My Silver Lining: How Mason & I Became Best Friends Continued

Where we last left off the story Mason and I were very close friends.
In October I sent him a package since it was his 15th birthday. In the package was a hamburger press (since he loves to make burgers), a shark themed Cape Cod magnet (with his name on it), a microwave cake (a nod to his Chopped Junior dessert basket) and some bags of delicious Cape Cod Chips. Most importantly there was a friendship bracelet which symbolizes that no matter what happens we will be friends forever. On his birthday I called him from my Grampi’s house to say Happy Birthday and he told me the bracelet was his favorite part of the gift and he is happy to have me as a friend.
On Thanksgiving I posted how thankful I was to have him as a friend and he replied he is very happy to have me as a friend too.
In December we sent each other Christmas gifts. He sent me an Emoji pancake pan, a kindness Advent Calendar, a cook ware Christmas Ornament, his mom’s homemade Apple Butter and some California fresh mandarins. (Man, were those fruits delicious! They became my new favorite fruit!) I sent him a homemade tree ornament that had messages like “BFF” and “Through Thick & Thin” on it, Chocolate Poker Chips and Harry Potter Playing Cards. We both thought it was funny that we used the same pic of us in our Friendship Bracelets for our Christmas Card.
In January he sent me his family’s year in review letter which I liked since it felt like a was a family friend too.
In March when Universal posted “Tag Your BFF” and tell them why they are your friend, I tagged Mason and said that no matter what we will always be friends. He replied by saying. “You know it Max.” When I asked him how I was always there for him, he said I was always rooting for him and was a fan that turned out to be a great friend as well. And in this same month I posted MY OWN SEASON OF MASTERCHEF JR WITH HIM IN IT. Mason said he loved it.
In May it was my 23rd Birthday. Mason posted a video telling everyone to wish me a Happy Birthday 😊. Since due to a short illness I had to postpone going to meet him in San Francisco I called a 2nd time to say hi. Mason said he was still super excited to meet me and how he loves how I always create posts about him and other kid cooks.
In June 8th, Best Friends Day, I posted how he is truly my best friend and how happy it make me to know we will be friends forever. He replied by saying I am one of the nicest people he knows😊.
Later that month I got to meet Mason and his mom in San Francisco! It was an amazing experience. We met for a nice dinner at the restaurant Nopa. When I first saw him I was super happy and got up to give him a big hug. We talked a lot about the different shows he was on and he told me that I am like a part of his family. Then Mason said something amazing about friendship. He said Real Friends will always accept you for who you are and if someone wants you to change to be friends with them they are not real friends.(Note he is just 15 years old 😊) I really like that wisdom.


After dinner we gave each other gifts. We exchanged baseball hates. I also gave him a GeoSearch hat from my Aunt Annie’s company, a keychain with his name on it, his favorite candy bar and a backup Friendship Bracelet incase the original breaks. (turns out it had broken and Mason was very grateful for the replacement!)

Mason gave me all sorts of kitchen gadgets and we played “What The Heck Is This Thing For!” This was really fun. My cousin Katie and mother both were stumped a lot. He also gave me a Kindness Coin. I was so touched I stood up and we gave each other a big hug right over the table😊. After that we went out to take some pics


While we were outside I was really happy when Mason said he supported the LGBT community. Then I got really emotional talking to him and I told him I really has happy to have him as a friend. And how before I knew him it was really hard for me to make new friends. I told him he is my best friend and he gave me a very nice hug and told me he understood and I was his friend too. Then we took lots of good pics and we gave each other a nice hug goodbye. Later Mason posted about the visit and said, “It was super great to meet you tonight, you are joy and it was great to have a meal with my best friend!”

More recently Mason posted that I am a very positive kid and I should always believe in myself. Overall our friendship remains strong and I know we will be friends forever.

MASTERCHEF JR S07 x 14 and 15

The Grand Finale, Parts 1 and 2

The amazing top 3 enter the MasterChef Kitchen all ready to cook in the Finale. Eleven-year-old Californian, Malia, twelve-year-old New Yorker, Che and eleven-year-old Georgian, Ivy are super excited to cook their hearts out as their family and friends cheer them on. Massive group hug! Kyle looks overwhelm with happy to see his friend Che. Tears of joy. He wants his New York buddy to win the whole thing. The top 3 must cook an Appetizer, an Entrée and a Dessert. Cooking times go smoothly for all three young chefs so I will just talk about the judges reactions to the dishes they created.



