My Fantasy MasterChef JR Season 5

masterchef-junior-season-5-top-20Episodes 1 & 2

20 Audition Winners: Adam, Afnan, Avani, Charlie, Cydney, Donovan, Eddie, Elisabeth, Evan, Gonzalo, Jasmine, Justise, Lila, Mark, Mashu, Peyton, Sam, Shayne, Solomon & Syd. They will compete and 4 will make it to the Finale. 2 will win First Prizes, 2 will win Second Prizes.

Episode 3

For the first Mystery Box Challenge the top 20 young contestants have to cook with Chef Aarón Sánchez’s staple ingredients for Mexican Cuisine. The top 3 dishes belong to Gonzalo, Syd, and Adam. Gonzalo made 5 Spice Pork Chop, Syd made Chicken Enchiladas and Adam made Spicy Grilled Shrimp.

Gonzalo wins best dish and gets the advantage of being safe and choosing two kids to save from the Elimination Challenge. He saves Adam and Mark.

The remaining kid cooks have to make the best salmon dish of their lives. Shayne, Jasmine and Afnan have the best dishes of the night with crispy skin and nicely cooked fish.

While Sam, Cydney and Donovan’s salmon are in the bottom 3. Sam’s fish is overcooked, Cydney has undercooked fish with soggy skin and Donovan’s fish is too spicy and a bit overcooked.

Donovan is first to be saved, then Sam, which means Cydney is the first to go home. She says, “I’m sad to be going home so soon, but at least I made it to the top twenty and made some new friends along the way. I’m looking forward to seeing my sister again.”

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Episode 4

Shayne, Jasmine and Afnan compete in a mini-challenge to see who can make the most restaurant quality fried eggs. Afnan wins with 12 perfect eggs and is safe in the Elimination Challenge.

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The remaining 17 cooks have to make a Surf & Turf dish. Gonzalo makes the second best dish with his Grilled Steak with Spot Prawns and Shayne makes the best dish with his risky reverse Surf & Turf – Crispy Skin Sea Bass and Steak Medallions. Gonzalo and Shayne will be team captains in the next challenge.

Adam, Mark, Solomon, Jasmine and Avani also had good dishes.

Elisabeth, Eddie and Lila’s dishes are in the bottom 3. Elisabeth’s dish is overcooked and too safe, Eddie served undercooked chicken and overcooked shrimp, and Lila’s fish and pork were both overcooked.

Elisabeth is safe since her dish tasted okay and Lila is saved since her main protein was edible. Sadly, Eddie is the 2nd cook sent home. He says, “I think the judges made the right decision because I served raw chicken. That’s not safe. But I’m really proud of myself to have made it this far. I’m going to keep cooking when I get home.”

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Episode 5

In the first Team Challenge the top 18 home cooks will prepare meals for 101 firefighters in Las Angeles. As captain of the Red Team, Shayne picks Jasmine, Adam, Justise, Peyton, Avani, Afnan, Solomon & Evan.

As captain of the Blue Team Gonzalo picks Elisabeth, Mark, Syd, Sam, Mashu, Lila, Donovan & Charlie.

Both teams have problems. On the Red Team, Avani was starting to get flustered cooking the lamb and began to cry. But, Shayne came and helped her calm down. He said, “You are in the top 18 junior home cooks, you can do this!” His support helped get her back on track. On the Blue Team, Gonzalo does not check the chicken before serving and it is sent back because it is way under done. Gordon knew the chicken on the bone could be a problem since it needs to cook all the way. Mark & Mashu take over the grill from Sam and get the chicken fully cooked. In the end the RED TEAM triumphs over the Blue with their lamb dish.

Back in the MasterChef Kitchen Gonzalo is given the chance to either save himself or 3 other kids from the Pressure Test. He says he wants to save 3 others and chooses Mashu, Lila and Syd.

The remaining 6 kids have to make an apple pie from scratch. Gonzalo, Elisabeth and Mark make the top 3 pies, but the winning pie belongs to Mark. It has great flavor and the perfect flaky crust.

Sam, Donovan and Charlie’s pies are on the bottom. Sam undercooked his base and his filling was watery. Donovan burnt his crust badly. And Charlie’s apples were sticking out of his pie.

