Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S5x15

The exciting Season 5 “MasterChef Junior Finale” starts with Gordon introducing eleven year old Georgians, Jasmine and Justise. Their families and friends are in the balcony cheering them on. And the guest judges are revealed: The Legendary Wolfgang Puck and the Iconic Martha Stewart. Tonight they will have to impress all four judges with their cooking.

The girls have ten minutes in the pantry to gather all the ingredients needed for appetizer, entrée and dessert. Jasmine is making Elevated Jamaican Cuisine: Crispy Scallop and White Fish Fritter, A Jerk Based Lobster Tail and a Sticky Rum Cake. Justise is making Georgia-based Cuisine with a healthy spin on it: Grilled Spot Prawns, Cider Braised Pork Belly and Buttermilk Panna Cotta.

During the 90 minutes cook time all the young home cooks are cheering on the 2 finalists. Shayne thinks that they are both amazing chefs. Avani is so excited. Jasmine’s mother is proud of her daughter for not giving up and winning her way back into the competition. Justise’s father says his daughter always give 100% and she may be small but she is like dynamite.


Jasmine’s challenges are to make sure her fritters are not too heavy, her lobster is cooked to perfection and her dessert batter is not overworked. Justise’s challenges are not over cooking the prawns, getting the pork belly tender in the pressure cooker and firming up the panna cotta. These are not easy dishes.

Time is up. It’s time to taste the food in the MasterChef Restaurant.

Justise’s Grilled Spot Prawns with Basil Pesto, Chili Watermelon and Avocado Balls appetizer looks stunning. Chef Wolfgang Puck says the shrimp is beautifully cooked and Martha Stewart loves it because the flavors work so well together.

Jasmine’s Crispy White Fish Fritters with Red Pepper Peanut Sauce and Papaya Salad appetizer pops with color. Wolfgang and Gordon disagree on the right amount of smoked fish in the fritter. And even though the salad is a little hard to eat, Martha says the dish is phenomenal.

Jasmine’s Jerk Lobster Tail with Coconut Curry, Sweet Potatoes, Peas and Finger Lime Caviar entrée is elegant. It is cooked well and has great spice. Gordon thought he was going to hate the jerk seasoning on the lobster but he had to “eat his words” because he absolutely loved it.

Justise’s Cider-Braised Pork Belly with Wilted Greens, Pickled Peaches and Onion Rings entrée is visually appealing. But it is sadly undercooked. The sides are amazing though, and the overall taste is very good. Gordon says the pork was just a few minutes away from perfection.

Jasmine’s Sticky Rum Cake with Coconut Whipped Cream, Guava Puree and Pineapple Chip dessert is inspired by her grandmother’s rum cake. It’s amazing. Martha says it has great texture and she wants the recipe! And Gordon says it is something he’d like to take to his restaurants!

Justise’s Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries and Strawberry Meringue dessert has the perfect texture and flavor. It is perfectly creamy. Wolfgang said it could be found in the finest restaurant in Italy and Christina says, “It is out of this world!”


The judges believe both young cooks are very creative and skilled. But after much debate and discussion they decide on a winner. With the answer they return to the MasterChef Kitchen and ask Justise and Jasmine to change places with them on the main stage. Gordon says they both made Georgia proud. Martha says congratulations to both, “You are lovely young women.” Wolfgang says, “You two showed the world how passionate you are. Bravo!”

And the winner is … JASMINE!

She is so shocked she won, “Oh my God! I can’t believe they called my name. This is the biggest moment in my entire life! Whoever thought that a little girl from Milton, Georgia would ever be able to win “Master Chef Junior”? She gives Justise a huge hug and lets her hold the trophy, too! Jasmine tells her, “I couldn’t have won this competition without you, and that’s 100% for sure.” Justise is very happy for Jasmine, “She is a strong chef and she showed that and I’m really proud of her.”Jasmine is excited to see what comes next, “Winning means I have a big future ahead of me when it comes to the culinary world and I hope that I inspire other children to know that they can anything that they want to do. I AM THE NEXT MASTERCHEF JUNIOR!”

I loved this season a lot because all the kids were so sweet. I was super happy for Jasmine. I loved it when she let Justise hold the trophy, that was so nice.

I loved Shayne a lot, too, especially the way he was so respectful to his friends on the show. He defended Mashu’s dish in the redemption challenge, did not blame Justise for her mistake with the potatoes in episode 5, and had a sweet goodbye with Avani in episode 10. I believe he will be a great Head Chef one day.

Adam was also one of my favorites. He was such an amazing friend to the other cooks. I loved how he always hugged his friends goodbye, especially Gonzalo in episode 5. It was a loving goodbye, which is something a lot of kids in the world today are afraid to do. I was impressed. And even though Shayne and Adam didn’t win they didn’t really lose because both of them are winners in my heart based on their amazing attitudes and actions.



Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S5x14


The “Semi Finals” episode starts with the top 4 home cooks walking into the MasterChef Kitchen to find out they will have to make a dish with a very special ingredient: Chocolate! Tons of Chocolate Chips fall on the kids’ heads. Shayne tries some and tells Gordon they taste good! J The judges treat the home cooks to a perfectly made Chocolate Molten Lava Cake with a berry coulis. Their challenge will be to replicate this dessert. The winner of this challenge will get a big advantage going forward.

Adam and Jasmine are very comfortable baking. Adam loves science and baking is science. He says, “Making a Molten Lava Cake is like a science experiment. You have to have the right proportions. You have to have the right temp on the oven. And you have to have it cooked for the proper amount of time. And if one of those things goes wrong, you’re going to blow up your lab!”Justise and Shayne admit it is not their favorite kind of cooking. Time gets the better of Justise and she does not get her cake out of the ramekin. Shayne has trouble pulling the plate together and gets it down to the front just in time!


35 minutes is up! Time to taste them!

Shayne’s lava cake is stunning and tastes delicious. Unfortunately he did not get the fruit on his plate.


Jasmine’s lava cake plate is the most beautiful of the four. Christina says, “It’s gooey. It’s perfectly molten lava.”


Adam’s lava cake broke and is a bit under cooked. Gordon says he should have turned up the heat at the end to help it along. His fruit and coulis are great though.


Justise’s lava cake didn’t work out and fell apart. Flavor wise it is delicious, but this challenge got to her. Christina says, “You know how to fight, and you know how to recover.”


Jasmine has the best lava cake dessert and wins a big advantage. She can assign each home cook their protein for the elimination challenge; Pork, Lamb, Beef or Goat. Jasmine chooses Lamb for herself, gives Beef to Adam, Pork to Shayne and Goat to Justise.

During the cook time Adam knows how hard it is to elevate the beef and that he will have to take some risks by picking daring cut of beef and sides and do something special with the sauce.


Shayne is confident. He says the pork chop reminds him of a relaxing Sunday dinner at home, but tonight he will be stepping it up. The judges are confused when Shayne cooks two chops but uses a thermometer to check temp on the one he is plating instead of cutting into the spare chop to see if it’s done. Will his chop be undercooked?

Jasmine is making something out of her comfort zone to show the judges that she can cook more than her signature Jamaican flare. When Gordon asks her why she doesn’t go easier on herself, she answers, “Well, because, if you want to go easy, there’s really no reason for you to be here in this competition.”


Justise is taking a big risk cooking her goat leg in a pressure cooker because she is basically cooking blind. She is counting on it to give the goat lots of juices and flavor. Gordon is not sure she will have enough time for a proper curry dish.


Time is up.

Jasmine made Mediterranean Lamb with Herb Couscous, Olive Puree and Pickled Bell Peppers. The rack of lamb has a nice even sear and is cooked perfectly. The olive and fennel flavors are great compliments to her dish. Christina thinks the peppers should have been sliced thinner and Gordon thinks the couscous is an odd choice with rack of lamb. But overall, she nailed it. Gordon says, “It’s definitely one of the best cooked proteins, ever, in this competition. Well done.”

Adam made a Grilled Rib Cap with Mushroom Sauce, Endive Two Ways, Fennel-Endive Puree and Asparagus. This cut was a bold choice, but it needed to be basted, not baked, to render the fat down. And his veggies are under seasoned, but his mushroom is delicious. Gordon says, “It breaks my heart to say this, but this is one of your weakest performances.”

Justise made Vadouvan Goat Curry with Cilantro Scented Rice and Crispy Shallots. It is amazing. The meat is incredible, fragrant, spicy, sweet and sour. She nailed it! Christina says, “You took something that is not normally elevated and you brought it to another level.”

Shayne made Grilled Pork Chop with Maple Soy Glaze, Chipotle Sweet Potato Mash and Apple Slaw. The pork chop is cooked to perfection. Gordon says, “It’s glistening, it’s juicy, I mean seriously that’s fit to go into any top restaurant in New York, let alone London or Paris.” It is seasoned and glazed so well, but the sides are a bit messy. The hero is the protein and he nailed it.

In the end, the first cook in the Finale based on these dishes is Justise! The other home cook will be … Jasmine! That means Shayne and Adam are going home. 😦 This is a hard one, all four cooks are so amazing.