Malia made Miso-Marinated Black Cod with Fresh Soba Noodles, Pickled Cucumber and Soy Quail Egg. She nailed the cook on her fish. The rich egg yolk works well. Chef Gordon says the dish has saltiness and sweetness, but it needed a bit acidity to cut the richness. Chef Christina loves the dish, but wished the noodles were longer. And Chef Aarón says the dish shows great confidence and that she did a great job!


Che made Pan-seared Prawns and Cuttlefish with Calabrian Chile Butter Polenta, Lemon Vinaigrette and Parmesan Crisp. Chef Gordon says the plate is visually breathtaking and special because he cooked two of the most difficult proteins perfectly. Chef Christina loves the complexity and elements of surprise, but she wanted more seasoning in the polenta. Chef Aarón thinks the cooking of the cuttlefish is amazing and the combination of flavors are magical, but he doesn’t love the use of cheese with shellfish.


Ivy made Pan-Seared Red Snapper with Tropical Salsa, Avocado Crema and Tostones. Chef Gordon says the fish is cooked beautifully and packed with flavor but the skin is soggy. The salsa is super delicious, but it should not have been on the fish. Chef Christina says the dish is Ivy on a plate! She wanted more of crema because it tasted so good. Chef Aarón loves the tropical colors and flavors, but might have used the plantain as a crust on the fish.


Malia’s Pan-Seared Filet Mignon with Fried Shishito Peppers and Dashi Braised Daikon looks delicious. Chef Aarón says the flavor of the dish is unreal good, but sadly the steak is about ten seconds undercooked and the daikon was a miss. Chef Christina loves that the dish screams uniquely Malia but she wanted more seasoning and more sear on the filet. Chef Gordon says the dish looks spectacular and has great finesse. He thinks it is a sophisticated dish and she did a great job.


Che’s Veal Saltimbocca with Fingerling Potatoes, Spring Pea Ragout, Morels and Mushroom Jus is a visual wow. Chef Aarón is impressed with the perfect cook on the veal, prosciutto and cheese together. Chef Christina liked that the dish is both comfort and elegant and tells his story. She wanted the peas to be brighter green. Chef Gordon says the flavors are exquisite and Che did a great job with seasoning to offset the salty prosciutto. “It’s you on a plate. That’s the most exciting thing about everything that you touch – I really get to understand it’s you. Thank you.”



Ivy’s Glazed Hanger Steak with Butternut Squash Two Ways, Brussels Sprouts and Herb Purée is an ambitious because the cut of meat is unforgiving. Chef Aarón says the cook on the steak is beyond perfect and the dish is so well crafted. Chef Christina says it is a stunning dish and she loves the steak, but she wanted more acidity. Chef Gordon says it is a chef’s dream to have a protein cooked this beautifully. And the herb purée is breathtaking, so breathtaking that she didn’t need the sauce on the plate.


Chef Gordon says, “We’re two down, and let me tell you, Ivy, Che and Malia, right now, have one hand each on that trophy. Let’s see who can impress with desserts.”


Malia made Sesame Panna Cotta with Mixed Berry Coulis, Raspberry Cream and Sesame Tuile. Chef Christina is impressed that the panna cotta has just the right amount of gelatin and is luxuriously smooth. The flavor is expert. Chef Aarón loves the combination of vanilla bean and black sesame. “Really impressive.” Chef Gordon agrees Malia has nailed the dessert. “I love it! It’s like the front cover of a pastry chef’s cookbook.”


Che made Gluten Free Chocolate Olive Oil Cake with Orange Glaze, French Ricotta Cream and Pistachio Tuile. It is nice and fluffy and glistening in the center. Chef Christina could do without the tuile, but she wants this gluten free recipe. Both Chef Aarón and Chef Gordon love the cake, but they disagree on the amount of orange zest. Chef Aarón thinks it is too much, Chef Gordon thinks it is balanced well. Either way it is a great flourless cake.


Ivy made Butterscotch Pots De Crème with Caramel Sauce, Pine Nut Brittle and Whipped Crème Fraîche. Chef Gordon says the plating on the dessert is very inviting and eye-catching. He thinks it is delicious, but very sweet. Chef Christina loves the whimsy of smashing the brittle, and the creamy pudding with the crunchy texture. Chef Aarón thinks the flavors are magical, but he would have used less thyme.


