Max’s Favorite Kid Cooks!

MasterChef Junior Season 1

Alexander: I liked him from the start. I could tell he was a very kind kid and I loved how he always helped his friends when they needed it. When he helped Dara calm down during the finale he showed maturity and class. He’s really grown up since the show and I’m happy to see that he is still cooking up a storm. I hope I get to try one of his famous meals one day.


Kaylen: It was exciting to see Kaylen in the MasterChef Junior Best Moments Show and to learn she is still cooking. I always wished she had gone further in the competition. I’ll never forget how she supported Alexander in the cake challenge, even though he was her biggest competitor. It showed she really cares about her friends.


Gavin: It was great to see Gavin make it to the top six of his season. I came to appreciate his friendliness when I saw behind the scenes photos of him hanging out with his competitors between shows. He always looked happy and like he was having a good time with his friends.


Dara: Another really good kid cook. I liked her super positive attitude during Season 1. When Alexander won in the finale she hugged him and told him he did a good job. It was nice to see her being genuinely happy for him at the end of such an intense competition. It was surprising to me that is now old enough to have her driver’s license.


MasterChef Junior Season 2

Logan: It took me a little while to warm up to Logan, but as the season went on I began to really appreciate him. His relationships with the other kids were so sweet, it showed that in addition to winning he really wanted to make friends. I loved that despite his fierce rivalry with Samuel, he made sure to be kind at the end. Logan also supported me when I was sick. He sent me a signed Chef Hat that I will treasure forever and let me know that a character in his new manga cookbook had my name. I admire Logan’s accomplishments very much and enjoy following him on social media.


Jessica: Even though she did not make it that far in the competition she was one of my favorites. I remember one time another young cook was crying and Jessica got up to hug and comfort her friend. I was excited to see that after the season ended she got to appear at an event with Logan and Graham Elliot. I know she is still cooking, so if they have a MasterChef Junior All Star Season I hope she gets to come back and compete again.


Josh: When I watched the season again to write my recaps I found that I really liked Josh. He was always checking up on the other kids when they were sad. It’s great to see that Josh is finding opportunities to cook alongside professional chefs in New York.


Levi: My original fav in MasterChef Junior Season 2! I liked how nice he was to the other kids. When Sam had to restart his dish, Levi encouraged him and told him he could do it. I was so sad when Levi got cut since he was my favorite and it meant I wouldn’t get to see him on the show anymore. Now he has his own cupcake business and I hope I get to try one someday.


Adaiah: She was a great cook (top four) and a great friend to others on the show. I liked how Adaiah always had positive things to say about the other kids’ cooking. And she was one of the first to offer goodbye hugs at the end of the show each week. I follow Adaiah on Instagram and am interested when she posts new dishes.


MasterChef Junior Season 3

Nathan: I loved seeing him all grown up on the MasterChef Junior Best Moments Show. I knew he was going to be my fav at the start of Season 3. He seemed like a thoughtful boy and he only had good things to say about the other kids. Nathan was often visibly sad when his friends left the show. I was so happy for him when he won. He really earned it and he is still a great cook. The pictures of cakes he posts on Instagram are amazing! Also, I was touched when Nathan sent me a get well message when I was sick and said he hoped I would get better soon. His support helped me a lot.


Kayla: She always worked hard. I loved how she was sweet and caring to her friends. And even though Jenna yelled and made her cry during the tag team challenge, Kayla remained a loyal friend. I follow her continued cooking exploits on Instagram and was happy to see her little sister compete in a Chopped Jr. episode. Recently, she placed second on Stove Tots. Her cooking talent is still a big inspiration.


Jimmy: Such a polite boy and talented young cook. It’s been fantastic watching him grow up on social media. He is always cooking something new, like the cinnamon bun waffles I just had to try for myself! Jimmy has also been very supportive of my recap blog and reached out with well wishes when I was in the hospital. I know he is going to go far with his cooking. Check him out on his regular visits to The Doctors on local CBS stations.