 

Charlie is saved since his pie tasted delicious and Donovan is also safe, that mean Sam is the next cook going home. He says, “ I’m going to go back home to Massachusetts and practice my baking skills. Maybe someday I’ll be able to bake a pie that satisfies Christina Tosi!”

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Episode 6

The 17 remaining cooks find baking ingredients under their Mystery Boxes. They have to make a great dessert. The top 3 bakers are Lila with her Banana Foster, Adam with his Vanilla Tart and Charlie with his Dark Chocolate Lava Cake.

Adam wins with his dessert and he is now in the top 16. Next, the remaining cooks have to make a vegan burger in the Elimination Challenge. When time is up, Adam gets to inspect all the dishes and save one contestant. Adam saves Gonzalo because his burger looks terrible and might get him sent home.

The 2nd best vegan burger belongs to Elisabeth and Shayne’s well-formed and great tasting burger is judged the best.

Jasmine, Afnan, Syd, Lila, Charlie and Avani also have good burgers.

Mark, Mashu & Solomon’s burgers are in the bottom 3. Mark’s breaks apart when stuck with a fork, Mashu’s curry flavored burger tastes raw and doesn’t work and Solomon’s is a bit too spicy.

Solomon is safe and so is Mark since his burger still tasted good, so Mashu is going home. Shayne is very disappointed to see his friend go, hugs him and says, “I will miss you a lot buddy.” A tearful Mashu says, “I’m super disappointed to be going home, but I’m happy for the experience and all the new friends I have made. This has been one of the best things I have ever done.”

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Episode 7

The top 16 young cooks have to prepare food for 101 guests at an Elevated Cafeteria Buffet. Shayne is the Captain of the Blue Team and picks Jasmine, Avani, Syd, Gonzalo, Solomon, Lila, & Justise.

Elisabeth is the Captain of the Red Team and picks Afnan, Charlie, Donovan, Adam, Mark, Evan & Peyton.

The Red Team does well until a raw burger is served. On the Blue Team, Syd accidently knocks over the pan with the cooked meat! She is really scared, but Shayne tells her it is okay and helps her cook more meat. In the end, the BLUE TEAM wins.

Back in the MasterChef Kitchen, the Red Team decides to save Afnan & Evan.

The remaining 6 have to cook Pan Seared Scallops. Adam makes the best scallops, they have a great sear and are cooked and seasoned well. He is safe. Charlie and Mark do well enough to also be safe.

Donovan, Elisabeth and Peyton’s dishes are the bottom 3. Donovan overcooked his scallop and they were a bit rubbery, Elisabeth’s dish was a little too simple and Peyton’s scallops were undercooked.

Elisabeth’s dish tasted good so she is safe, Donovan is also safe, so Peyton goes home. She says, “I’m so sad to be leaving the MasterChef Kitchen, but I’m really proud that I made it here out of thousands of kids. I’m going to keep cooking! This is not the last you’ve seen of me.”

Episode 8

For the next Mystery Box the top 15 cooks will prepare their choice of high quality steak. The judges expect a lot from the beef loving Texans – Shayne, Elisabeth & Solomon. The top 3 dishes are Jasmine’s Spiced Hanger Steak, Shayne’s Seared T-bone Steak, and Mark’s Pan Seared Flank Steak.

Shayne’s cook is most successful and he wins the challenge. He took the biggest risk cooking on bone and it paid off. He is safe.

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Now, the remaining 14 kids must cook a breakfast dish. Afnan made the 2nd best breakfast, a great omelet and Adam made the best dish, a Cheese Soufflé.

Gonzalo, Elisabeth and Lila’s dishes are in the bottom. Gonzalo’s poached eggs were a bit runny and the toast was burnt, Elisabeth’s dish was too predictable, not elevated enough and the bacon was chewy, not crisp. But Lila’s fancy scrambled eggs were uncooked and flavorless!

Gonzalo and Elisabeth are safe, therefore Lila is the next cook to go home. She says, “This was the best experienced of my life. I made so many new friends and I learned to cook some amazing things. I’m going to go home and cook breakfast for my family. Hopefully, the eggs will better!”

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Episode 9

The top 14 get their sunscreen on and head out to the beach to cook for 101 hungry vacationers. Blue Team Captain Adam picks Jasmine, Mark, Shayne, Gonzalo, Justise & Syd.