After much talking and thinking the judges pick a winner and leave the MasterChef Restaurant to tell everyone who it is. First they ask the top 3 young cooks to trade places with them on center stage. Chef Gordon says it was so close. The winner of MasterChef Jr is …………. CHE!!!!!!!!!!


Che is so thrilled he drops to his knees and falls flat on his back as confetti rains down!!!


He says, “OH MY GOSH, I CAN’T BELIVE I WON IT! I WON MASTERCHEF JR! I’ve been dreaming about this for so long and I finally won! I’m so happy and excited. Cooking alongside Ivy and Malia was amazing. They’re such great home cooks, they deserve the trophy just as much as I do. I wish I could share this trophy with them. You know, cut it in 3rds or something.”


Ivy says “ I am very happy for Che. I feel like he deserves it. He puts his heart in everything he does. He’s just amazing.” Malia says, “I have grown so much in this competition. You know, even if I didn’t win MasterChef Jr, I’m just really proud of myself and I’m really proud of Che.”


Che says, “My dad got me started into cooking and now I have they the trophy, I have the title, and I have the $100,000 and it’s all because of him. If my dad could see me right now he would be so proud of me!” 😊



The Semi-Final

For the Semi-Finals the top 6 return to cook their last Mystery Box. When they lift the boxes they find letters from home! 😊 They are asked to make a dish inspired by their families. After they get all the ingredients they need in the pantry they are shocked to find their families waiting for them back at their stations!


Inspirational guests are: Reid’s dad, Tim and brother, Cade; Ivy’s mom, Timna and sister, Anavi; Aaron’s mom, Erica and sister, Akira; Che’s mom, Elizabethanne and brother, Cosmo; Malia’s dad, Chris and brother Austin; & Sadie’s mom, Rebecca and brother, Elias. They will be cheering on the young home cooks from the balcony. 😊 The judges will be tasting all six dishes and the winner of this Mystery Box gets a place in the MasterChef JR Finale!


Malia’s Salmon & Lemon Pesto with Beurre Blanc Sauce, Carrots & Turnips is on point. The salmon is nicely cooked and all the veggies make sense and the pesto is good but a touch too strong. Chef Christina says, “Gorgeous job.”


Sadie’s Poached Halibut with Squash Blossom, Goat Cheese, Spring Pea Purée and Frisée Salad looks stunning. She nail the cook on the fish and although the cheese is gooey and rich it doesn’t really make sense with the dish because goat cheese is too sharp to be served with halibut. Chef Gordon says, “However, you are a very strong twelve-year-old. Good job.”


Reid’s Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Peas and Fried Parsley looks great. It is golden brown and crunchy on the outside and nice and juicy on the inside. The dish is spiced well but the potatoes are not as fluffy as they should be. Chef Aarón says, “You did such a great job in executing this.”


Ivy’s Veal Schnitzel with German Potato Salad and Vegetable Salad stands out. The veal is truly the star of the dish. Chef Christina loves the warm potato salad but thinks the tomatoes are a tad to large, “but, very nice job.”


Che’s Pan-Seared Red Snapper with Black Bean Purée, Polenta Croutons and Baby Squash is stunning. He nailed the cook on the fish and his polenta croutons are crisp on the outside and nice and creamy on the inside. Chef Gordon loves that the dish has harmony, the flavors go well together. “Refined beyond belief. Good job.”


And Aaron’s Ethiopian Lamb Loin with Injera, Sautéed Spinach and Yogurt Sauce is impressive, especially since he never made it before. The spices are wonderful and he nailed the cook on the lamb, but Chef Aarón feels the plate needs more starch, “but there is a real exotic feel to this dish that is really special and is a testament to your family. Really well done, Aaron.”



And the winning dish belongs to … CHE!!!


He wins his spot in the finale and he gets to hand out 1 of 5 fruits to the other kids. They are: Cherries; Mango; Pineapple; Pear; & Peach. Che says, “Everyone here is a great cook, and we’re such great friends. But I also understand that’s it’s a competition, so I’m not giving anyone a free pass in this finale.”Aaron wants pineapple but he gets Cherries.Reid wants peaches but he gets Mango.
Sadie wants cherries but she gets Pineapple.
Ivy wants cherries but she gets Pear.
Malia wants cherries but she gets Peaches




The most important sixty minutes in the competition for the remaining five fly by. Only two of the five will win spots in the finale. As Sadie says, “These odds are not in my favor.” As the end approaches, from the balcony Che says, “Not a lot of time left guys. Come on you got this.” And Gordon starts the countdown! “Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one! Hands in the air!”


