The judges announce the 3 best dishes belong to Jenna, Cory and Nathan. The 3 bottom dishes belong to Jimmy, Kyler and Mia. Gordon says Jimmy is safe … that means Kyler and Mia’s time in the MasterChef Kitchen has come to an end. 😦 As they are leaving Nathan goes over to Kyler who is very sad and gives him a big hug! 🙂

Now there are only 10 cooks left!

Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S3x02

The second episode starts with the top 14 kids walking into the MasterChef Kitchen. The judges ask Andrew, Jimmy and Ryan Kate to step forward. These three winners from last week have to whip up meringue for 12 lemon meringue pies. The cook who tops all their pies first wins a big advantage in the Elimination Test and they get to throw a pie in one of the judge’s faces! 😮 Jimmy wins to contest and throws a pie right in Graham’s face. Then all the other kids also get a chance to toss a pie 🙂 Riley & Corey & Kayla & Kyler & Nathan & Ryan Kate & Andrew all get Gordon; Alexis & Jack & Jenna & Micah get Joe; and Mia & Ayla also get Graham. By the end everyone is covered in meringue and the show goes to a message while the crew gets everyone and everything cleaned up.

For the Elimination Test the cooks have to pair up and make their own team sausage. Jimmy gets to pick the teams: Jimmy & Kyler, Ayla & Riley, Andrew & Cory, Jack & Nathan (Nathan looks very happy to be paired with Jack), Jenna & Mia, Ryan Kate & Kayla and Micah & Alexis. The teams can be creative and choose from all sorts of meats to grind up for their sausages. During the cooking time Jack & Nathan are working great together since they are such good buddies. Gordon reminds Micah & Alexis to season their   dish. Ayla & Riley forget to turn their gas on which is a problem. And Andrew & Cory are having trouble because very energetic Cory is running around to get what he needs from the kitchen and Andrew is getting frustrated. He tells Cory not to put a rice cake on the plate and Cory looks put off. 😦 Working in teams can be tough when you don’t see eye to eye.

When time is up Jenna & Mia are up first to share their dish. They made Pork and Chorizo Sausage. It is amazing, the blend is tasty. Micah & Alexis made Pork Sausage. The judges say the sausage needs more fat, the beans are undercooked and the stew lacks flavor. Nathan is looking very worried and says “The judges didn’t really like Micah & Alexis’s dish but I really like both of them and their my greatest friends in the competition so I really don’t want to see them go home.” 🙂 Jimmy & Kyler made Pork and Kangaroo Sausage. The judges think it is really creative and it tastes delicious. Ayla & Riley made Pork and Sage Sausage. It is a tiny portion but still tastes really good. Jack & Nathan made Veal and Boar Sausage. Their sausage is really flavorsome, and the polenta and spinach sides are great. Kayla & Ryan Kate made Pork and Venison Sausage. The judges agree it is tender and very yummy. And finally, Andrew & Cory made Chorizo and Pork Sausage. Unfortunately, their sausage is very dry but their sauce is good.

When the judges are off deciding who will be going home, Nathan and some of the other kids are hugging Micah & Alexis in support. In the end Gordon announces that Jenna & Mia had the best sausage dish. Andrew & Cory and Micah & Alexis are in the bottom. And the team going home is … Micah & Alexis. 😦 When they are walking out the kitchen all the kids hug them goodbye and tell them they did well. Micah & Alexis are in tears and Nathan also looks very sad that 2 of his best friends in the competition are going home. Now, only 12 cooks left.

Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S3x01

After tryouts took place around the country the 19 Jr cooks who remained were: AJ, Alexis, Andrew, Ayla, Cory, Jack, Jenna, Jianna, Jimmy, Kayla, Kyler, Mia, Micah, Nathan, Parker, Philly, Quincy, Riley, and Ryan Kate. These 19 amazing young cooks are going on to compete in the MasterChef Kitchen in the third season of the popular MasterChef Junior Series. Nathan, a thoughtful 12 year old boy from San Diego, CA, says he hopes to inspire other kids to cook. 🙂 AJ, a funny ten year old girl from New York says she was born with a lasagna in her hand! 🙂 And Alexis, an enthusiastic eight year old from California, says she hopes to win and use the prize money to go to college somewhere fun, like Hawaii or Disney Land! 🙂

The show starts with the cooks going on a chaotic scavenger hunt to find their personalized aprons that are hidden in the extensive MasterChef Kitchen Pantry! Once they find them, get them on, and go to their workstation, it’s time for the first Mystery Box Challenge. When they lift the box they find many ingredients inside: salmon, mango, broccoli, corn, ginger, soy sauce, coconut milk and tomatillos. The young cooks are told they have sixty minutes to make anything they want with these items and the staple pantry box (eggs, milk, flour, sugar, salt, etc.)