Red Team Captain Afnan picks Avani, Elisabeth, Solomon, Evan, Charlie & Donovan.

On the Blue Team, Gonzalo is having problems grilling the fish but Shayne and Mark are able to help him get it together. On the Red Team, Donovan is not so lucky. He burns the fish and it can’t be served! BLUE TEAM wins and unanimously decides to save Evan on the Red Team, from the Pressure Test.

The 6 remaining kids will make classic Fried Chicken. Avani, Afnan & Solomon’s are the top 3, but Afnan wins for adding spices inspired by his cultural heritage to his chicken.

Donovan, Charlie and Elisabeth’s fried chicken are in the bottom 3. Donovan’s chicken does not cook through and is raw at the bone, Charlie’s chicken has soggy skin and Elisabeth has overcooked her chicken and dried it out.

But tonight the cook going home is Donavan. Charlie and Elisabeth are safe. Donavan gets a bit tearful on his way out. He says, “I knew I was going home. I made one of the biggest mistakes you can make in the MasterChef Kitchen. I served raw chicken. But, I’m proud of how far I got and I’m NEVER going to stop cooking!”

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Episode 10

The top 13 will cook Louisiana Crawfish in the next Mystery Box Challenge. Crawfish are small freshwater crustaceans resembling lobsters and they take a bit of skill to get right. The top 3 dishes are Adam’s Spiced Crawfish, Elisabeth’s Texas Style Crawfish and Mark’s Poached Crawfish. Mark’s best dish wins him a spot in the top 12 and he heads up to balcony to cheer on his friends.

In the Elimination Challenge the kids must cook with mostly unused chicken parts: giblets, feet, beak, neck. Shayne wins with his very creative and great tasting Fried Chicken Feet!

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Jasmine, Adam, Afnan, Syd, Justise & Avani made dishes good enough to keep them in the competition,

but Gonzalo, Charlie & Elisabeth’s dishes are in the bottom 3. Gonzalo’s chicken liver was tasteless and dry. Charlie way overcooked his chicken feet, they were inedible. And Elisabeth’s dish was just chicken skin and potatoes, not much of a meal.

 

But Elisabeth is saved, and so is Gonzalo, which means Charlie is the next to be sent home. He says, “Maybe the judges are right, I have more to learn about cooking. I’m going to go back to Chicago and keep learning new stuff. I may open up a restaurant one day.”

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Episode 11

Tonight it’s a Two Member Team Challenge. Each pair of cooks will be working together to create an elevated Steak & Fries for the judges. Since Shayne had the best dish last week he gets to pick his partner and he chooses Jasmine. Shayne also gets to put the other teams together and he pairs Adam & Gonzalo, Evan & Syd, Avani & Justise, Elisabeth & Solomon, and Mark & Afnan.

Shayne & Jasmine win the challenge. Their steak is cooked flawlessly and the spice the they made was remarkable. Avani & Justise, Adam & Gonzalo, and Solomon & Elisabeth are also safe from elimination.

Evan & Syd and Afnan & Mark are in the bottom and will go on to a Taco Elimination Challenge and not one, but two of the young cooks will go home tonight.

Mark wins with Crispy Tacos, the beef is cooked nicely and the tortillas are browned to perfection. Syd’s tacos taste great and she is also safe. Sadly, Evan’s tacos are soggy and Afnan’s meat is undercooked. These two talented young cooks are going home. Evan says, “I’m kind of bummed to be going home, but I’m glad to have made it this far. I’ve learned to cook so many amazing dishes and made so many amazing friends, I feel like I won already.” And Afnan says, “I feel like I’ve represented my family very well and I am proud of the dishes I have made in the MasterChef Kitchen. I want to keep cooking, now more than ever!”

Episode 12

It’s a Redemption Episode! The last 6 cooks sent home come back. Two will win spots back in competition. Peyton, Lila, Donovan, Charlie, Evan & Afnan are excited to be back in the MasterChef Kitchen.

The remaining ten are super excited to see their friends again and cheer them on from the balcony. The first challenge is a skills test – seared scallops. Whoever cooks the most perfect scallops in ten minutes gets a huge advantage going forward. Donovan made 5, Peyton made 7, Charlie made 10, Evan made 12, Lila made 14, and the winner, Afnan made an incredible 16 perfectly seared scallops.

