Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S5x07


The “Pie-Eyed” episode starts with the top 12 home cooks coming into the MasterChef Junior Kitchen to find out Chef Richard Blais is the guest judge! They learn they will be competing in teams of three in a culinary skills challenge. Working together, they have to make as many cream pies as they can in ten minutes. The winning team is safe from Elimination AND gets to hit the judges in the face with a pie!

The Yellow Team is Peyton, Shayne & Cydney. The Red Team is Jasmine, Avani & Adam. The Brown Team is Evan, Afnan & Justise. And the Blue Team is Mark, Lila & Syd.


After a frantic 10 minutes pouring, scooping and piping the Yellow Team makes 8 perfect pies, the Red Team makes 10 pies, the Blue Team makes 12 , the Brown Team wins with 14 cream pies!


Afnan pies Chef Richard Blais, Evan pies Christina and Justise pies Gordon! Hahahahahaha! 😮 They head up to balcony to enjoy a huge pie made by Christina Tosi and watch the next challenge unfold. 🙂

Chef Richard Blais introduces his favorite gadget to cook with: a blow torch! He says, “I’m not called Richard BLAZE for nothing!” The home cooks will have 45 minutes to use a blow torch to create their next dish. For two kids, this will be their last “cook” in the MasterChef Kitchen.


During the cook time Shayne is feeling very confident in what he is making. He loves Tex-Mex, so he is sticking with what he knows.


Jasmine has a tough time choosing between sweet and savory, but decides on making a s’mores cupcake in honor of her brother. Time gets away from her and when she is running to frost her cupcakes she falls down hard. But she gets back up and keeps cooking!

Nine year old Syd is making one of her mother’s favorites. But chicken on the bone in only 45 minutes? 😮 She tells Christina & Richard Blais she wants to open a restaurant when she grows up called Syd Steak!


Time is up.

Jasmine made S’More Cupcake with Seven-Minute Frosting and S’More. Christina says her presentation falls short. Although the chocolate cupcake is delicious, the frosting is separated and the s’mores flavor doesn’t come through in the bite. Also, not enough blowtorch.

Adam made Steak Crostini with Roasted Bell Pepper Cream Cheese. Gordon and Adam taste together. It is delicious, crispy and rich. The meat is great. Richard Blais says it is a restaurant quality hors d’oeuvre.

Avani made Chocolate Ganache Tart with Graham Cracker Crust, Caramelized Pecans and Bananas. She has never used a blow torch before but she used it a lot in this challenge! The dessert is fabulous. The marshmallows, bananas and pecans are toasted perfectly. Christina says it is the best dish they have seen from Avani thus far!

Lila made Chicken Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce and Black Beans. Richard Blais thinks it is an incredibly smart dish, the deep roasted flavors of the vegetables add really great flavor. But the judges agree, her presentation could be a little better.

Mark made Deconstructed S’more with Strawberry Sauce and Chocolate Coffee Mousse. It looks a little messy and a bit confusing, but the chocolate tastes great.

Peyton made Jerk Chicken with Coconut Rice and Sautéed Bok Choy. She used the blow torch on the peaches, pineapple and to finish off the chicken. The heat is great, but the rice is a little undercooked. Overall, though, nice job.

Syd made Orange Glazed Chicken with Butter Lettuce and Torched Tomatoes. Unfortunately, the chicken is a little bit bland and partly undercooked. The vegetables are seasoned beautifully but Gordon wanted to see more use of the blow torch.

Cydney made a Vanilla Crème Brûlée with Strawberry-Raspberry Sauce. She’s never made this dessert before. Christina is amazed and says it is nearly perfect. It’s rich, it’s delicious, and it set perfectly. Gordon says, “It’s smooth as a baby’s bum!” 😮

Shayne made Steak Enchiladas with Guacamole and Cheese Crisp. Sadly, when Gordon lifts the enchilada out of the serving pan it is greasy and soggy. Luckily, it actually tastes better than it looks. The sauce is seasoned well and the steak is cooked beautifully.

The judges confer and agree that Avani made the very best dish!