Sadie made a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake with Pineapple 3 Ways. Chef Aarón thinks the dessert shows genius. The grilled pineapple offers relief from the sweetness of the cake and rich caramel. “Good job young lady.” Chef Christina says the dish is complex and bright. It proves she can bake like a MasterChef! One note though is to add a little fatty cream to round out the sweet.


Ivy made Blue Cheese Crusted Pork Chop with Sautéed Cabbage and Caramelized Pears. Chef Gordon thinks the dish looks stunning. She nailed the cook on the pork chop, the inside is moist and glistening. The blue cheese and pear work well together. Everything on the dish fits. Chef Gordon says, “I think it’s one of the best dishes you’ve cooked ever. Great job.”


Reid made Spiced Mango Rum Cake with Passion Fruit-Mango Purée. Chef Aarón likes the sauce and the purée and loves that used the mango in three ways. Unfortunately, he think the cake is undercooked. Chef Gordon loves the cake and doesn’t think it is undercooked. He likes the combo of mango and passion fruit, the richness and tartness elevates the cake. “Really, really delicious. Well done.”



Malia made Peaches & Cream with Buttermilk Biscuits and Candied Macadamia Nuts. Chef Christina thinks this is her best looking dish, it is very elegant. Malia nailed the caramelization of the peaches and the bake of the biscuits. Chef Gordon agrees that visually “it’s got that Wow Factor. It’s an accomplished dish. It’s creative. I would have preferred a little more of the peaches. But I’m seriously impressed.”


And Aaron made Sautéed Duck with Fregula and Pickled Cherries. Chef Gordon likes that he used cherries three ways, but points out the cherries are competing with the duck as the star of the dish. And sadly, the duck is slightly undercooked. But he nailed the seasoning and the cherries. Chef Gordon says, “It’s going to be a tough call. It’s a good dish. I don’t think it’s your best, but it’s a very strong effort. Thank you.”


The next young cook in the Finale is … IVY! And the last chef in the Finale is … MALIA!


Chef Gordon says, “Aaron, Reid, Sadie, you three have been incredible. Sadie! You’re like the princess of pastry. You are a phenomenon. Reid! Eight years of age, you are super talented. Next time I see you, can we go fishing together? You can show me how to catch a proper catfish? I’m going to miss you. Aaron! You’re funny, witty, charming. You’ve got a career in anything you decide to do because you put your heart and soul into it. Right, you three mustn’t ever stop cooking.” YES, Chef! Hugs and hugs and hugs from the judges and final three. Sadie, Reid and Aaron hold their heads high and get cheers from their friends as they walk out. Reid says, “I’m disappointed I’m not in the finale. But I’m proud of what I accomplished. I stepped out of my comfort zone. I cooked my heart out and I did my best.” 😊 Sadie says, “Going home after working so hard is a little frustrating. But when I get home, I can’t wait to open up my French Bistro/Cat Café.” 😊 Aaron says “I accomplished so much! I may not have a MasterChef Trophy, but I’ve got the passion and to make my dreams come true.” 😊



The Restaurant Takeover

The top 6 learn for the last Team Challenge they will do the Restaurant Takeover of a two Michelin Star restaurant. Sadie learns she will captain the Red Team of Aaron and Malia and Reid learns he will captain the Blue Team of Che and Ivy. Reid is a little nervous because, “I’ve never been a team captain before.” And at the end of this challenge there is no Pressure Test, no second chance. At the end of this Team Challenge 2 young cooks from the losing team will be going home.

A MasterChef limo brings the top six to Mélisse where they get amazing Chef Coats and meet the Head Chef, Josiah Citrin! Chef Citrin shows the kids how to make 4 spectacular dishes: Pan-Seared Prawns with Mixed Vegetables; Pan-Seared Halibut with Mushrooms & Brown Butter Chardonnay Sauce; Filet of Beef with Porcini Mushrooms, Glazed Carrots and Charred Leak Purée; and Truffle Crusted Lamb with French Green Lentils & Artichokes. Chef Aarón says, “Guys, this dining room is fully booked with real diners. And they have no idea how old the chefs are preparing this dinner this evening. Age can no longer be an excuse.”