Cory: I liked Cory’s energy on the show. I could tell he really loved to cook and he always looked like he was having fun. When I watched the season again I liked him even more because I realized he was funny. I’m one of his 31.6 thousand followers on Instagram! And excited that he recently got his business started and ships to Connecticut!


Ryan Kate: This young lady was one of my big favs. She was so positive and encouraging to her friends. I remember when she comforted Jenna and Kayla after the terrible tag team challenge. “You tried your best!” Ryan Kate has also been very supportive of my posts and recaps. And she sent me get well wishes when I needed them most. I hope to see her cooking again in the MasterChef Kitchen if they ever have an All Star Challenge. And I was so proud of her when she won first place in Stove Tots. Amazing person.



MasterChef Junior Season 4

Nate: One of my all-time favorite young cooks. He was super nice to all the kids and glad to make friends. I noticed how he and Jesse became close. I was sad when he left, it was too early. He’d be great in an All Star Season. I continue to follow Nate on social media. Once he gave me a shout out on Instagram, he said I was the best fan ever and called me brother.


Zac: Such an amazing chef! He got along well with all the kids and was never mean. I remember that Zac felt sad when one of his best friends, Sam left the show. I was incredibly sad when Zac was eliminated in the semifinals. I believed he could win the whole thing. Zac was kind enough to send me a signed Master Jr tee shirt when I was feeling poorly. It hangs on my wall and makes me smile every day. He finally got his win on Stove Tots, a moment I had been literally waiting to see for forever. Zac is still cooking and very active on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.


JJ: I really like JJ because he was one of the nicest kids in Season 4. He was all heart and always gave big hugs to the other kids. It was so sad when he left the show. I think he deserved better. JJ surprised me with a great video message when I was sick. I loved it. Like he said, I really am one of his biggest fans! I believe he is going to go far if he keeps following his passions.


Kaitlyn: She is a very talented young cook and one of my favorites. I remember the time she had to throw the fish and how she had so much fun in the kitchen. She was a kind hearted kid and cheered on her friends even though they were her competition. I thought it was nice that she and Tae Hoe dated for a little while after the show ended, even though they lived far away from each other. ❤


Avery: She was one of the young home cooks I liked even more after the show ended. As I watched the season again for my recaps I realized what a sweet and funny girl she was. Her facial expressions were priceless. And the episode where she and JJ had to make a platter of street food neither of them had ever eaten really highlighted her “can do” attitude. She was team player and passionate cook. I wish Avery all the best!




MasterChef Junior Season 5

Shayne: He was my favorite from the start and turned out to be the nicest kid in the season. Shayne was friendly and kind to everyone. He showed he cared when others were sad with hugs and words of encouragement. As a captain he did a great job leading his team. I love how he reads my blog and calls it art. I was very sad when he left the show since I made a connection with him. Shayne has kept busy cooking at events and working for charities. He stands against bullying! And was amazing in his efforts to help those in need after Hurricane Harvey in Texas. If you check out his Facebook or Instagram you’ll get to meet his new friend Ramsay. 😊


Adam: Also a very nice boy. I love how he always gave hugs to the kids when they left the show and how he was not afraid to show his feelings. It’s been fun to see that he has continued a friendship with Mark after the show. Adam was nice enough to send me an autographed picture. It’s easy to be a fan of Adam.


Jasmine: She was exceptional in many ways on the show. She never gave up, even after being eliminated. She stayed positive and faced each new challenge with a smile. I liked how Jasmine was kind to the other contestants as they said goodbye. And I really loved how she asked Justise to hold the MasterChef Trophy with her in the finale. I follow her on Instagram and Jasmine continues to impress me with her maturity and love for food.


Gonzalo: He stood out as an expressive and big hearted kid on the show. He was always nice to the other young cooks, generous with hugs and compliments. I’ll never forget his first goodbye with Adam. It was amazing to see the kids show their feelings of friendship. Gonzalo is still cooking Peruvian food and it looks as delicious as ever on Instagram. I’d love to see him return for an All Star Season.