Jasmine, Shayne, Mark and Syd’s dishes are on the bottom. Shayne and Mark are still safe. That means that Jasmine and Syd are going home. 😦 Gordon says, “You both are incredibly talented and very smart young ladies, promise me you are going to continue cooking. Like I tell my daughters, the journey is more important than the winning.”

Shayne says even though he is happy he is safe he is super sad to see his friends go. He is an amazing friend. Adam also looks very sad. When all the kids are hugging goodbye Richard Blais needs a comforting pat on the back from Gordon. Eliminations are always very sad.

Syd says, “I’m so grateful I got to express myself though my cooking. I’m not mad at anybody, maybe a little bit mad at Gordon.”


Jasmine says, “I fell, broke a plate, in 90 seconds and still got up and finished a dish. So, I’m proud of myself just for being able to hang in there and never give up. I will most certainly keep on cooking and I think this is just the beginning of my future.”


I liked this episode because I liked to see how the kids would handle the blow torches. And even though I was not happy to see the girls go home, I was happy Shayne and Mark were safe.

Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S5x06


The episode called “A Presidential Mystery Box” starts with the top 14 home cooks coming into the MasterChef Junior Kitchen to find out that former First Lady Michelle Obama will be delivering their Mystery Box Challenge! They will have to make a healthy dish from farm to table ingredients inspired by the White House Kitchen Garden. And the winner of this Mystery Box will get to meet with her at the White House and attend the Annual Kid’s State Dinner!


As usual, the judges taste every dish during the sixty minutes cooking time. Christina says they are looking for technique, flavor and the most delicious dish out there. When time is up they will choose their three favorites to come forward for final tasting.

The first best dish belongs to Peyton. She made Pan Seared Branzino with Strawberry-Kale Salad and Roasted Vegetables. It is super colorful and looks stunning. Gordon says the fish is cooked perfectly and everything tastes great.

The second dish belongs to Lila. She also made Pan Seared Branzino, though hers is with Roasted Lemon, Parmesan Quinoa and Roasted Squash. Plus, she made a fruit smoothie. Christina says the fish is delicious and the lemon is tasty, juicy, salty and acidic! It’s good.

The third dish belongs to Justise. She made Pan Seared Shrimp with Sautéed Bell Peppers, Carrots, Eggplant and Quinoa. It is a beautiful plate, the shrimp is cooked perfectly and has a really good spice to it! Christina said it is “Out of this world!”

And the winner who be heading to Washington D.C. is … Justise! Congrats Justise!

Now Justise is safe from elimination and she gets to ask two others to join her on the balcony for cake. She picks two of her toughest competitors, Mark and Shayne. Shayne is very happy, saying with a big smile, “It’s all about the cake!”

Next, the Guest Judge Julie Bowen tells the home cooks their challenge is to make a dish that honors their moms. For extra inspiration they are told to pull a picture of their mothers out the draw at their cooking station. Awww.


During the cook time everyone is surprised to learn that Mashu is going to blend up his fresh sword fish steak! 😮


Donovan is making his own marshmallow for a pie because his mother likes sweets. He says it is a big risk because he usually doesn’t bake at home!


Afnan blows Julie Bowen’s mind by going molecular. He is making little pearls of flavorful tamarind chutney for his three fish dish. Very cool.


Time is up!

Cydney made a Raspberry Soufflé with Raspberry Coulis and a Mixed Berry Salad. Gordon is surprised she would try such a hard dish. It comes out well and has lots of flavor. Just another minute in the oven would have allowed it to puff up more and be even better.

Afnan made Tandoori Spiced Swordfish with Scallop and Shrimp. Christina says the dish looks stunning. And the fish it is cooked picture perfect. Julie Bowen can’t believe he has only been cooking for one year!

Mashu made an experimental Japanese Surf & Turf. It is an herb encrusted rack of lamb and a swordfish cake. The lamb is cooked well with the mustard and breadcrumbs, but Gordon & Christina are confused by the fish puree cake. Julie Bowen says she respects his flavors and ingenuity.

Evan made an Apple Crisp with Caramelized Pears and Sugar Sauce. His dessert has a delicious crumble but it is missing the apples.