Christina says, “Adam, your ability, your desire to want to take risks and challenge the rules is really impressive. I have no doubt that your dream for your test kitchen is going to come true.” And Gordon says, “Promise you won’t stop.”Gordon says, “Shayne, not only are you one of the most lovable characters, but you and I’ve got a big connect, because you put your heart and soul into everything you do. This is why we started this competition, based on boys like you. Do you know that? Good man.” And Christina says, “You are an outstanding human being.”

Both kids get hugs and cheers when they are walking out and Shayne says, “Come on Adam, we’re fine.” 🙂

Final words from Adam: I’m sad to be leaving the MasterChef Kitchen. But this is definitely going to be a time of my life that I will never forget. I’ve grown so much since I’ve first came here. I’ve gone from being twelve year old science guy from Sacramento, California, to being a bona fide chef. I’m really proud of myself, I’ve done so much more than I ever thought I could. I’ve gotten to cook with some of the greatest chefs in the world. Now I have friends all over the country.

Final words from Shayne: I’ve put my heart and soul into everything in this competition. I represented Texas as best as I can. I mean, who thought a little kid from Texas would make the best vegan burger? Even though we had our bumps in the road, I’ve had so much fun, win or lose. All in all, how many kids can say they got into the semi-finals of the biggest cooking competition in the world? Not many. God had a plan no matter what happen, so I really think that if it was my time to go… it’s my time to go.

I really liked this episode because I was happy to see Shayne and Adam cook for one last time. I was also happy for Justise and Jasmine when they got in the finale. I think all the kids showed a lot of heart and support for each other.


And finally, to Shayne: (I hope you are reading) I just want to say thank you so, so, so much for reading my blog and saying such amazing things about it. When you gave me a shoutout on your Facebook page it made me so happy. You are a great friend. I have been rooting for you since day one. I really wanted you to win the whole thing and I was sad when you left. However, no matter what, you are a winner in my heart based on your amazing attitude. You were nice to all the kids on the show. You always had such a great time. I wish you the best of luck. I know you will get your Food Truck one day and go on to do amazing things.


Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S5x13




The “Pop Up Restaurant” episode starts with the top 6 home cooks walking into the MasterChef Kitchen to find out they will cook in a team challenge in a pop up restaurant set on a Californian beach. The judges choose the team captains, Cydney & Justise. The Red Team members are Cydney, Adam & Evan. The Blue Team members are Justise, Jasmine & Shayne. The wining team gets a place in the semi-finals!

The VIP guests are Los Angeles food industry professionals and they think the meal will be created by adult chefs. Christina tells them to prove “That in the culinary world, age means nothing!”

They will making pretty refined dishes. Pan Roasted Scallop with Polenta Cakes and Fried Quail eggs for an appetizer. And Pan Seared Red Snapper with Purple Potato Gnocchi and Chorizo-Saffron Lemon Broth for the entrée. The young home cooks watch Gordon’s demonstration carefully, take notes and get a little freaked out about all the steps involved.

During the cook time Cydney is having a little bit of a problem talking to her team. She has major difficulty flipping the polentas. Adam worries about whether his friend Cydney will be able to handle the stress.


Justise uses too much oil on the scallops and is in danger of overcooking the seafood. Jasmine steps up to help her Blue Team get their appetizers plated successfully.


Evan and Shayne are working of the quail eggs for their teams. This is not an easy job. Evan keeps breaking the tiny egg yolks or over cooking them. Shayne is also having problems with his pan being too hot. He has to start all over! Shayne says in frustration, “These quail eggs are so hard to get right! They break so easily! It’s like a little tiny pebble! How does anybody eat these?” His team ends up having to serve one table without eggs!


The teams regroup and head on to the entrée. Gordon wants them to do better.

Justise is doing great as the captain for the entrée service, but Cydney is completely frazzled. Gordon tells Adam to take over. Adam says, “I’m horrified right now because I don’t want to be the mean kid who thinks he can do better than the others. But, I also want to help out my team.” When Cydney says Adam should be the team captain he agrees to take over.

On the Blue Team the rapid pace of service pushes Shayne to serve up an undercooked fish. He is able to quickly fix it and the plates eventually go out.

Time is up. The VIP guests are impressed with the high quality of the food. But when the kids runs out to reveal they were executing the dishes, they are absolutely shocked!


Back in the MasterChef Kitchen the judges announce that although it was very close, the winning team is … THE BLUE TEAM! And that Adam is also going to the semi-finals because he did so well stepping up to captain the Red Team in the entrée service.


That means Cydney and Evan are going home. 😦 When they are walking out the kids are cheering for them from the balcony. Gordon says, “Cydney and Evan, two powerhouses.” And Christina says, “I think for both of you, I hope the thing you take is that it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about the journey. If you ask me, you both won. Evan, you blew us away week by week. You proved that you are strong student, a passionate guy, a great teammate, a great friend.” Gordon says, “Cydney, young lady, you did a phenomenal job. Stand strong. Continue baking. This is not the last we’ve heard of Cydney.”


