Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S4x02

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The second episode starts with the top 22 young cooks walking into the MasterChef Kitchen. The judges ask Addison, Sam and Jesse to step forward. They have to frost cupcakes and the one who gets the most perfectly frosted will be safe in the next cooking challenge. Each cook is paired with a judge and the losers will get to dump frosting on their judge’s head! A mcj_s4_ep_2_logan_0nice consolation prize! 🙂 The special guest chef judging the cupcakes is none other than, Season 2 winner, Logan! He is looking a bit older since his time in the MasterChef Kitchen 🙂 Logan decides that Addison frosted 10 perfectly, Jesse frosted 11 and Sam wins by frosting an incredible 29 cupcakes! And Sam says he doesn’t bake much! 😮

mj402nnWhen Adison and Jesse dump the frosting on the losing judges Logan gives the kids rainbow sprinkles that they throw everywhere! And even though Sam won for Graham he was also drenched in icing and covered with sprinkles! The judges magically cleanup in just seconds and it is time for the mj402ooElimination Test. The young cooks have to shuck and cook scallops. Sam is safe and gets to go up to the balcony to enjoy a huge cupcake made by Christina Tosi. During the cooking test Tae-Ho, a 12 year old boy from mcj_s4_ep_2_ian_crying_0California, is very confident. Ian is having trouble opening the scallop shell and is crying, but Gordon comes to help him. Annabelle burns her scallops, but Avery helps her by sharing her extra scallops. 🙂 Time is up.

First up is Tae-Ho who made Seared Scallops with Risotto and Brusselsmcj_s4_ep_2_tae_ho_dish_0 Sprouts. He said he got the idea from one of Gordon’s cook books. Everything on the dish is nailed and it tastes amazing. Nate, a 10 year old boy from Philadelphia, PA, made   Seared Scallops with Cauliflower. They have a nice sear and are very good, but the mashed vegetable needs more flavor. Chad, a nine year old from New York, made Spaghetti and Meatballs with Scallops. It mj402rrtastes ok but the sauce way overpowers the taste of the scallops. Eight year old Ian made Pan Seared Scallops with Zucchini Cakes and Microgreens. They look stunning and the scallops are nicely done. Vivian, the eleven year from Arizona, made Parmesan Scallops with Couscous. The couscous is seasoned well, but the scallops are pale because they are undercooked. Derek, the eleven year old from Pennsylvania, made Pan Seared Scallops they are very delicious, but they need more salt. Ten year old, Kamily made California Scallops. Screenshot_2015-11-16-10-10-51Unfortunately, they are not cooked evenly, only seared well on one side. Amaya, the ten year old from New Jersey made Pan Seared Scallops. They are cooked wonderfully. And finally, Annabelle daringly made Scallops Two Ways which Gordon thought might be Screenshot_2015-11-16-10-11-07a mistake. Neither way really work for her because they lacked flavor and they are overcooked. In the end, the judges decide that Tae-Ho has the best dish! Kamily, Chad, Vivian, and Annabelle’s dishes are in the bottom. Gordon tells Kamily and Vivian they are safe, that means Chad and Annabelle are going home.

Screenshot_2015-11-16-10-13-07Tae-Ho shows he cares by holding his hands across his heart. As Chad and Annabelle are leaving all the kids hug them goodbye. Zac tells Chad he did a great job and Tae-Ho says “Remember, your wearing a MasterChef Apron, hold your head high, okay.”

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20 young cooks remain.

I liked this episode because I was happy to see Logan and I loved how nice Tae-Ho was at the end.

Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S4x01

After tryouts took place around the country the top 24 Jr cooks selected are: Adam, Addison,   Alexander, Amaya, Annabelle, Avery, Chad, Corey, Derek, Ian, Jacelyn, Jesse, JJ, Kade, Kaitlyn, Kaimlly, Kya, Kendall, Mia, Nate, Sam, Tae-Ho, Vivian, and Zac. To get their aprons they have to retrieve them from a big Gordon Ramsey piñata head! After a lot of bashing and smashing they find their named apron, put them on and it’s time for the first Mystery Box. When the young cooks lift the boxes they find a single bun inside. They find out they all have to make a signature burger with a special side. During the cooking time JJ runs by and tells Sam good luck. Zac tells Gordon that he has only been cooking a year and a half but he is really good. Before you know it, time is up.