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Now, the home cooks will remake the dish that got them sent home. Since he won the scallop test, Afnan will get an 10 extra minutes cooking time in this challenge, plus 5 minutes of help from the young chef of his choice. He picks Shayne to help spice up his taco. In the end, Lila and Donovan’s dishes did not measure up to the other 4, they are the first to go home again. Evan and Afnan are called forward with their tacos. Evan’s are cooked well, but the shell is broken. Afnan’s look good and taste amazing. He nailed the textures and flavors. He wins a spot back in the kitchen. Finally, Charlie and Peyton dishes are tasted. Charlie’s chicken feet are cooked well, but they lack seasoning. Peyton’s scallops and veggies are cooked perfectly. Her dish is simple, but delicious and wins her a spot back in the competition. Afnan & Peyton are returning. Lila, Donovan, Evan & Charlie are going home again. They leave the kitchen heads held high, happy to have had another chance to cook and see their friends.

Episode 13

The top 12 will cook for a Kids’ Block Party. Adam and Jasmine’s names are picked from Gordon’s Chef’s hat, they will be team captains. Adam picks Peyton, Afnan, Justise, Syd & Avani for the Red Team

Jasmine picks Mark, Elisabeth, Solomon, Gonzalo & Shayne for the Blue Team.

The Blue Team does well until Elisabeth burns her hand on the grill distracting Mark who is concerned for her safety and ends up overcooking the burgers. The Red Team is running out of grass fed, no filler hamburger but Adam saves the team when he suggests they make sliders instead. He says, “They’ll be just the right size for little hands!” In the end, the competition is so close, the Read Team wins by just one vote! This means the Blue Team is going to the elimination round.

The judges tell Jasmine she can save one member of her team. She chooses Shayne because, “He was the backbone of our team, keeping the food moving out to the hungry children.” But Shayne does not take the save! He says, “I am here to cook and not take a free pass.”

His team follows his example, no one takes the save. The six young cooks must make one giant sized French Macaroon. Shayne wins with his Texas Style Classic Cola Macaroon. Christina says he has to give her the recipe so she can make them at the Milk Bar. Solomon, Elisabeth and Jasmine also do well, their macaroons keep them in the competition.

Mark and Gonzalo’s oversized cookies have problems and are in the bottom 2. Mark’s orange merengue cookie is undercooked and very chewy, but his vanilla cream filling is delicious. Gonzalo’s cookie cracks and has no feet. His cream was a bit mushy and overly sweet.

Mark is safe, Gonzalo is going home. The judges ask who he thinks will become champion and Gonzalo says all the kids could win, but he believes most in Adam. Adam hugs him goodbye and tells Gonzalo he will really miss him. Gonzalo says, “I’m going to miss all the new friends that I’ve made. This competition has really boosted my confidence, I’ve gotten tips from three of the best chefs in the world. When I get home, my family is going to be amazed by all the things I can cook now.”

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Episode 14

It’s the Pasta Mystery Box Challenge. The top 11 young home cooks will make pasta from scratch and compose restaurant quality dishes! The top 3 pasta dishes belong to Adam, Justise and Mark. Adam’s plate of farfalle is tender and seasoned perfectly. Justise’s tortellini are well formed and taste delicious with fresh basil pesto. Mark’s ravioli is well made and Christina says his ricotta filling is to die for. The winner is … Adam, and Justise, and Mark! All 3 win! Their pasta is so good the judges can’t pick a single winner, they are safe and in the top 10.

The remaining 8 kids head into the Elimination Test. They will be making Gordon Ramsay’s signature, Beef Wellington. This is not an easy dish. Syd is doing well until she drops her pastry covered filet mignon on the floor! She starts to cry, but Shayne rushes over to comfort with a hug and helps her get everything cooked and prepared for the oven again.

The judges taste each dish carefully. Solomon has the 2nd best Beef Wellington, his filet is cooked medium rare and the side carrots taste great. Shayne has the best dish. The puff pastry is cooked to a perfect golden brown and is nice and crispy. The beef is seasoned well and a perfect medium rare. Gordon says if he didn’t know better he’d think he’d made this Beef Wellington himself! Christina says she can’t help but praise him for helping Syd when she was in trouble.