Jasmine made Chicken Curry with Jasmine Rice and Fried Plantains. Gordon loves the seasoning and spices. It’s a well-balanced dish that would make her mother proud.

Peyton made New York Strip Steak with Squash, Eggplant and Chimichurri Sauce. Julie Bowman loved the beef and the sauce, excellent job!

Donovan made Marshmallow Pie with Fruit, Chocolate Ganache and Raspberry Sauce. Unfortunately, his pie looks kind of messy and undone. Christina says she loves that he made marshmallow from scratch and the ganache is delicious. But the crust and sauce are clumsy. She says it’s  not his A game.

Peyton, Jasmine and Afnan had the best mother inspired dishes of the night.

Donovan, Mashu, and Evan’s dishes are in the bottom.


Gordon says, “Donovan, tenacious, feisty — an incredible young man. Mashu, you’re too skilled for your own age. Evan, you have a natural touch with cooking. All three of you have a bright future.” And the one who is safe is … Evan!

That means Donovan and Mashu are going home. 😦 All the home cooks raise their hands because they think these two young cooks are “ridiculously talented.” When they are walking out everyone is hugging them goodbye.

Donovan says, “I was the youngest boy in the MasterChef Kitchen, and I learned so much. My parents are going to be so proud of how far I’ve gotten.”

Mashu says, “Being a foodie and coming to this competition was very inspirational. Not everyone gets a chance to talk to Gordon Ramsay and even have him taste your own food. This is the best experience of my life. It’s not win or lose, it’s the journey. And if I had another chance to do it, I’d totally do it.”

Now 12 left.

I liked this episode because I liked to see the unique dishes the kids made for their moms and I like the good sportsmanship they show towards each other. 🙂


Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S5x05


The “Kitchen Emergency” episode starts with the top 16 home cooks finding out it is time for their very first MasterChef Kitchen Team Challenge. They will be traveling to another location in firetrucks and making a first class meal for heroic first responders. Adam and Shayne had the winning vegan burgers last week, so they are the team captains. Shayne’s Red Team members are Mark, Mashu, Justise, Lila, Cydney, Peyton & Jasmine. Adam’s Blue Team members are Afnan, Gonzalo, Evan, Charlie, Syd, Donovan & Avani.

Shayne’s team is mature and he feels they are a “Dream Team” and should do well in the competition. Adam’s team is a bit younger but ready to work together. Charlie says, “Don’t under estimate younger kids. We may be tiny, but where as strong as heck!”

The cooks arrive at Cal Fire, home base for year round aerial support to fight fires in California. They will be making an amazing lunch for local first responders to thank them for their hard work and service. Each team will have 75 minutes to prep and cook 51 meals. They will cook Filet Mignon with two sides of their choice and a delicious sauce. Two cooks from the losing team will sadly be leaving the competition.



Shayne puts Mark on steak, Mashu and Justise on potatoes, Jasmine and Payton on asparagus and broccolini, and Lila on bacon bourbon sauce. Mark starts to cook the steaks too early and Christina warns him the high end meat will not hold and if it dries out it is the kiss of death. Shayne helps Mark get them off the grill in a hurry! Things get a little chaotic in the kitchen and Shayne has some trouble communicating with his team, but with a pep talk from Gordon everyone regroups and pulls it together to get the food plated. When a steak comes back raw, Gordon decides to throw it on the ground 😮 to make his point, the Red Team must try harder. They quickly recook the steak and finish service strong.



Adam puts Afnan and Gonzalo on steak, Donovan and Evan on red wine mushroom sauce, Syd on Cauliflower with dressing, and Avani and Charlie on gnocchi. Gordon hates the gnocchi idea, there is not enough time to make 500 potato gnocchi. Adam quickly changes the plan to roasted smashed potatoes. Syd gets into the smashing! 🙂 But Charlie is getting overheated in the hot sun and having trouble keeping up. Adam tries to help him out, but Charlie needs to sit out for the rest of the service.:( Blue Team is down to 7 cooks. The stress increases when Gordon questions their ability to cook the steaks properly. Adam loses confidence and Gonzalo decides to take over and starts yelling at the team instead of cooking. So Gordon yells at Gonzalo. Adam steps up as captain and leads his team to the final plate.


