The “Just Like Gordon” episode starts with 20 of the most talented home cooks between the ages of 8 and 13 running into the MasterChef Kitchen. They meet special guest judge Chef Aarón Sánchez. To kick off the first Mystery Box Challenge the most commonly eaten crop in the entire world is dumped on the kids’ heads: RICE!
They go to their stations to lift the Mystery Boxes and find popular ingredients, like chicken, chocolate, beans and broccoli. They have 60 minutes to make their first amazing MasterChef Junior restaurant-quality dish. The judges want to see the young home cooks on a plate!
While the kids cook the judges watch very closely. They want to see how the home cooks work at their stations and how they season their dishes. They also taste everything as they go along. When the time is up the judges decide which three dishes look best and call them forward to take a closer look and have a final taste.
The first dish belongs to Afnan, a 12 year old boy from GA. His family is from Bangladesh and he can make Bengali food but he wants to show the judges he can also cook other kinds of foods. He made an Asian-style Paella with Shrimp, Steak and Sautéed Vegetables. Everything on the dish is cooked well. Chef Aarón is impressed he has toasted his spices and says it is a professional quality dish.
Next dish belongs to Cydney, 10 year old from New York. She says this dish is “Me on a plate.” She made a Green Bamboo Rice Pudding with Raisins, Pistachio Crumble and Caramelized Peaches. It is an odd idea to use this kind of rice, however it is colorful and has a great taste. Chef Christina loves the elements but would have liked to see a smaller portion and more moisture.
And the last dish belongs to Mashu, a 13 year old from California. (Even though Shayne is a little sad he was not picked for the top three he is happy for his friends 🙂 He says Mashu’s dish looks “top-notch!”) Mashu made Risotto with Mushrooms, Parmesan and Shrimp. Visually it is stunning. He nailed the cook on the shrimp and the rice. Both Chef Aarón and Chef Gordon love the flavorful dish.
And the winner of the first Mystery Box Challenge is AFNAN! He is safe from the first Elimination Challenge and gets to choose 3 other kids to join him on the balcony. He picks Avani, Eddie and Shayne.
The rest of the kids have to replicate Chef Gordon’s 3-Michelin-Star Sea Bass dish. He shows them how to make it, step by step, and then lets them have a taste. While the young cooks do their best recreating the fish dish Afnan, Avani, Eddie and Shayne get to eat Chef Gordon’s signature dish on the balcony.
During the cook time Adam is confident in cooking fresh produce because he cooks these kinds of ingredients a lot back home. He says “I think this challenge is hard, but if I focus I can do it.” Elisabeth is nervous because she has never tried to make anything this fancy before and she doesn’t even like fish! Sam accidently burns his hand dropping the tomato into hot water and is very upset, but he is ok. Shayne who has been cheering for his friends from the balcony the whole time covers his eyes and says, ‘This is too stressful!” He really cares for his friends. 🙂
Time is up. Hands in the air!
Adam’s Sea Bass looks amazing. The fish is glistening, the skin is crispy and everything is delicious. Chef Gordon says he’d be happy to be served this dish at one of his restaurants.
Cydney’s Sea Bass is “a remarkable, delicious dish!” Chef Aarón says she did a great job and she is going to be a cook to look out for.
Justise’s beets are cooked beautifully, the puree is soft and silky and the Sea Bass is cooked perfectly. She says she is glad Afnan didn’t pick her to go up on the balcony because she wants people to realize she is a really tough competitor.
Sam’s Sea Bass is undercooked and the skin is a little too crispy. He showed grit by sticking with his cooking after being burned and Chef Christina says his dish is a good effort.
Elisabeth’s dish has some issues. Her cauliflower purée is missing and her Sea Bass is a touch overcooked. The caramelization on her beets is perfect though. Chef Gordon says, “Really strong effort. Well done.”
Gonzalo’s Sea Bass dish could be better. He scored his fish well but didn’t it needed more browning. Chef Aarón says his beets are “spot-on” but his purée is “all over the place.” His fish is cooked well on the inside.
Mark’s Sea Bass dish looks good. All the components are seasoned well but the fish is a little overcooked. Chef Christina says, “You gotta give yourself big ups!”
Lila’s Sea Bass is cooked great and tastes delicious. Her beets and purée are also successful. Chef Gordon says, “Well done!”
Lastly, Solomon’s Sea Bass dish has all the elements on the plate but a few flaws. Chef Christina says his fish is about 60 seconds overcooked and his presentation is not as tight as it should be. “Overall it was a really good effort.” Solomon is worried he may be in hot water.
When the judges are talking about the dishes the kids on the balcony return to their stations. A lot of the kids are supporting each other as they nervously wait to hear who has won and who will be going home. Adam, Mark and Charlie hug Gonzalo, who is worried his dish is not good enough to stay.
In the end the dish that stood out head and shoulders above the rest belonged to … ADAM!
Gonzalo, Sam, Elisabeth and Solomon’s dishes fell short a little bit and are on the bottom. Sam and Gonzalo are safe, which sadly means Solomon and Elisabeth are going home. 😦
When they are walking out Shayne puts his arm around Solomon and comforts him. He is really going to miss his H-town buddy.
Elisabeth says “Even though I didn’t get the trophy and the 100,000 dollars, I’m gonna still try to open my bakery in Sweetwater TX. I’m gonna take my apron back home and I’m gonna but it on my wall and my brothers and sisters are gonna be so excited it’ll be a memory to share.”
Solomon says “Today, I’m saying bye to MasterChef but back home in Houston, my friends, I think they’ll be really proud of me. I’m definitely gonna keep cooking, like when one door closes another one opens up.”
Now 18 young home cooks left.
I really liked this episode because I liked to see the competition finally get started. And, I like to see the kids being supportive of each other. It’s never easy seeing kids go home, but it always helps to see the way they offer hugs and kindness to one another. 🙂