Jasmine, Afnan and Avani also did well.

Peyton and Syd’s dishes are on the bottom. Peyton’s beef is undercooked and her puff pastry is raw. Syd overcooked her beef a bit and burned the pastry dough, but her flavors are there.

After a rough go of it, Syd is safe. Sadly, Peyton is the next to go home. She says, “I’m going home again, but I’m grateful I got a second chance to cook for the judges. And to cook alongside these amazing friends. I think this second chance has helped me improve as a chef.”

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Episode 15

It’s a Texas Food Truck Team Challenge! The top 10 will be split into two teams to serve Texas Barbeque and Spicy Slaw to hungry folks who will vote on their favorite. Shayne is the Blue Team Captain and picks Jasmine, Syd, Avani & Justise.

Solomon is the Red Team Captain and picks Afnan, Adam, Elisabeth & Mark.

On the Red Team Solomon burns some beef but Adam steps in to help get things back on track. On the Blue Team Syd is panicking with the stress of the fast paced service but Shayne takes her aside for a breather and tells her she can do it. Blue Team’s food is top notch and is voted the best food truck.

For the Pressure Test the Red Team will cook Shrimp & Grits. Adam’s dish wins. The cook on his shrimp is spot on and the judges think his Mediterranean spin on the flavors is genius. Mark and Afnan made dishes that keep them safe.

Solomon and Elisabeth’s dishes are in bottom. Elisabeth’s shrimp are cooked well but her grits are too wet and make the dish soggy. Solomon’s shrimp is undercooked and the grits are overly spicy.

Elisabeth is safe, Solomon is going home. Shayne is sad to see him go, gives him a hug, says “You are an amazing chef man.” When the judges ask, Solomon says he thinks Shayne will be one of the overall winners. As he is leaving the MasterChef Kitchen Solomon says, “You’d think I would be disappointed going home, but I’m not. I mean, I made it to the top ten best kid cooks in America! And I met so many new friends I would not have met otherwise. Overall, this was an amazing experience!”

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Episode 16

Under the Mystery Box the top 9 home cooks find a big bowl of rice. The young cooks will make a restaurant quality rice dish to wow the judges. The top 3 dishes are Jasmine’s Shrimp & Rice Curry, Avani’s Rice Cakes and Afnan’s Chicken & Rice.

Afnan’s elevation of simple ingredients wins him a spot in the top 8, he is safe from elimination. He gets to select another young to cook to save and he chooses Justise. They high five it to the balcony to watch the Elimination Test.

The remaining kids will replicate Gordon’s Fish & Chips. He demonstrates his technique in fileting the cod and cooking up the potatoes. Shayne and Jasmine have the top 2 versions. Their fish is flaky and moist, the breading is seasoned well and crunchy and their fries are uniform and taste great.

Elisabeth and Mark’s dishes are the bottom 2. Elisabeth’s fish portions were too small and her fries were overcooked. Mark overcooked the fish a bit, but his fries are okay.

At the end, Mark is saved. Elisabeth goes home. But, Gordon wants her to keep following her food dream and promises MasterChef cooking classes back in Texas. He asks who she thinks will win the competition and she says she is betting on her fellow Texan, Shayne the Train. She says, “I can’t believe I’m going to take more cooking classes! This is so exciting! I’m going to learn how to cook new dishes for my family. And I’ve made great friends here. I know I’m only 9-years-old, but I have to say, this has been the greatest experience of my life, so far.”

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Episode 17

The top 8 young cooks must go through Skills Tests cooking with cheese to secure their spot in the top 7. First they will make an elevated Mac & Cheese dish. 4 kids will be safe, 4 will continue cooking in the next test. Shayne made the best Mac & Cheese dish. The judges love his Texas flavors. Jasmine, Avani and Adam are also safe with decent Mac & Cheese dishes.

Afnan, Mark, Justise & Syd must cook again, this time a Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Afnan and Mark are safe, both of their sandwiches have nice grill marks and a great crunch.

Next, Syd and Justise cook again and make the very difficult, Cheese Soufflé. Both do a good job,

but one soufflé has a slight edge … it belongs to … Syd. That means Justise is going home. She tells the judges she thinks Shayne & Jasmine will be the ultimate winners of the season. Justise says, “I’m a little sad to be going home, but I made it to the top 8 and learn so much. I am excited to be going home to see my little sister again and tell her about this amazing journey I’ve been on.”