Afnan: A world traveler and a great cook, he was humble too. I admired Afnan’s devotion to his family’s roots in Bangladesh. I liked how he was often willing to help the younger kids when they needed help carrying large equipment. And Afnan was first to offer hugs when it was time for goodbyes. I was disappointed when he left at the top 8. So happy to see he’s still cooking on social media.



Other Kids Cooking Shows

Gibson: Racheal vs Guy Kids He was so nice to the other contestants, always caring when they were upset. I loved his story about how cooking helping him deal with bullying at school. His words at the end of the season, that he hoped he could inspire other kids who are bullied, were amazing. Fun Fact – if you watch Gibson’s win without sound, you might think Amber won by the look on her face.


Hunter: Racheal vs Guy Kids Cookoff & Chopped Teens He is the kind the kid who never gives up. After he did not win Racheal vs Guy, he went to compete in Chopped Teens and took home a win. Knowing what it can feel like to lose, he was respectful of his fellow cooks when they got chopped. Hunter is good guy.


Chris: Racheal Ray Kids What an incredibly supportive young man. When the other kids were upset and crying, he would tell them they were amazing. He really cares about feelings. I enjoy seeing his cooking event posts on Facebook and Instagram and would like to try his Awesome Sauce & Liquid Gold! #chriswithatwist I really hope he gets a chance to be on another show. I think he would great on Chopped Teens. He has also been very nice to me and sent me an autographed picture.


Jack: Chopped Junior When the judges were surprised he shared ingredients with the other cooks, he asked why wouldn’t he? Class act. He had such positive energy. I love how he and Mark went out for milkshakes after the show. Even though he didn’t win on the Chopped Junior Champions, he did a great job, and it was fun to see him cooking again.



Alex P: Kids Baking Championship & Chopped Junior He is one of my favorites because he was super kind on the baking show. He made me laugh when he talked about his grandmother. He went home too soon on Chopped Junior, and I bet he would have done really well in the dessert round. I hope he gets to compete on another show because he is such a good baker.


Mason: Chopped Junior & Stove Tots He is one of my big favs because he is such a sweet kid. He was so nice to the other kids on the shows, which shows he isn’t just about winning. I still enjoy seeing him cook online and follow his food blog Mason has also been super nice to me. He sent me a nice package with his cookbook, some candies and his autograph picture. He loves by blog and has even called me his friend. He says I am an amazing person and he wants to meet me in person someday. I am honored to be have him as an online friend. He is my fav Chopped Jr winner, I hope to see him on tv again.


Isaiah: Food Network Star Kids & Chopped Junior He was so nice to everyone and cared about them when they were sad. I think he is a great kid. I was so sad when he did not win Food Network Star Kids because he was really talented and wanted him to win. I like watching his fusion cooking videos on You Tube Account, Cooking With Chef Anthony Check it out!


Christian: Chopped Junior What a nice kid. I especially liked how he talked about wanting to win for his sister who had open heart surgery. I was happy when he won. I hope I get to see Christian compete on another show sometime soon, maybe represent Massachusetts in a MasterChef Junior Season!


Caroline: Chopped Junior & Stove Tots She was such a nice girl. I liked it when she helped Sofia plating in the last seconds of the dessert round. She was being a true friend and a great competitor. When kids do this they show they want their best dish to go against the other kid’s best dish. I liked how Sofia and Caroline held hands to find out who won. And then she won again on Stove Tots, that was amazing.


Aidan F.: Chopped Junior & Chopped Junior Champs Another great kid. I really liked his story. He said school was hard because of his dyslexia, and cooking was a lot more fun. Mark Murphy said he could relate, he has dyslexia too, and that learning to cook was a great path to success for him. I was happy Aidan won. And it was great to see him return for the Champs Show and win his round. His cooking skills are getting better and better and I like following his Instagram posts.


Nick & Natraj: Chopped Junior I loved both of them on the show. Nick talked about writing a cookbook and Natraj talked about how cooking helped him overcome bullying at school. Both really nice boys. I was glad they made it to the dessert round together, and although I was happy for Nick when he won, I wish Natraj could have won too. Double winning would be amazing!