During the cooking time Kayla cuts her finger and all the kids look really worried for her. 🙂 Two medics come to bandage the wound and she recovers nicely. For this challenge the judges walk around to see what the kids are cooking. They taste, ask questions, and make suggestions if necessary. They notice that Nathan is making a Mango Napoleon, which looks very good, but ultimately he is not one of the three stand out dishes they call forward to judge.

When the time is up the first dish Gordon wants to taste belongs to Jenna, a 12 year old from New York City. She made Coconut Rice Pudding. It is nice and creamy and the judges say it is delicious. The next best dish belongs to Jack, a 12 year old from Chicago. He made Broiled Salmon. It looks stunning, is cooked perfectly and tastes awesome. And the last standout dish belongs to Kayla. She made a Mango Turnover. The judges agree her dessert is very yummy. They say the glaze is amazing and the mango is luscious. And the winner is … Jenna and Jack and Kayla! 😮 YUP! All three won the challenge and will get an enormous advantage in the Elimination Test, where tonight, 5 cooks will go home. Jenna, Jack & Kayla are safe and get to pick what pasta the other cooks will have to make from scratch – Ravioli, Lasagna or Pappardelle. They agree that the others will make Pappardelle for the Elimination Challenge and go to the balcony to watch their friends cook.

During the cooking time all the cooks do their best to make a great noodle dish. Unfortunately, Parker burns his sausage and we hear from Nathan that that he is really worried about his friend. 🙂 When time is up each young cook brings their dish forward to be judged. Andrew is first. His dish looks good and is seasoned well. Riley’s has great flavor and Gordon says it tastes rich. AJ’s is uneven and has too many competing favors. When Gordon tastes Jimmy’s dish he is very dramatic and says, “It’s absolutely…” and then they go to commercial break. When they return, Gordon finishes his comment “It’s absolutely … delicious!’ 🙂 Why the suspense? We should know that Gordon will not tell a 12 year boy that his dish is disgusting. At least I hope not! Jianna’s noodles are cut uneven so they didn’t cook well. Quincy’s dish is all mushy and too spicy. Parker’s doesn’t have a lot of favor. Philly’s needs more salt. But Ryan Kate’s pappardelle are nice and thin and cooked perfectly. Nathan’s dish was not reviewed on the show but it looked very good and he said on Twitter, “They liked it.” The 3 best dishes belong to Jimmy, Andrew & Ryan Kate. Sadly, Parker, Philly, AJ, Quincy and Jianna had the least best dishes and are going home. The first cut is always tough and all the kids look kind of sad to be saying goodbye to their new friends. 14 cooks remain.

Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S2x07

The season finale starts with Gordon introducing the 2 remaining cooks, Samuel and Logan. Before they begin cooking, past contestants, family and friends show their support from the balcony be cheering and holding up signs. 🙂 Their task tonight is to cook the best three course meal in ninety minutes. But first they have 10 minutes to gather all the necessary ingredients from the pantry. Samuel is making Chicken Oysters, Pan Seared Arctic Char and a Kaffir Lime Panna Cotta. Logan is making Grilled Spot Prawn, Salt Crusted Branzino and a Lemon Madeline. When they ask the other young cooks for predictions, Sam says he doesn’t know who will win, Josh thinks it will be Samuel and Abby believes Logan will come out the winner. Samuel’s mom, Lisa says how much he loves to cook. Logan’s mom, Kim says how smart he is for his age. Now to the cooking.

Both cooks do well on their Appetizers. Logan starts by using a smoking gun to flavor his aioli for his Grilled Spot Prawn. Gordon says his dish looks stunning, the cook on the prawn is spot on and they taste delectable. The aioli and olives provide are a nice flavor accent. Samuel made Chicken Oysters with Pickled Cumbers and Crispy Rice. His dish also looks stunning. The chicken tastes delightful but the vinegar on the cukes is a bit overdone. Graham says he likes the idea better than the dish itself. It looks like Logan has the better dish but Samuel says that his appetizer required more technical skill than using the gimmicky smoking gun.