During the hectic appetizer cooking time the Blue Team struggles understanding the orders being read out loud by Chef Gordon. On the Red Team Aaron gets a little overwhelmed and seems to be shutting down, but Chef Aarón and Chef Gordon help to wake him up and get him back on track. Back on the Blue Team Reid accidently throws a hot spoon across the kitchen and gets burned. He tells Chef Gordon he is okay and keeps on cooking with more focus. On the Red Team Sadie lets Malia plate raw prawns for Chef Josiah!! Everyone has to work a little bit harder, but the guests seem to love the appetizers from both teams.

Now it’s time to cook the entrées. Both teams are challenged. On the Blue Team Reid forgets to oil a hot pan and the beefs sticks. Then he struggles with proper basting technique!! Reid starts to get upset when his butter burns and Che comments, “Reid seems to be getting less and less confident as the cook goes. He need to realize that he’s a skilled home cook, that’s why he’s in to 6. We need Reid right now. We can’t get into the Semi Finals without Reid.” Chef Gordon tells Reid he thought he would be a great captain since he really believes in him and he shows him how to baste the steak. Eventually Reid decides to pass the filets off to Che and concentrates on plating instead.  On the Red Team Aaron mistakenly prepares the artichokes before getting the lamb in the oven. Later he puts poorly sliced chops with more bone than meat. And Malia’s beef is not cooked. Chef Gordon says, “Put a pair of horns on that, we’ll stick it back in the field. Dear, Oh dear.”


Chef Citrin enjoyed both teams cooking and all the diners love the entrées. They are shocked to see the chefs are kids. Back in the MasterChef Kitchen the judges read comment cards. Red Team: “Filet of beef cooked perfectly.” “Sauce delicious.” “Santa Barbara Spot Prawns spectacular.” Blue Team: “Halibut prepared wonderfully.” “One of the best halibut dishes I’ve ever tasted.” “Flaky buttery well-seasoned.” “The rack of lamb perfectly cooked.” “Lentils were to die for!” Also for the first time in MasterChef history NO dishes were sent back.
And the wining team is ………… BOTH TEAMS!!!



Too Corny
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!”

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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!”

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MASTERCHEF JR S07 x E09 & 10

Pasta Race
The top 10 have to race to make the longest possible sheet of pasta. Ivy gets a free pass and heads to the balcony. The Green Team – Malia, Jaala & Reid – win and get to dump a giant bowl of pesto on Chef Aarón. The Red Team – Aaron, Sadie & Ben come in second and get to dump a giant bowl of marinara sauce on Chef Gordon. And the Yellow Team – Rhashad, Che & Matthew – came in third and get to dump cheese sauce on Chef Christina. Big mess! Green Team is safe from the next challenge. Instant clean up!
Now Aaron, Sadie, Ben, Rhashad, Che & Matthew have to bake three perfect glazed éclairs.
There is a really cute moment when the judges realize Aaron is snacking on the gold leaf at his station. :0
All six get to work on their pâte à choux, pastry cream and glazes. In the end they all do so well that the judges decide no one is going home. The Top Ten remain, the Top Ten! 😊

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Girl Power
The young home cooks return to the MasterChef Kitchen to learn the next Team Challenge will be cooking for strong female figures. Blue Team Captain wins the coin toss and chooses her entire team. She picks Malia, Reid, Che & Sadie. Red Team Captain Rhashad will lead Ben, Aaron, Jaala & Matthew. He gets to choose the protein, and he chooses the salmon. That means Ivy’s Blue Team will be cooking the lamb.



Then the special guests arrive. Some standouts are Christina Wilson the winner of Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef Winners – Claudia Sandoval & Christine Ha, and MasterChef Jr Winners – Beni & Jasmine.


During the cook time Reid gets badly burned my the oil when he drops the lamb in the pan! It really hurts and he gets super upset. ☹ Reid says it felt like a bunch of bees and ants stung him at the same time! Gordon brings him into the pantry to cool down the burn in cold water. Gordon shows him his old scars from oil burns and Reid feels a little better. He chooses to stay in the challenge to coach the others cooking the lamb and the asparagus! At the last minute he runs in with his injured hand to help plate the dishes nicely! WOW! 😊


On the Red Team Rhashad is having problems leading his team in the proper way to cook the fish. The salmon skin is soggy and the underside is too brown! With a little support from Chef Gordon Rhashad helps his team get back on track and the food on the plates.
Red Team made Seared Salmon with Mashed Potatoes and Broccolini and the Blue Team made Rack of Lamb with Mushrooms, Risotto and Asparagus. The salmon is flavorful, but a little bit overcooked and the mash is perfect. The cook on the lamb is nailed and the risotto is amazing … and the wining team by vote is … BLUE TEAM!!!!