Liam D.: Chopped Junior I was impressed that he wanted to donate winnings to the homeless, so they could get homes. Caring about the people living on the streets shows what a very nice kid he is. I also love how he dyes his hair and can be himself. I follow him on Instagram and he still cooks a lot.


Christopher& Kaj: Chopped Junior I liked these two kids a lot. Christopher was brave to share that he was bullied at school and didn’t have many friends. Cooking helped him feel less lonely. Before they went to the final chopping block Kaj told Christopher that no matter what happens they would always be friends. And when Kaj won he gave Christopher a supportive hug. Two strong kids, I hope they get to be on MasterChef Junior someday, I think they would be really good on the show and make lots of new friends

Aidan: Kids Baking Championship My instincts told me he was going to be my fav on the show right from the start. He was positive and funny and knew a lot about baking. And he was kind. I loved when it ran across the kitchen to Kaniyah and helped her make whipped cream. What a great friend. I follow Aidan on Instagram and am happy to see that in addition to great baking he’s also making savory dishes


Liam P.: Chopped Junior On the show Liam was great cook and nice to the other kids. I liked how he gave Megan a big hug goodbye at the end. It was so sweet it even made Geoffrey Zakarian tear up. I literally jumped for joy when I found him on Instagram! He is still cooking and posts delicious looking Hawaiian dishes.


CJ: Online Chopped Junior Auditions I’m glad I found this video online because I was touched by CJ’s story about how cooking helped distract him from being bulled at school. It’s sad to me think about how many kids are bullied. I’m glad cooking helps them feel better. I really hope CJ keeps trying and gets to be on Top Chef Junior’s second season. He almost made it on to Chopped Junior, so he is a very good cook. I would love to see him shine on T.V.


Kieran: Chopped Junior What I liked best about Kieran is how wanting to win did not make him act rude. When Ava was so sad and tearing up after being chopped in the dessert round, it was great to see him give her a big hug and be a friend. I follow him on Instagram and he is still cooking strong in Pennsylvania.


Fuller: Chopped Junior & Top Chef Junior Fuller is such an amazing kid. He started watching cooking shows in the hospital when he had cancer and decided he wanted to learn how to cook too. Watching him in the kitchen, it’s easy to see how determined he is to succeed. I was so happy he won Chopped Jr. and excited to see him again on Top Chef Jr. It was really sad when he had to leave the competition for medical reasons, but it was the best choice for his health. I follow Fuller on Instagram, he looks great, healthy and strong, and cooking up a storm!


Milo: Top Chef Junior He was my fav. I loved when he made a butter stuffed burger in honor of his best friend, Fuller. He said he wanted to make his friend smile. I was so sad when he left the show, he was so close to winning. I hope you competes on TV again and keeps following his cooking dreams.


Logan G.: Chopped Junior I felt bad for him when he was having trouble with the wonton wrapper and started to doubt himself. I loved that he didn’t give up and kept on cooking. I thought he was a really nice kid and I was happy for him when the won and got a chef’s coat.


Jacob: Kids BBQ Championship, Chopped Junior & Stove Tots If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Jacob had a rocky path. He was always in the bottom on Kids BBQ, came close to winning on Chopped, but then finally won Stove Tots! I was so happy for him. I liked how he never gave up and earned a win. He is an amazing fighter.


Elliot: Chopped Junior & Stove Tots He is a nice boy and I was glad to watch him cook on tv and online. I like his long hair style. I think it shows he is not afraid to be himself. I was happy to see him win Stove Tots in the pilot episode online and on the televised show. I follow him on Facebook and it’s fun to see his dishes and all the special events he gets to cook at.


Bryce: Chopped Junior & Stove Tots He is one of the amazing young cooks who may not have won a show, but never gives up. I admire that, and I hope he gets a win one day. I follow him on Facebook and think it’s great that he cooks at all sorts of events.