Evan: Even though I didn’t get the MasterChef Trophy, I am proud of myself. I’ve learned so many new skills. I’ve learned a whole new level of communication and teamwork and I’m happy that I came here.

Cydney: I came into this competition a nervous wreck, but I have grown so much as a chef, but also as a person. I got to cook for my idol, Christina Tosi. This has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me. And I am sad to leave, but I am happy that I made such amazing friends.”

I liked this episode because I especially thought Adam was a class act when he said he didn’t want to be mean and take over for Cydney as captain unless she asked him to. 🙂


Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S5x12


“The Muppets Take MasterChef” episode starts with the top 6 home cooks walking into the MasterChef Kitchen to find two huge mystery boxes. They are doing a mini Team Challenge with Adam captaining the Red Team with Justise & Cydney. And Jasmine captaining the Blue Team with Shayne & Evan.

The young home cooks will be cooking a fine dining dinner for men and women who have followed their childhood dreams. Dreams like Adam’s becoming a food scientist, Shayne’s becoming a policeman or preacher or Jasmine’s becoming a plastic surgeon.

Their guests are ballet dancers, NASA scientists, cowboys, pilots, doctors, Olympians, fire fighters, construction workers, soldiers and chefs.

The Blue Team decides they will make monk fish and the Red Team will make lamb. And both teams struggle with their protein. Adam almost burns the lamb chops and cuts them too soon. Evan worries the monk fish is on the verge of being overcooked, but his team catches it in time.

Time is up! And the winning team with 55% of the vote is … the BLUE TEAM!

They will get 5 extra minutes to cook in the Elimination Challenge!


Next, the judges reveal 2 surprise guests: Miss Piggy and The Swedish Chef!!!!! They top 6 chefs will have to make Miss Piggy’s all-time favorite, Steak Frites (that’s steak and fries). And Miss Piggy will be cooking too, so she gets her own MasterChef Apron.

During the cook time the judge’s remind everyone some ONE is going home! 😮

Gordon tells Miss Piggy she can’t be on the phone and helps her cook her dish. Jasmine is comfortable making New York strip and homemade fries. The judge’s say Shayne is doing amazing with his steak. Cydney needs help with her potatoes. And Adam is a little worried about his fries. Time is up.

Justise’s New York strip is cooked perfectly and has a great taste. Christina says, ‘Strong showing, beautiful job.” The Swedish Chef plays with the meat, making it talk to itself, “Okeydokey!” Justise can’t help but laugh.

Shayne’s Steak and Fries looks amazing. It has a really good color and sear to it and tastes delicious. Gordon says, “Keep cooking like this and you are going to be around for a long time.” The Swedish Chef tells Shayne to taste the “moo-moo.” Shayne ties his New York strip and makes the universal sign for okaydokey! 🙂

Jasmine’s New York strip is a little closer to medium but is seasoned well and tastes delicious. Christina says, “That steak, you nailed. Nice job.”

Adam’s Steak and Fries are visually stunning but his New York strip is a little over cooked. His fries and sauce are delicious and Gordon says he hopes Adam doesn’t go home for a steak two minutes over, because everything else, he nailed.

Evan’s Steak Frites taste amazing. Christina says, “You are starting to become a real contender.” The Swedish Chef starts pounding the steak on the counter. It’s weird. But “Okeydokey.” Evan laughs al the way back to his station.

And even though Cydney is unsure about her steak, it turns out it is cooked well and her fries are amazing. The judges say it is “really beautiful,” “stunning,” & “perfect.” Cydney is so emotional the Swedish Chef calls her around the table to give her a hug. He says, “It’s okeydokey.” awwwwww

Miss Piggy’s Steak Frites dish is visually perfect. Christina says, “It’s almost too perfect.” But the Swedish Chef starts yelling and throwing the food at Miss Piggy because he knows Gordon actually cooked the dish.

Three super dishes belong to Justise, Evan and Jasmine! Shayne is safe, Adam is safe, & Cydney is safe too!

The one going home is … dun..dun..dun.. MISS PIGGY!

All 6 young home cooks are still in the game. 🙂

I liked this episode because I liked to see the kids cooking steak and frites and I thought the Swedish Chef and Miss Piggy were funny. I liked how Miss Piggy got Gordon’s name wrong every time (Godfrey, Gerald, Gary, Garland, Gerard, Gandalf, Gunther, Gabel, Goober, Gomer) and made the kids laugh. I love that none of the contestants had to leave tonight! 🙂