The Team Challenge “Recipe For Love” Episode starts with the top 20 kid chefs finding out they will be cooking for a wedding dinner! Nine year old Mackenzie from Newhall, CA says, “Food to me is art. I’m really good at making my food look really pretty, just like me. I always wear bows in my hair. If it’s like a sad day or if it’s just a normal, ordinary day I will always wear a bow. A bow. A bow. It’s not called a ribbon, it’s called a bow.” Because Cade and Ariana had the best dishes in the last round they will each lead a team. The Red Team Captain is Cade and he chooses Evan, Sammy, Sophia, Gracie, Quani, Ben, Camson, Henry & Avery. Cade says, “I think I’m going to make a great captain, but the thing I’m nervous about myself is I try to stay nice as possible because I don’t want people to get upset and that sometimes can affect leadership skills.”The Blue Team Captain is Ariana and she chooses Remy, Olivia, Beni, Pierce, Emily, Mackenzie, Maria, Mikey & Anthony. Ariana says, “Being captain of the Blue Team is like being a captain on a ship. If this ship goes down, it’s my fault.”
Christina drives a tractor with all 20 young cooks through a farm to the wedding site. They meet Whitney & Sam who are getting married and very excited to the MasterChef Junior home cooks prepare their wedding dinner. The couple love halibut and lamb and this is what they want to serve their 75 guests. The judges will take from feedback from the bride and groom and other guests on the food and decide on a winning team. Unfortunately, two members of the losing team will be leaving the competition. ☹
Gordon demonstrates how to prepare and serve a stunning Rack of Lamb with Butternut Squash & Apples. And a beautiful Pan Seared Halibut with Roasted Cauliflower & Asparagus. First searing the lamb for color, because as the kids shout out “No color, no flavor!” And after it is cooked twice Gordon says you have to let it rest, because if you cut it too early, “You’ll lose the juices!”
Joe gives a lesson on the front of the house. The order is called a ticket. You always give everything a short name so the Rack of Lamb is going to be called a “Rack” and the Seared Halibut dish is going to be called a “Hali.” The kids shout back his order, “Picking up 5 Racks, 3 Halis!” Joe says, “Cooking is one thing. Today you have a lesson in accountability and timing. It has to be fast, it has to be hot and it has to all come out together.”
The teams have 60 minutes to prep. Ariana passes out assignments on the Blue Team. “Okay, me & Anthony are doing lamb, Beni & Remy are doing fish, and for the sides we’re going to have Emily & Mackenzie and for the plating, everybody else.” When Maria asks who should cut the lamb, Ariana says the only ones who know how long it has been resting is her or Anthony, so they should cut the lamb. Everyone agrees to stay and work at their stations.
On the Red Team Cade puts Sophia & Henry on fish, Sammy & Gracie on lamb, Evan & Avery on plating the halibut, Camson & Quani plating the lamb chop, and Ben & Cade working on sides keeping them ready. Gracie & Ben are not sure about the assignments.
Gracie says, “I’ve never cooked a rack of lamb before, and the main proteins are the big star of the dish. I’m feeling so much pressure right now.” Ben says, “ is upset that Cade just Cade put me on sides. I wanted to cook the lamb. Back in Gary, Indiana I barbeque, and we know meat. I’m not being used for what I should be used for, so I don’t feel good about this challenge at all.”
As things get started Joe wonders if this challenge is too hard for these young cooks. Evan tells his teammates, “Okay. We just have to worry about the food. Not the marriage, just the food.” 😊
Right off the bat, Gordon has to tell the Red Team to stop cooking the asparagus (it’s already cooked!) and start cooking the racks of lamb. “You need to get this lamb seared and in the oven!” Evan tells Sammy, “Two lambs for each pan! Got it?” Cade is feeling a little overwhelmed by all the tasks, but trying to help his team stay organized.
Ariana admits trying to captain a team of 8 to 13 year old’s is a little chaotic. Everyone is following her around asking her questions until she finally stops and sends them back to their stations. “Stay at your stations. Once you are at your station you do not move. Understood?” And her team responds. “Yes, chef!”
Joe announces that the bride and groom are married and it’s time for the food service to begin. Both teams get the meals off to the head table right away. Blue Team gets their next table off without any problems, but over on the Red Team things go wrong. Gordon doesn’t like the way Ben has cut the lamb chops and throws one up in the air. Gordon asks the team if they would rather go pick grapes and let him cook, but they say they will got give up. Gordon directs Cade to the lamb and Ben to the garnish. Cade says, “I can tell that Ben wanted a bigger role … but each person on the team has a huge role. This is a team effort.” The Red Team starts to find it’s rhythm.
On the Blue team Mackenzie is getting overwhelmed because everyone is yelling for more cauliflower. At first Gordon is a bit harsh, but when she starts to cry he takes her aside and tells her she can to it. She says, “I should step it up and act stronger.” And she does.
Back on the Red Team Gracie is overwhelmed by pressure to cook the lamb perfectly. She is worried about being burned and finally says to Sammy, “I’m done, you can take them both.” But Sammy can’t do it all by himself, he needs help. Other members of the Red Team, like Ben and Evan step in to help with the lamb.
Joe finds an unhappy guest at table with Blue Team dishes. Her lamb is raw and he takes it back to the kitchen for a replacement. Anthony and Ariana come up and Joe says, “Guys, this is unacceptable. This is somebody’s wedding. This lamb is still alive. It’s cold.” The refire immediately.
The last tables are finished and service ends. Red Team Captain Cade says, “That was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. We just fed 75 people for a wedding. Our service was like a roller coaster. It was up and down, but towards the end it was smooth, so all in all, I feel pretty good.” Blue Team Captain Arianna says, “I feel a little bit torn right now. If that lamb didn’t come back, I feel sure the Blue Team would win. But now it’s anybody’s game. I just hope our team did enough.”
The wedding guests are shocked to find out that young kids made their meal! Both teams did fantastic, but Joe, Christina and Gordon agree the winning team is…BLUE TEAM!
On the Red Team Camson, Quani, Avery, Evan, Sophia, Sammy and Henry did well enough to stay in the competition.
That leaves Cade, Ben and Gracie struggled the most with the challenge. The last young chef safe is ….. Cade. That means Ben and Gracie are going home. ☹
All the kids look so sad that two of their best friends are going home. They are all cheering for them from the balcony as they walk out of the kitchen. Someone calls, “We will never forget you!”
10 year old Ben from Gary, IN says, “MasterChef Junior has been one of the best times of my life here. I got to meet amazing friends and it was an amazing opportunity to learn a lot more about cooking. It’s awesome to have made it this far.”
9 year old Gracie from Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA says, “I’ve done a lot in the last 9 years of my life, but this was the best thing ever. How many kids get to say they make it in to the top 20? I’m really proud of myself for everything I’ve done here. And today I get to go home and see my dog!”