Devlyn: Stove Tots I was glad to find this new fav kid chef on Stove Tots. He has a great personality, is proud of his family and seems like the kind of kid I would like to be friends with. He was super sweet when he hugged the other kids after he won. I was SO happy for him, I had joy in my heart.


Aditya: Kids Baking Championship He was my favorite baker in Season 4 and I was Team Aditya from the start! He was sweet, humble and funny and I was so sad when he left. I really hope he keeps baking and I get to see him compete on another show someday. For now, I enjoy following him on Instagram and watching his mini speed baking videos.


Owen: Top Chef Junior I was happy for him when he won Top Chef Jr. and I loved his friendship with Henry. It was so cute to see them hug and fool around when they were cooking as a team in the finale. It’s great to see boys unafraid to show their feelings of friendship.


Ryan: Chopped Canada Junior I liked Ryan. I was impressed when he told Charlie his meatballs were burning. He was such a good sport (unlike the guy in Cake Wars who did not tell the women her oven was open). I think the adults could learn a lot of positive things by watching the kids compete.


Daniel: Chopped Canada Junior & Racheal vs Guy Kids Cookoff I really liked seeing him cook on these shows. Even though he did not win, he was a talented cook and fun to watch. When he posts his latest dishes on Instagram, I am always interested to see he’s been cooking.


Hudson: Chopped Canada Junior I liked his story about being very quiet and not having many friends. Like other kids, cooking helped him find more self-confidence and he is still cooking today. I recently found his account on Instagram, and everything he makes looks amazing.


Trishul: Chopped Junior What a nice boy. I loved how he cooked from his Indian roots and how he dresses and dances to honor of his culture background. He was one of the kids I was so sad to see not win.


Nyles: Chopped Junior I thought he was a very kindhearted boy. I loved how he wanted to win the money for his mom and help her since she was a single mom. I was SO sad he got chopped, I felt he really deserved to win.


Etimfon: Chopped Junior I loved his story about recently coming to the United States from Nigeria. I thought it was very honorable when he told the judges that he felt he should be chopped in the entrée round, because the other cooks had done better. I would love to see Etimfon on a Chopped Jr Redemption Show, and I think the judges would too!


Ade: Chopped Junior He arrived with an amazing story. He had badly injured his leg in a dumbbell accident and needed surgeries, but still wanted to compete on Chopped Junior to inspire other kids to cook. He never gave up his dream. Ade came close to winning in the dessert round, and still acted happy for the boy who won.


Jake: Chopped Teens Even though he was teased for being “weird” or “awkward” when he was younger, he is more confident now. I liked how he is comfortable with himself and his motto is “If you are different, stay humble. Accept who you are.” He’s a very mature seventh grader.


Peter: Chopped Teens He has so many interests, he is a very special boy. I was happy when he won his episode of Chopped Teens and I like following him on YouTube. He has he own cooking show online and sells clothes he has designed and made himself. Maybe he’ll end up on Project Runway Junior someday!


Jeremiah: Chopped Junior He left too soon! I thought he was very funny and I loved how he talked about living and cooking in Hawaii. I was very sad when he left in the appetizer round. He did not get a chance to show what he can do. Jeremiah deserves to come back for redemption. I’m glad he got to cook with professional chefs in Hawaii after the show.


Joe: Chopped Junior Another great kid from the great state of Texas! I loved his Tex-Mex Style of cooking and the positive way he interacted with the other cooks, always offering encouragement. I was disappointed he did not make it to the dessert round. I believe if he keeps cooking he will be going places.




My Thoughts On Stove Tots

aaastovetots2I was worried about the show when I read it was like Dance Moms. And then, when I watched Stove Tots I had very mixed feelings. I hated all the drama with the moms fighting over who’s child should win instead of focusing on the kids’ amazing cooking talents. It totally misses the point of the kids cooking shows. For me, the cooking and the friendships are most important. I like how creative the kids are in the kitchen and how nice they are to each other in the break room.