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Episode 18

Under the Mystery Box the top 7 find a huge jar of Nutella. Their challenge is to make an amazing dessert with this chocolate and hazelnut spread. Everyone looks pretty excited to get started. The top 3 desserts are Jasmine’s Nutella Cake, Mark’s Nutella-Stuffed Cookies and Avani’s Nutella Biscuits.

Jasmine wins best dessert with her super moist cake and buttercream frosting. She is safe and gets to pick the 3 teams for the upcoming Game Day Platter Tag-Team Challenge.

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Jasmine pairs, Shayne & Syd, Mark & Adam and Afnan & Avani.

During the fast paced challenge Syd is getting flustered multitasking, but Shayne is patient and motivates her with encouraging words. “You can do it! I know you can do it!” In the end, Shayne & Syd win with the best platter. They nail the Chicken Wings and Burgers. Syd does amazing wrapping the Pigs-in-a-Blanket. The Jalapeño Poppers are perfection. And Shayne tasty Spicy Guacamole and Chips are a hit. Gordon loves how these two young cooks worked together to make a great platter.

Afnan & Avani did well too.

Mark & Adam’s platter is in the bottom with several problems. The Wings are undercooked and the Burgers over overcooked. The Pigs-in-a-Blanket are flat because the pastry is raw. Their homemade Chips fall apart and the Poppers never make it on the cutting board.

Adam’s Guacamole is the one outstanding component and he is safe. So tonight, Mark is going home. Mark and Adam hug, both are tearful. Mark tells Adam, “You made me a better cook.” Adam tells Mark, “You’re my best friend.” Mark predicts Adam will win in the finale. He says, “That was a tough challenge but I wouldn’t want to have cooked alongside anyone else. I have had a great time competing in the MasterChef Kitchen, meeting the judges and making lots of new friends. It’s been awesome!”

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Episode 19

The top 6 will do the Restaurant Takeover in a LA Hotspot. Shayne is the Blue Team Captain and picks teammates Jasmine and Avani. Syd is the Red Team Captain and picks teammates Adam and Afnan.

When they are cooking Syd cuts her finger badly. Shayne runs over from the Blue Team’s side to comfort her while the medic examines the wound. She may have hit a nerve and needs to go to the emergency room for stiches. Gordon says she can come back for the Pressure Test to try and stay in the competition. The Red Team will compete with only two cooks, but Shayne steps up to Captain both teams! Gordon is impressed as Shayne checks all the plates going out to be sure they are done correctly. In the end, the Blue Team wins with only three more votes from the restaurant guests.

Back in the MasterChef Kitchen, Syd, Adam and Afnan will make a lava cake in the dreaded Pressure Test. Adam’s cake comes out perfectly, the filling oozes out just like it should. Afnan’s lava cake is text book quality. The judges are amazed by his baking ability. And Syd’s is also excellent. Even though she is not sure it’s baked long enough, it is actually done just right. The judges don’t know how to choose a winner, or a loser, among these well executed desserts. Finally, they announce that … No one is going home! All three cooks are safe! Top 6 again next week!

Episode 20

In this fun and exciting episode the top 6 young cooks will be making dishes for past MasterChef Jr Contestants. The teams are randomly chosen. The Blue Team has Shayne, Adam and Jasmine. The Red Team has Avani, Syd and Afnan. Each kid will get a chance to be Team Captain during the challenge … On the Blue Team, Shayne does great as captain because he has really learned how to run a team. Adam struggles with the pressure of having less cooks to help in the kitchen, but he gains confidence as he learns to delegate the work. And Jasmine’s natural leadership ability shine through. On the Red Team, Syd and Avani both have trouble as captains because they are still trying to find their voices. Afnan helps his team along and when he steps in to be the captain he strongly leads them to the finish.

Nathan, winner from Season 3 enjoys the cook on the Blue Team’s Seared Duck. He thinks the flavors pair well with the sides of carrots and peas. Logan, winner from Season 2, loves the Red Team’s Poached Halibut. He thinks the delicate fish has been handled correctly and the lemony broth is divine. And Alexander, winner from Season 1, thinks both teams dishes are done well. He does have a favorite but he keeps that information to himself before the voting. In the end, the BLUE TEAM wins by a small margin.