Time is up.

51 first responders vote. 58% vote for the winning team … THE RED TEAM! Shayne says he is very proud of his team and hugs them. He even hugs one of the first responders! 🙂 Poor Adam is in tears. He his feeling very guilty about his management skills, but his friend Gonzalo is very supportive. “We win as a team and we lose as a team.” Everyone did the best they could.



Back in the Masterchef Kitchen Afnan, Syd, Donovan, Evan & Avani are all safe. The last one safe is Adam, that means Gonzalo and Charlie are going home 😦 Adam gives them a big hug goodbye. Lots of love and tears. When they are walking out all the kids look sad but are also cheering for them.


Gonzalo says “Even though I didn’t win the “MasterChef Junior” trophy I definitely feel I have won something in my life, which was experience, and definitely a lot of friends and I couldn’t ask for anything better than that.”


Charlie says, “Even though I got eliminated I’m proud of myself. I’m part of the top 16. I mean, how many kids at my school can say they’ve meet Gordon Ramsay, Christina Tosi, Aaron Sanchez and Mayim Bialik? How many kids at my school can say they’ve cooked in the MasterChef Kitchen? It’s safe to say that I will never ever forget this!”


I liked this episode because I liked to see how well the kids handle the pressure of the team challenge. I think Shayne and Adam did amazing as the team captains. Not an easy job!

Max’s Recap Kids Baking Championship S3x10

20170310_144439In the “Superhero Grand Finale” the top 3 home bakers will compete in their final challenge to become the Kid’s Baking Champion and win $25,000. Valerie “Cake Crusader” & Duff” Dessert Man” announce the bakers have five hours to make a One-of-a Kind Original Superhero Cake, plus an Archenemy Super Villain!


Aidan says he is less into superheroes and more into baking, so he starts on a Lemon Rosemary Olive Oil cake with Mascarpone frosting before he comes up with a superhero idea.


Kaniyah is also using rosemary lemon flavors in her Blueberry Infused Cake with Lemon Icing. Her superhero is Catastrophe Girl who travels around the world and  keeps catastrophes from happening. She creates a Mr.Rotten Potato villain out of crushed cream cookies and melted butter.


Justice’s superhero and villain are inspired by his passion for weather: The Weatherman and bad  Mr.Sunshine. He is making a tricky rose flavored cake. Justice says, rose represents Hope, Love and Balance, “That’s the doing of The Weatherman!”


Aidan is having some issues. His mascarpone frosting doesn’t work, his cakes smell like scrambled eggs 😮 , the tops are burned and he still doesn’t have a super hero idea! He starts to panic, but keeps it together. He finally comes up with his hero and villain: Prism vs Dismal!Kaniyah uses toothpicks to guide carving her cake into the shape of a shield but has trouble decorating a city onto the sides. It’s very messy and her superhero sculpture is falling apart. She says, “My cake is not how I wanted it to look.”Justice’s cakes look great but his fondant has cracks. He decides he can cover the mistakes with clouds. He sculpts Mr. Weatherman with a cape and puts a “W” on the top.

Time is up.

Justice’s three tier cake looks amazing. His decorations are done well. His cake is moist and he gets the rose flavor just right. Duff would have liked more flavors, like pistachio or honey. Mr. Sunshine is made of marshmallow rice cake. It is nice and gooey and tastes great. Duff tells Justice, “I judge a lot of baking championships, and the execution of this cake here, is on par with any of the adults. You did an amazing job.” 🙂

Aidan describes his superhero for the judges. “My superhero is Prism. He is a being of pure light and shines it through color and emotion and life.” Archenemy Dismal takes away life and energy and color. The cake looks stunning and taste delicious. The lemon flavor with rosemary is amazing. They like his signature Swiss buttercream frosting but wished it was the mascarpone he had promised. Valerie says the cake took the judges to another dimension. They loved it. 🙂

Kaniyah’s Lemon Blueberry Rosemary Cake is very colorful and fun, but it looks a little messy. The cake is dense and tastes more like a blueberry muffin. It tastes very good but is a little dry and chewy. Her potato villain tastes great, The judges like how she combined the cookies with butter, a delicious surprise. Kaniyah’s  cake was bright and fun and festive, just like her. 🙂

After much talk, and discussing the superhero cakes, the judges pick a winner. They say it is always a close race in the finale, but this is the closest it has ever been. All three bakers did a great job.