The judges choose three burgers to try. The first best burger belongs to Avery, a 9 year old girl form Baton Rouge LA, she made a Sportsman’s Paradise Burger. It is cooked great, seasoned very well and tastes amazing, but the bun is too soggy. The next best burger belongs to Zac, A 12 year old boy form Orlando FL. He made Chuck & Sirloin Burger with Onion Rings. His burger is cooked perfectly, had good seasoning and tastes delicious. And the last best dish belongs to Kya, an 8 year old girl. She made a Wagyu Burger. Her burger is also very well-seasoned. The judges think it is lip-smacking, plus her fries are amazing. And the judges decide the winner is Kya! Both Zac and Avery look very happy for her. 🙂

Now it’s time for the Elimination Test, where 2 cooks will go home. Kya is safe and she gets to save a friend, she picks Vivian. The rest of the young cooks have to cook with marshmallows. They find out when thousands of marshmallows are blown at them from every direction. What a mess! There are a lot of sticky sneakers in the kitchen! 😮 During the cooking time Kade burns his marshmallows with a blow torch. With the flames coming off the tops of the marshmallows he looks around a little confused about what to do and asks “Should I blow on them?” Alexander is also having trouble because he puts too much water in his raspberry sauce. JJ tells him he is doing well. When the judges are taste testing and talking about how everyone is doing, Graham playfully calls Sam by his full name Sam Sy!! 🙂  Time is up and JJ and Annabelle a high five.

First up is Addison, a 9 old girl, she made A Chocolate Marshmallow Cupcake. It is nice and gooey and delectable. Next up is Sam, a 10 Year old boy from Charleston, SC. He made three big Whoopee Pies. They are very yummy; the judges say all of the components work well together. Alexander made a Marshmallow Pie. He is crying, saying it looks horrible, but Christina calms him down and when she tastes it she says has an ok taste. Kade made a Banana Split. The marshmallows are burnt, but the rest is ok. Jesse, an 11 year old boy from New York, NY, made Marshmallow Churros. They are really amazing, nice and doughy in the center. Corey made a Peach and Banana Cake. It is good, but Gordon tells him it needs more marshmallow. Mia made a Marshmallow Biscuit. It is filled with marshmallow fluff and surprisingly good. The last cook to bring his dish forward is 8 year old, Ian who made an Apple Crostata. Unfortunately, the marshmallows are burnt, but Gordon says the apples are very nice.

In the end, Jesse, Sam & Addison made the top 3 dishes and Alexander, Kade & Ian made the bottom 3. And the one who is safe is … Ian. Sadly, that means Alexander and Kade are going home. As they are walking out of the kitchen all the cooks come together for a big group hug and then wave goodbye! Now there 22 junior cooks left.

I liked this first episode because I like to see the new kids and who they are. I loved how they all hugged at the end. 🙂

Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S3x08

The MasterChef Junior Finale starts with Gordon introducing the top 2 home cooks. Nathan, from San Diego, who is shy at the start but becomes more confident as the judges taste his dishes. And Andrew, from New Jersey, who starts out strong and remains a tough competitor in every episode. Before the junior chefs can get cooking the judges introduce their families and past contestants. They will watching and cheering from the balcony. Jimmy & Kyler are both rooting for Nathan and Quincy & Alexis are both rooting for Andrew. Nathan and Andrew will each make a restaurant quality appetizer, entrée and a dessert in ninety minutes.

Andrew is making Roasted Beets with Homemade Ricotta Cheese, Beef Cheek Ravioli and Rice Pudding. Nathan is making Roasted Fennel Gratin, Herb Crusted Lamb and Earl Grey Tart. We hear from Nathan’s dad, Beau, that Nathan began cooking when he was 5 years old and that he make very amazing things at home. Andrew’s mom, Karan, says she absolutely loves having a chef in the house because he makes them the most delicious meals.

Time begins and both cooks focus on creating their meals. When Andrew takes his beef cheeks out of the pressure cooker, Gordon and Joe worry it might be too early, but Andrew feels the meat is fully cooked. Nathan nervously slices his lamb to check if it is cooked and it looks nice and pink. He holds it up like a sword to show his folks on balcony and his friends cheer for him. It will all depend on what the judges think when they taste the food.