Afnan, Syd and Avani head to the Pressure Test to make a Pork Chop.

All three cooks are nervous because this is a cut that can easily go wrong fast. Afnan’s pork chop is the best of the three. The pork is nice and juicy, with amazing spices. Syd’s pork chop is a bit overcooked and way over spiced. It is too hot for the judges palettes. And Avani’s pork chop is also overcooked, but her spice mixture pleases the judges. Avani will be in the top 5 and sadly, Syd is going home. When the judges ask who she thinks will win, Syd says, Shayne will win. She thanks him for being so nice to her and says, she might not have gotten this far without his support and help boosting her confidence. Almost in tears, Shayne thanks her and gives her a give big hug goodbye. Syd says, “When I came back into the MasterChef Kitchen I wasn’t sure that I really belonged here. But then, my confidence just grew and grew. I made so many new friends here, learned from some of the greatest chefs in the world and had tons of fun. This has been the best time in my nine years of living!”

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Episode 21

Semifinals! The top 5 will choose their ingredients from the pantry and make their Signature Dish. The winner will take the first spot in the Finale. Adam’s Chicken Kiev is spot on. Aarón loves the flavors. Afnan’s Surf & Turf is okay, but he overcooks the shrimp a bit. Avani’s Curry Chicken looks amazing, but unfortunately her chicken is undercooked. Jasmine’s Oven Baked Meatballs are very good, but the cook is uneven. And Shayne’s Chicken Tenders are perfect. Gordon says these are something he would eat every day. The first young home cook to make it to the finale is … ADAM! He is so happy. He puts on his Chef Coat and heads up to the balcony.

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The remaining 4 contestants randomly choose a different cut of meat to cook in the next challenge. Shayne gets lamb, Avani gets chicken, Afnan gets beef and Jasmine gets pork. Shayne’s lamb is a perfect medium rare and the judges are impressed by his Tex-Mex seasoning. Aarón says he’d put that lamb chop in one of his restaurants. Afnan’s New York Strip is a little overcooked, however the side rice is simply amazing. Jasmine nailed her pork chop. All the judges love the Jamaican Spice Rub she created. Christina says she should bottle it and sell it in stores! And Avani’s chicken thigh with skin is cooked well inside, but the skin is not very crispy. The Judges decide the next home cook in the Finale is … SHAYNE! And then they announce that JASMINE is also going to the Finale! Shayne and Jasmine help each other put on their Chef Coats and run up to the balcony to join Adam.

Now, Afnan and Avani will cook in a final Pressure Test. They have to make not one, not two, but three beef dishes!!! They have to make a Hamburger, Meatloaf, and Filet Mignon in just 60 minutes. Both the kids get cooking with great determination. In the end, Afnan’s burger is cooked well, but has too much spice. Avani’s burger looks good, but it turns out it is overcooked. Afnan’s meatloaf is messy, but tastes amazing. Avani formed hers well and it tastes even better than Afnan’s. They are neck and neck going into the last dish, the Filet. Afnan had the better burger and Avani had the better meatloaf, it all comes down to this last dish. The one with the best Filet Mignon is … AFNAN! His sear and cook could not be better. He hugs Avani goodbye, puts on his Chef Coat and heads up to the balcony.

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Avani is tearful, but still smiling. The judges praise her work in the kitchen and tell her to keep cooking. Avani says she believes Shayne will be the winner in the Finale. On her way out of the kitchen Avani says, “I’m extremely proud of myself! How many 8-year-olds can say they made it to the semifinals of MasterChef Jr. I’ve learned so much about cooking and how to work in a professional kitchen. I’ve made so many great dishes, but most importantly, I’ve made so many new friends and we will all be friends forever. I’ll never stop cooking!”

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Episode 22

It is My MasterChef Jr Finale! Adam, Afnan, Jasmine and Shayne are ready to compete for the grand prize. Their families and the 16 other competitors are in the MasterChef Kitchen to cheer them on. They will cook an Appetizer, an Entrée, and a Dessert. Chef Christina Wilson, winner of Hell’s Kitchen Season 10, will be the Guest Judge alongside Aarón Sánchez, Christina Tosi and of course, Gordon Ramsey.