One of the things that really made me mad is how the show made Mason and his mom, Kathy, look very arrogant. They edited Mason’s words to make it seem like he only cares about winning cooking competitions. But, he is not like that. I have talked to him online and he is one of the most humble kids ever; he did not brag about how he won Chopped Jr. and he really liked meeting new friends on the show. In addition, Stove Tots made his mom look mean by showing her happy when Talia was having trouble. In reality, Kathy was actually happy another time and it was just edited to look that way. In real life, Mason and his mom have the sweetest Mom & Son relationship I have ever seen, but the show made it seem like they were always fighting. So, they made Kathy seem rude and happy when kids are failing, and Mason seem like he was just there to win, but this is not who they are. Also, Mason himself said he hated how they made him and his mom look since they are nice in real life. If I worked on Stove Tots I would show Mason as someone who is very nice and loves his mom, and his mom as someone who is proud of her son. That would be true reality television since that’s how they really are.

Unfortunately, the editing ruined the show for me. I’ve been a fan of Ryan Kate since Season 3 Master Chef Junior and would have enjoyed re-watching her win Stove Tots if they had not done that to my buddy, Mason. I was happy when I learned he and Ryan Kate became friends on the show and that his mom got along perfectly fine with other moms.

There were also things I liked about Stove Tots, like seeing some of my old favorites back in the kitchen. I was happy to see Chopped Junior winner, Caroline win again and for Zac, Elliot, Ayla, Ryan Kate and Jacob to get their wins in a television cooking competition.

It was also great to see Chris, Bryce, Nick, Paris and Kayla cooking again even though they didn’t win.

And, it was great to meet some new young chefs. I was happy Miles won in the first episode and thrilled when Devlyn won the eighth episode. Devlyn was my favorite new kid chef because he seemed so nice, like someone I would be friends with. I was happy about that.

Over all Stove Tots is just OK. I give it 5/10. I did not like the made up drama with the moms and false presentation of some of the kids. If the parents had to be on the show, I would have them as helpers and there for hugs if the kids got upset. I’d have the show focus on cooking, not fake drama. Or, instead of a parent have a best friend be the support person. That would be cool! I will still re-watch certain episodes because I like kids cooking shows, but not the ones that made the kids and their moms look bad.

Max’s Chopped JR Recap “Hot Potato, Not Potato”



Ted Allen introduces 4 new kid chefs to compete in today’s episode.

13 year old Liam Dertinger from Staten Island, NY. If he wins he wants to donate the money to the homeless since he knows some people don’t have anywhere to live. “I can win Chopped Junior because I have knowledge and expertise of culinary abilities.”


12 year old AJ Espinoza from Freeport, NY. Her heritage is Italian and Ecuadorian, and she likes to cook pasta. “I’m a natural comedian. My extra, special, secret ingredient is to have a good humor in the kitchen.”

10 year old Sarah Hullihen from Vineland, NJ. She is an advanced student and also likes to play sports. “I love, love, love to cook. I have a ‘Jersey fresh’ style of cooking. Means there’s a lot of farm stands in my area.”

And, 12 year old Jayla Hill, from LA, CA. Her mom taught her how to cook and now she has pies, chocolate covered strawberry and cupcake businesses. “At school I’m in a leadership class and I want to help the school expand and do better things.”

In the Chopped Kitchen there are three rounds with mandatory mystery ingredients for every course. Ted says, “If your dish doesn’t cut it, you will be chopped!” The judges are Chopped regular Chef Marc Murphy, Actor & Musician, James Maslow & former Chopped Champion, Chef & Entrepreneur Lazarus Lynch. The guest judges are excited to be here, and Marc says, “Some of these kids we’ve been seeing coming through “Chopped Junior” are just nailing it!”

For the Appetizer Round they must cook with Ground Beef, Spinach, Chive Blossoms and Presidential Chocolates. Ted says, “You have thirty minutes to solve this culinary riddle. The clock starts now!”