The winner of the Kids Baking Championship is …………… AIDAN!!!! He is so shocked he says “I won? I won?” Everyone comes together for hugs. “I have a whole butterfly migration going through my stomach right now.” Aidan is very proud of himself and he is happy he got to make lots of new friends.

I was so happy for Aidan, he really deserved it. 🙂  And I loved how his superhero cake story was about love and healing. He is an amazing kid.


Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S5x04


The “Batter Hurry Up” episode starts with the top 18 young home cooks sprinting into the MasterChef Kitchen. Chef Christina says the next challenge is all about the important skill of teamwork. To find out who will be competing the kids draw sticks. 6 short sticks pair 6 cooks who have to make as many perfect Corn Dogs as they can in just ten minutes.

The teams are Evan & Justise, Lila & Peyton and Eddie & Gonzalo. The winning team will be safe from the Elimination Challenge and choose which judge will get sloppy batter dumped on their heads!


Evan & Justise are able to make 13 beautiful Corn Dogs and win the right to pick Chef Gordon to get corn dogged! But the judges stick together so Chef Christina gets it too.

Now, it’s time for the Elimination Test. First the young home cooks meet the famous foodie guest judge. She is the mother of two, neuroscientist, cook book author and television star, Mayim Bialik. I know her as Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory! She is also VEGAN! The kids will have 45 minutes to make a delicious vegan burger – no meat, no cheese, no eggs, and no animal products of any kind 😮


Shayne says he can’t remember the last time he ate a meal that didn’t have meat, but he is feeling very confident with his southwest flavors.


Adam is shaping his falafel-style patty with a ring and Mayim is very impressed. She says, “I just learned something new!”

Eddie is having a problem very common with vegan burgers – his patty is falling apart. Chef Gordon tries to help him get it together in the pan but is a bit worried.

Cydney almost falls apart when she drops her cooked burger on the floor. She doesn’t really have time to cook another! Mark who is cooking next to her cheers her on, “Cydney, you got this … sixty seconds! Get it going! Get it going! Get it going!” She gets something on the plate!


Time is up.

Shayne made a Southwest Vegan Burger with Avocado Fries and Sriracha Sauce. It looks just like a meat burger and holds together really nicely. Gordon and Mayim love the burger and the sauce and agree the fries are amazing. Everything is spot on! From the balcony, Evan cheers, “Good Job Shan-ye!”

Donovan made an Indian Vegan Burger with Indian Spiced Bok Choy. Chef Christina says “Ka-pow!” The judges agree it is seasoned well and has great texture.

Jasmine made a White Bean Vegan Burger with Mustard Coleslaw. It is okay but needs more spice. Mayim says it could use “a little more pizzazz.”

Avani made a Brussels Sprouts Vegan Burger with Coleslaw. Unfortunately her spicy patty is undercooked. Both the spices and chickpeas taste raw.

Eddie’s Chickpea Vegan Burger with Potato Chips is falling apart. It never really got cooked. The potato chips are good though. Chef Gordon says, “Well done for sticking at it” even though his burger never really came together.

Cydney’s Cabbage Vegan Burger with Savory Apple Fries was not cooked because she dropped her cooked patty. The judges are impressed she didn’t give up and say the base of a burger are there. The flavors are really good.

Adam made a Falafel Vegan Burger with Potato Rösti. The burger is “picture-perfect” and tastes great. Mayim says, “I would totally order that in a restaurant.”

Sam’s Bell Pepper Vegan Burger with Coleslaw has some problems. The patty is burnt on the outside and undercooked in the inside. Chef Gordon says the Ketchup is a disappointment.