After 90 minutes elapses Gordon says times up and Andrew & Nathan raise their hands in the air. The judges will taste the appetizers first. Nathan’s serves his Roasted Fennel Gratin with French Ham and Shaved Fennel Salad. The gratin smells amazing and it is nice and crunchy, but a little wet. The side salad is great. Andrew’s homemade Herbed Ricotta Cheese with Roasted Beets and Pumpernickel Bread is impressive. Gordon says it is yummy, but the dish could use a little more sauce.

Next, the judges taste the entrées. Nathan made Herb Crusted Lamb Chop with Fava Beans and White Asparagus Puree. His dish looks stunning and tastes delicious. Gordon says the puree is mind-blowing. Graham says it is the best dish Nathan has made in the competition; he nailed everything and it is restaurant quality. Joe says it’s the “Future of Cooking.” Andrew made Beef Cheek Ravioli. The presentation is excellent, the pasta is tasty and the meat is seasoned well, but unfortunately the judges think the beef is a little undercooked!

Finally, the judges try the desserts. Nathan’s Earl Grey Tea Tart with Myer Lemon and Blood Orange Coulis is a big hit. The pastry is crisp and the dessert tastes remarkable. Gordon says it is a smart preparation. Andrew’s “Dessert Risotto” is a pleasant surprise. It is very delectable and Joe marvels at the fact that all the rice is still in tack. It is a close round! Too close to call from home.

When the judges return from the dining room with their final decision they ask Andrew and Nathan to change places with them on stage. Both junior chefs look proud of their cooking and hopeful about the outcome. And the winner of MasterChef Junior is … NATHAN! He looks shocked and happy. He gives Andrew a hug and tells him he did great too. Nathan says, “This is the coolest moment of my life.” Andrew says he is happy for Nathan and he is still going to follow his dreams and start his own restaurant. 🙂 Also Jimmy is cheering for Nathan.  Nathan says he began the competition feeling very shy and not too self-confident, but the more he cooked and made good friends the more confident he became. His final words are, “I AM THE NEXT MASTERCHEF JUNIOR.”

Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S3x07

The 7th episode starts with the top 4 young cooks jogging into the MasterChef Kitchen. Nathan says he is glad he is still in the competition and that he wishes he had been more vocal in the beginning of the show. It took a little time for him to warm up. For the next challenge they have to torch 20 Crème Brûlée desserts; the one who gets the most perfectly caramelized tops in ten minutes wins a big advantage in the last Elimination Challenge. This prize is a biggee because the next challenge will decide who is going to the finale.

Andrew uses two torches at once to try and double his chances. Jenna goes slowly at the start to carefully heat the sugar. Nathan keeps trying his best but has not had much practice cooking with a blowtorch. Jimmy looks confident and is moving quickly from dessert to dessert. In the end Nathan only got 1 perfect, Jenna & Andrew both got 4 and Jimmy wins the advantage with 8 perfectly caramelized Crème Brûlées. Nice job Jimmy! 🙂

But Jimmy barely has a moment to enjoy his win before the judges dump a huge load of fresh raspberries on the kids’ heads! You should have seen their faces! 😮 Jimmy gets to choose what raspberry desserts he and the three other young cooks will have to make: Raspberry Napoleon, Raspberry Trifle, Raspberry Mousse or Raspberry Tart. Jimmy gives the Tart to Nathan, the Mousse to Andrew, the Napoleon to Jenna and he takes the Trifle for himself. Now the kids get baking!

During the cooking time Nathan is doing very well. He tells Gordon he really wants to win MasterChef Jr. to help his family since they don’t have a lot of money. He says he is saving up for his family and he wouldn’t need to worry about it anymore if he wins. Gordon tells Andrew his mousse is too sweet and he needs to make a new one! Lickety-split, Andrew makes a new one with only 15 minutes to go! Joe warns Jenna to start building her Napoleon because she may run out of time. Jenna is freaking out a little bit but she keeps working. Jimmy is doing well and feels confident he will be able to finish his dessert.