Liam made Bacon Gruyère Chive Sider with Spinach Pesto. Lazarus says the meat is nice and juicy. James says it is like a gourmet burger, “Nice job!” Marc agrees the burger is good, but he wants more herbs in the pesto for more flavor, and the chocolate shot is not very well incorporated into the dish.

AJ made Spinach & Beef Salad with Spicy Chocolate Vinaigrette. Both Lazarus and James loved the mozzarella in the dish. Marc says the sauce is too sweet, it needed less chocolate and more balsamic vinegar.

Sarah made Open-Faced Slider with Spinach. Lazarus likes the presentation. Marc likes how the meat is seared and smart use of the chive blossoms, but not enough chocolate. All the judges wished there was more than one slider.

And Jayla made Beef Taco with Carrot, Spinach & Chive Coleslaw and Spicy Chocolate Sauce. Lazarus likes the cayenne with chocolate and says the sauce is very luscious. James is surprise he likes the chocolate in the appetizer. Marc says the spinach and chive combo is a good idea, but it is too oniony. Less chives.

Cloche up and the one chopped is … AJ since her chocolate vinaigrette was not very successful. She says, “The chocolate was really hard, you know, but I’m actually proud of what I did. I’m going to continue working hard. And win or lose, I still got to meet James and Ted Allen. So, that was really cool.”

For the Entrée Round Sarah, Liam and Jayla must cook with Pork Tenderloin, Baked Potato Cake, Mouscron Mushrooms and Thumbelina Carrots. “Thirty minutes is back on the clock, and we are starting it now!”


Liam made Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Cream Sauce. Lazarus likes the presentation of the medallions and the use of sauce. James likes the sweetness of the sauce and the carrots but notes his are a little burned. Marc says the pork is slightly pink as it should be, but the carrots needed to cut more evenly so they would cook more evenly. “Knife skills are a big part of cooking.”

Jayla made Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin with Vegetable Medley. Lazarus says, “This pork is cooked absolutely perfectly. It’s so moist. It’s delicious. It’s like running my knife through butter.” But James says the sauce is too sweet. Marc agrees and says it should have been cooked with onions, cream, butter and just a little bit of the vanilla cake. “But, nicely done on the pork. Nicely done on the little vegetable medley.”

And Sarah made Pork Tenderloin Stir-Fry with Mushrooms & Carrots. Her bite size chunks of pork are creative, but unfortunately made her meat dry. Lazarus says the dish needed a sauce. And Marc says, “Your idea was a great idea. I think if you had more time you could have really nailed this dish.”

Cloche is up the next one chopped is … Sarah since her pork was a little dry and needed a sauce. She says, “The time just got to me. But I think this will make me a better chef because whether you win or lose builds up character.”

For the Dessert Round Liam and Jayla must cook with Trail Mix, Gelatin Parfait, Whipped Honey and Red Delicious Apples. “Clock set at thirty minutes again. Let’s start it up now!”

Jayla made a Fruit Tart with Greek Yogurt Sauce. Lazarus likes the clean presentation and textures and how she is balancing the sweetness with salt and lemon juice. Marc agrees, but the big piece of licorice was a problem. “It’s a little jarring to be eating a fruit tart and all of a sudden come about a big piece of candy.”

And Liam made Apple & Mixed Berry Compote with Brown Sugar & Graham Cracker Crust. Again, Lazarus likes the presentation and James loves the crispy crust and the sweetness. But Marc disagrees, “The level of sweetness is way up there. It’s a lot of sugar.”

So, whose dish is on the chopping block? … Jayla since she had some flaws in each round. She says, “I’m going to keep my head up because I think I did really good. And, after being on Chopped I hope I get a lot more orders for my businesses.”

That means LIAM DERTINGER is the Chopped Jr Champion! He wins $10,000 and the coveted Chopped Jr. Chef’s Jacket! Liam says “It feels amazing to be a Chopped Champion and I think this win can inspire other kids to follow their dreams. Nothing is impossible, and your dreams can become reality.” He is still cooking today and has dyed his hair in many colors since the  show. 😊