Next is the Entrée round. Samuel made Seared Arctic Char with Coconut Seafood Curry. The judges think it is cooked perfectly and it tastes very delicious. But the coconut sauce is a bit too heavy. Logan made Salt Crusted Branzino with Chimichurri and Roasted Vegetables. Logan had no way of knowing whether it was actually cooked properly, but when the judges break it open to taste they say it is cooked to perfection and tastes awesome. His vegetables are also very good. Again, it seems like Logan had the better dish.

Lastly, the Dessert round. Samuel made a Kaffir Lime Pana Cotta. He uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the raspberries in his dessert, which is very impressive. The judges say the fruit works well and overall the dish is very appetizing. Logan made Meyer Lemon Madeline. The judges say the unexpected goat cheese added a nice flavor and the dessert is light and fluffy. This round is too close to call.

Now the Judges have to talk with each other off stage to decide who the winner is. When they return they ask Logan and Samuel to take their place on the main stage. And the winner is…. LOGAN!!! He looks so happy that he won and he gives Samuel, who is crying in disappointment, a big hug. Logan is a great friend. 🙂 Samuel says he will not let the loss defeat him. Logan says that making friends is the most important part. And then he tells the world, “I’m the next Masterchef Junior Champion and it feels amazing!” 🙂

Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S2x06

The penultimate (that means second to last) episode starts with the top 4 junior cooks running into the MasterChef Kitchen. For the next difficult challenge they have to cut a whole salmon into single size portion filets. The cook who gets the most pieces gets a big advantage in the elimination challenge. First Gordon gives a demonstration to teach the young cooks how to perfectly filet a salmon. As the contest begins Logan and Abby are having trouble because the fish are almost as big as they are. On the other hand, Adaiah and Samuel are doing well breaking down their salmon. When the thirty minutes is up, Abby has only 6 filets completed, Logan has cut 9, Samuel made 12 and Adaiah is the winner with 13 perfect filets. Her advantage is give each of the cooks a certain number of ingredients to cook with in the next round. She gives Logan 5, Samuel 25, Abby 100 and herself 50.

During the intensely competitive cooking time Abby keeps going back and forth to the pantry to get more and more ingredients. When Gordon tries to ask her about her dish she tells him “Just one minute!” and runs from the kitchen. When Samuel burns his salmon he says, “I feel like I am going to have a heart attack and need a defibrillator!” The judges are surprised when Logan decides to poach his salmon in olive oil. And Adaiah, who looks like she is doing well, uses only 18 or her possible 50 ingredients to prepare her dish.

Time expires and Gordon yells, “Hands up!” The young cooks look like they have run a marathon but each has finished their dish in time. Logan is first to bring his dish forward. He made Olive Oil Poached Salmon with Potato Rosette and Broccoli Rabe. The salmon is cooked perfectly and the judges say it tastes phenomenal. The olive oil flavor is a hit. Abby is next and she made Mango Orange Glazed Salmon. Unfortunately, it is very dry, but the judges compliment her on her potato puree. Samuel made Pan Seared Salmon. It tastes delicious but the skin is overcooked. And Gordon says the portion too small. Finally, Adaiah made a plain salmon dish. The fish is cooked spot on and it tastes delectable, but she burned the garlic and this flavor over powers her dish. Joe says burnt garlic is one of his pet peeves and it has ruined the dish. 😮 While the judges are deliberating, Logan tells everyone they did great job. 🙂  The young huddle together to wait for the results, two people will be going home. When the judges return Graham announces that the best dish belongs to Logan and he is the 1st junior home cook to be going to the Finale! Second best dish goes to … Samuel. That means Abby and Adaiah are going home. This is a tough moment. Abby starts to cry and Joe, who can be kind of harsh on adult MasterChef, comes down off the stage to comfort her with a hug. 🙂 As Adaiah and Abby are leaving, Logan and Samuel clap for them. 🙂 Now there are only 2 cooks left. They are going to the Finale!

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I liked this episode because I was inspired by Logan’s creative cooking and presentation. I also liked how the young cooks were kind and supportive of each other during the competition. 🙂