We don’t get to see Mark, Lila, Payton, Afnan, Gonzalo, Charlie, Mashu, and Syd’s dishes. Presumably their not the best or worst in this challenge. 🙂

The top 2 burgers are ADAM & SHAYNE! They will be Team Captains next week! 🙂

The 4 least successful burgers belong to Cydney, Sam Avani and Eddie. Avani and Cydney are safe. That means Eddie and Sam are going home. 😦

All the kids hug them goodbye on their way out.

Eddie says “I’m really proud of myself. I came to “MasterChef Junior” first of all, to have fun. Even though I didn’t get the MasterChef trophy I still got an apron. I’m going to were my MasterChef Apron everywhere. Besides in public.”


Sam says “I was on ‘MasterChef Junior’! Not many 9-year-olds can say that. I have bragging rights for a lifetime. It’s going to look good on my college application. Sam … Out.”


Now only 16 kid home cooks left!

I liked this episode because it was great to see how the kids adapted so fast to cooking without meat. None of the kids freaked out they are all so good  And I thought Mayim was a great guest judge!

Max’s Recap Kids Baking Championship S3x09


In this “Molecular Kidstronomy” semi-final episode the kids have 90 minutes to make a delicious dessert using two different molecular gastronomy techniques. They can use “Spherification Chemicals” to turn juice into little caviar-like balls of liquid flavor. Or an “Immersion Circulator” to quickly infuse flavor into things. Or “Tapioca Maltdextrin” to turn a fat, like butter, into molecular snow. Or a “Smoking Gun” to add smoke flavor to anything. And there is a twist. They also have to hand whip cream for their dessert using a funky antique metal whisk.

Aidan is making S’Mores Tart with Smoky Ganache and Peanut Butter Snow. The dessert will have a smoky flavor like something cooked at a campfire.


Cole is making Infused Apple Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream & Raspberry Caviar. He loves apple pie and make them for his family all the time.


Justice is making Spice-Infused Apple Cobbler with Smoky Apple Ice Cream. He’s in the competition to prove “Boys can bake!”


Kaniyah is making Smoked Berry Pie with Hazelnut Chocolate Snow & Raspberry Ice Cream. She hopes to win the championship so she can expand her cupcake business.


Aidan is having problems keeping his whipped cream in the bowl. And his tart shells are falling apart. He goes to plan B – Deconstructed Tarts. “Because when all else fails, deconstruct.” Cole has to nix there raspberry caviar pearls because the chemistry doesn’t work for him! He switches to Peanut Butter Snow, just like Aidan.

With 8 minutes left, Kaniyah realizes she forgot to hand whip the cream. She starts to freak out and begins to really cry. Aidan runs over to help her, “Kaniyah I’m coming!” He whips her cream while she finishes her hazelnut snow. He is such an amazing friend. 🙂 A genuine moment!!!

At the last minute Justice’s ganache is super watery and doesn’t swirl like he wants it to. He says, “I’m just angry at that ganache.”


Time is up. And everyone just finishes. Valerie says, “OKAY YOU GUYS, DON’T EVER DO THAT TO ME AGAIN!”

Aidan’s Deconstructed S’Mores Tart looks good but it’s a little messy. Duff says, “It really does taste like I’m eating s’mores at a campfire. Really good.”

Cole’s Apple Pie looks good and the ice cream is perfect. But the pie filling is dry and crust is raw on the bottom.

Justice’ Apple Cobbler has the best looking whipped cream and a biscuit topping. The apples are delicious and the ice cream is good but not too smoky.

And, Kaniyah’s Berry Pie tastes good, but there is not a lot of smoky flavor. The judges love her hazelnut snow.

The first one in the Finale is … AIDAN!


The next one in the Finale is JUSTICE!


and lastly … KANIYAH!


That means Cole is going home. 😦


Valerie says, “Cole, you are an awesome baker. You just had a bad day today.” Cole is in tears and all his friends hug him goodbye and tell him he is an amazing baker. 🙂 He says, “I’m proud of myself for making it this far. I’m going to keep baking and use lots of glitter.”