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The Appetizer

Adam makes Mediterranean Spot Prawns and they look beautiful. The shell fish are cooked just right and have a great heat to them. Wilson loves the broth as well. Afnan makes Spicy Chicken Curry that Chef Aarón loves. He says the flavors meld together perfectly. Chef Gordon disagrees, he think it is too spicy, but the chicken is cooked nicely. Shayne makes a Poached Lobster Tail. Chef Gordon’s mouth is watering because it looks delicious. All the judges say they are cooked perfectly, seasoned well and taste as delicious as they look. And Jasmine makes Jamaican Shrimp & Grits. Chef Aarón is impressed by the expert cook on the shrimp. Chef Wilson says she wants to take the spice combination back to her kitchen.

The Entrée

Shayne makes seared Venison Loin and it looks absolutely incredible. Chef Gordon says, “If this is overcooked, it is game over Shayne the Train.” He slowly cuts into the meat to see it is a perfect medium rare. Chef Wilson is amazed a 13-year-old can cook venison better than some of the chefs she has met. Chef Gordon says the meat is seasoned perfectly, is nice and juicy and tastes out of this world. “It’s the best dish I’ve ever had in any finale, young man!” Shayne is psyched. Afnan makes Smoked White Fin Tuna and it is cooked to tender perfection. Chef Christina says the sear on the skin is remarkable, a true delicacy. Jasmine makes a difficult Jerk Chicken Leg and it is cooked just right. As always, her seasoning is spot on, but the judges agree she would have benefited by putting it on a larger plate. And Adam makes Duck a l’Orange. Chef Gordon worries it may be undercooked, but Adam says slight undercooking brings out the full flavor of the bird. And he is right! All 4 of the judges love the flavors of duck and orange together. Again, Chef Wilson is shocked someone Adam’s age can execute such a complex dish.

The Dessert

Jasmine makes a simple, but elegant Coconut Cake. It is moist and layered perfectly, Chef Christina is a big fan of the fresh coconut frosting and Chef Aarón asks if he can have a second slice. Adam makes a Vanilla Crème Brûlée. The sugar topping is burned to a perfect crisp and the airy custard is to die for. Chef Christina says it’s the best she’s ever tasted and she would like the recipe for the Milk Bar. Shayne surprises everyone with a Smoked Bacon Flan. The savory bacon is nice and crispy and adds an unexpected depth to the sweet custard tart. Chef Gordon loves how Shayne, unaccustomed to baking, took a risk making a dessert he had not made before while staying true to his Texan roots. And Afnan makes a Chocolate Mousse Cake that looks a bit lopsided on the plate, but tastes amazing. Chef Aarón loves the spiced chocolate on top and the heat it leaves behind in the mouth. Well done kids!

The Decision

All four young cooks brought everything they had to MasterChef Kitchen tonight. The judges know they’ve put their hearts on the plates and they appreciate every delicious bite. But they have to pick 2 winners and Wilson says even though all four are great cooks, she knows which 2 cooks should win. The judges and the young home cooks switch places on stage. The winners of My MasterChef Junior are … SHAYNE & ADAM!!

They give each other a big hug and then the 4 finalists do a giant group hug. Syd runs over and gives Shayne a huge hug and Mark and Gonzalo congratulate Adam with more hugs. Both Shayne and Adam get $100,000 and the MasterChef Jr Trophy. Afnan and Jasmine get $50,000 each and MasterChef Jr Medals.

Afnan says, “Even though I didn’t win, I’m proud that I earned my way back into this competition and cooked myself all the way to the finale. And I definitely know that my family is going to be really proud of me. I’m never going to stop cooking, never ever!” Jasmine says, “It’s hard to get so close, and not win, but I have been one of the most consistent competitors in this competition and that feels like a personal win to me. I’m definitely going to open up a restaurant one day. You have not seen the last of me!”

Adam says, “I can’t believe I won! This is so exciting! This is validation that I am going to be an amazing chef someday. I can’t wait to get started!”

And Shayne says, “I’m so proud of myself and all the other cooks here. Not only did I win, I did something even more incredible, I made a bunch of new friends I will have forever. And I think that’s what this competition is all about. I’m going to open my Tex-Mex Food Truck one day, and EVERYONE is invited to come by and have some of my special barbeque!”