Chef Aarón begins the evening with a riddle.
“What did the baby corn say to the mama corn?”
“Where’s Pop Corn?!”
Then the young home cooks are buried in cooked corn kernels! For the next Mystery Box the top 8 will make corn the star of a dish! But first, they must get cleaned up. Under the box they find all kinds of corn, and even more in the pantry. They have Black Corn, White Corn, Corn Meal, Baby Corn, Corn Flakes, Freeze Dried Corn, Fermented Corn, Heirloom Corn and much, much more!
The first best dish belongs to Che. He made Shrimp & Corn Sope with Smoked Paprika Popcorn and Pico De Gallo and he nailed it. His dish has elegance, color and freshness. Chef Christina loves he used corn in three ways and made it his own dish. Chef Aarón says, “So, Che, as a proud Mexican I can you that that right there, is spot on. This dish is so delicious I want to adopt a version of this on my own menus at my restaurants!”
The next best dish belongs to Matthew. He made Blue Corn Crusted Tuna with Corn-Roasted Pepper Salsa, Avocado & Furikake Spiced Baby Corn. Chef Gordon says, “Let’s get one thing clear, tuna, cooked beautifully. You’ve coated it in cornmeal. You’ve gone for something with corn I didn’t expect to see this evening.” The avocado works well, but the salad is too simple, needs to be elevated to match the other amazing elements on the plate.
And the last best dish belongs to Ivy. She made Corn Tamale with Corn Elote & Huitlacoche. Chef Aarón is impressed she took on such a difficult dish and succeeded. All of the elements celebrate corn. “Great job.” Chef Gordon wanted more heat but “Every time you turn that stove on, you’re getting more and more confidence. I love that. Well done. Good job.”
And the winner is … CHE! He gets to pick the four teams for the forth coming Tag Team Challenge! Che picks Aaron as partner and then pairs Reid & Ivy, Malia & Sadie, and Matthew & Jaala. They will being working together to make a platter of Tapas including Beef Empanadas, Pan Con Tomate, Shrimp with Chorizo, Cheese Croquets, Pulpo a la Parrilla (grilled octopus) and Churros.
During the frantic cook time Aaron & Che have trouble with time management but with a little coaching from Chef Christina they refocus and help keep each other on track for a strong finish. Reid & Ivy are talking to each other and prove to be strong partners from the start. But on the other side of the coin, Matthew & Jaala and Malia & Sadie struggle with communication and cooperation. These two flustered teams struggle to get it together in time to create a winning platter.
Time is up.
Che & Aaron’s Tapas Platter looks good. The shrimp is cooked perfectly and has nice heat. The croquetas are golden brown and taste delicious but a bit lopsided. The empanadas are great but could have had a bit more color on the pastry. The octopus has good grill marks and the sauce compliments well. The pan con tomate is beautifully seasoned. And the churros fried and coated in sugar well, but too short. Chef Christina says, “It’s not the most perfect tag team platter but I’m impressed by the way the two of you worked together. The effort is on this platter.”
Jaala & Matthew’s Platter reflects two cooks who struggled being on the same page. The empanadas is missing the nice sweet tomato. The shrimp are burned. The churros are a great size, but just a little too dark. The octopus is grilled well but the sauce is missing the acidity of the vinegar. The pan con tomate is delicious. And the croquetas are nice and crispy. Gordon says, “Now, nobody’s been perfect tonight. You may not have been on the same page for the first 30 minutes, but I guarantee that last 25, 30 minutes it came together as a team. Good job.”
Reid & Ivy’s platter invites with its golden brown colors. The shrimp is good, it’s textbook. The croquets are amazing, seasoned nicely with a touch of herbs. The churros are creamy, airy, great color, the y are spot on. The empanadas are a touch under seasoned but cooked very well. The Romanesco sauce is beautiful and the octopus is cooked perfectly. And the pan con tomate has great grill marks and flavor. Chef Aarón is impressed, “Overall, very strong effort. Good job.”
Malia’s & Sadie’s platter is a little sloppy. The croquets are misshaped and lack seasoning, but they taste good. The churros are over sugared. The empanadas are overstuffed and the filling is too lumpy. The octopus is dry. The shrimp is fine, much better the second time around. And finally, the tomato toast needs more seasoning. Chef Gordon says, “I’m just disappointed. What I saw wasn’t brilliant. I think you were a little bit too cocky tonight, and let’s just hope that cockiness doesn’t send you home.”
REID & IVY made the best tapas platter! Che & Aaron also did very good.
And the last team to make it into the top 6 is … Malia & Sadie.
That means Jaala & Matthew are going home. ☹
Matthew is crying ☹ and tearful Jaala kindly supports him. All the kids look very sad to see their friends go home. Matthew and Jaala group hug with the Chefs and get lots of cheers and applause from the balcony as they walk out hand and hand. “We miss you already!” 😊
Jaala says, “I’ve grown so much since I’ve been in the MasterChef Kitchen. When I first came here I was mostly a baker, but now I can cook anything. It’s not really about winning, it’s about the experience and having fun and meeting new people. So, I feel like I’ve won MasterChef Jr just by being in the top 8!”
Matthew says, “For the 8 years I have been on this planet this has been the best time in my life! I have so memories to take with me. So kids if you ever want to be part of something follow your dream because it’s gonna happen!”