Time is up and the four junior chefs bring their raspberry desserts up to be tasted. Jimmy’s Trifle looks stunning, it tastes very yummy but Gordon thinks it’s a little too acidic. Joe says he loves the taste and the lady fingers. Andrew’s Mousse tastes great however it didn’t quite set yet and is very wet. Jenna’s Napoleon looks very messy but the cream is good and it tastes fine. Nathan’s Tart looks absolutely stunning. The crust cuts well, it is nice and flaky, and it tastes delicious. The judges say his pastry came out so well because he added just the right amount of chilled butter. The fruit filling is also delicious.

When the judges are making their big decision Nathan gives Jenna, Jimmy and Andrew a big hug and says “Great job.” And when Jenna says, “You know you are in the finale,” Nathan humbly says, “You never know.” Gordon announces that the first junior cook going to the Finale is… Nathan! 🙂  He is very happy! The second cook going to the finals is … Andrew! 🙂 He is psyched! Regrettably, that means Jenna and Jimmy are going home.

Gordon tells Jimmy that he has a great attitude and the making of a great chef. Gordon tells Jenna that she has done brilliantly. Jenna says she thinks Andrew will win and Jimmy says he thinks it will be Nathan. “California all the way!” That makes Nathan smile. As Jimmy and Jenna are leaving Nathan is waving goodbye and he looks very sad that his friends are going home.

Now only 2 left. Andrew and Nathan will cook head to head to see who will be the next MasterChef Junior Champion! Until the finale …

Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S3x06

The sixth episode starts with the top 6 young cooks learning they will be leaving the MasterChef Kitchen for the Restaurant Takeover Challenge. This is always a tough contest because the kids have to work in teams in a cramped environment under tons of pressure. And they have to make many restaurant quality meals, really fast. Andrew and Jimmy are the team Captains because they made the two best Salmon En Croute dishes last episode. Andrew picks Nathan and Jenna for his Blue Team. And Jimmy picks Ayla and Kayla for his Red Team. The complex dishes they will be making are Mediterranean Octopus & Pea Ravioli for appetizer and Skate Wing & Flat Iron Steak for the main course.

During the appetizer service Jimmy’s Red Team starts out well but the fast pace quickly becomes too much for Ayla, who says she is used to cooking at a slower pace. Gordon keeps calling out the orders but the ravioli dishes are not ready to go. Finally things start to gel and the Red Team works together getting the plates out quicker.

Over on the Blue Team, Andrew is shouting at Jenna to go faster. Jenna burns her hand and Nathan says he is very worried about her! Andrew continues to shout orders to Jenna and Nathan, who is trying to help calm Jenna down, is getting a little upset with Andrew. When a fire starts on the stove top Gordon sends Andrew out of the kitchen to cool off. When Andrew returns, Gordon asks if he needs Nathan to take over as Captain and Andrew says, “I can do it.” 🙂

For the Entrée Service the Red Team is struggling with cooking the proteins. They send the steak and fish dishes to window raw and Gordon sends them back. The food is taking so long one table of guests leaves before being served. Gordon is getting frustrated and asks them if they should just take their aprons off now, but Jimmy and his teammates say they will finish the service. And they do!

Over on the Blue Team the young cooks are off to a good start, but then Jenna burns the steaks more than once. Nathan says he does not want to get upset with her and tries to help her on the grill. He puts the fish up but Andrew is too slow with the sides so their dishes are not coming together. Eventually, Graham steps in to demonstrate cooking technique and they are able to pull it together. The guests tell Joe they love the Blue Team’s steak.

When service is finished Gordon invites all six cooks to join him in the dining room. The guests learn that their meals were cooked by these junior chefs and are shocked! Back in the MasterChef Kitchen Gordon announces the winning team is Andrew’s Blue Team! Nathan is so happy he hugs Jenna. And the one safe kid on the Red Team is … Jimmy! Sadly, that means Kayla and Ayla are going home tonight. Kayla says she thinks Jimmy will win and Ayla says she thinks it will be Nathan. When they are leaving, Nathan is waving goodbye and look very sad. 😦

Now only 4 junior chefs left: Andrew, Jimmy, Jenna, Nathan.

P.S. I think that if the Blue Team had lost the Restaurant Challenge the judges would have saved Nathan since he cooked all the food perfectly and stayed calm under pressure. He stood out as a leader when he was supportive to Jenna when she needed it. 🙂