The Red Team heads into the dreaded Pressure Test. Chef Gordon demonstrates his famous Pan-Seared Scallop & Apple dish. During the cook time Rhashad cuts his scallops unevenly and Aaron struggles with the set on his apple jelly.
Sixty minutes is up!


Matthew’s dish looks beautiful! He nailed the sear and the cook on the scallops. Gordon loves the lemon on the dish. Everything is seasoned well and Christina agrees the dish tastes great.


Rhashad’s scallops are not uniform. He has some overcooked scallops and some perfectly cooked scallops. He nailed all the other elements on the plate, but he is concerned because the protein is the star and he didn’t get them all cooked the best


Ben seasoned the scallops too soon and they became rubbery and dry. On the positive side – the color of the scallops is great and puree and the jelly is delicious. Christina loves his creative mind, but noticed he missed some technical points in replicating Gordon’s dish.


Jaala nailed her dish even though she couldn’t taste her dish due to allergy. The scallops have lots of color and they are cooked perfectly. Her puree is nice and smooth and the whole dish is seasoned well. Aarón loves her apples the most.


Aaron’s dish is visually sloppy and it is missing the apple jelly, but he nailed the sear on the scallops. Inside they are glistening and taste delicious. Gordon wants more finesse.


JAALA made the best dish! MATTHEW also did well and is safe. And the last home cook staying in the competition is … AARON!
So sadly, tonight Rhashad and Ben are going home. ☹ Nothing stops Rhashad from smiling though. Chef Gordon says, “What an amazing journey, but tonight you fell short. Ben, you’ve been a powerhouse. Rhashad, you’ve lit this room up. Oh dear, you two dudes, come say goodbye. Give us a hug. Man.”
They get cheers and applause from their friends as they walk out. “You keep on smiling.”  “Good job!”  “You guys were amazing friends!”


Rhashad says, “I am sad to leave the MasterChef Kitchen, but I’m happy because I made it to the top 10 and I got to learn from Gordon Ramsay, Aarón Sánchez and Christina Tosi. This has been a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

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Ben says, “When I first came into this kitchen I was not as strong as I ever thought I’d become. I learned so much new skills and the judges taught me so much. The hardest thing about leaving is saying goodbye to all my great friends I’ve made, but they’ll be my friends for life. I’m going back to Morristown, NJ and I’m going to keep on cooking!”Screenshot_20190514-123926_Video Player


Kidz Bop Kitchen
The top 12 young home cooks are shocked to see the Kidz Bop Kids are in the MasterChef Kitchen! Aaron says, “Oh, my God! The Kidz Bop Kids are here. I never thought that I was gonna meet them in person. I love how they take normal songs and they sing them without the bad words in it so I can listen to songs that I like in front of my grandma.” The Kidz Bop Kids decided the contents for the next Mystery Box Challenge: kale, apple, Oreo, potato chips, broccoli, elbow macaroni, red cabbage, yams, fruit, cheese, meat and many more things. The top 12 will make a MasterChef Quality dish from their choice of the ingredients.


When time is up the judges choose three dishes that they feel elevate the ingredients and celebrate the box.  The first belongs to Jaala. She made a No Bake Cheesecake with Cookie Sandwich Crust and Strawberry-Raspberry Jam representing her dream to open a bakery called Sugar Sugar back home in Rhode Island. Chef Aarón says the piping is masterful and the cake is so delicious. “It’s wonderful. You hit on three elements that I think all great dishes should have — texture, a certain savoriness to it and then a fresh element… Overall, it’s fun, it’s inventive, and most importantly, it’s tasty.”


The next belongs to Reid. He made Cookies & Cream Panna Cotta with Strawberry Coulis to prove to the judges he is not just a grill boy. The judges love he went out of his cooking comfort zone with the dish and Chef Christina loves the texture, the creaminess and the sweetness. She says, “Wow! I could just eat that for days. …Reid, you have exceeded my wildest expectations. You just need to keep destroying any box that we put you in. Incredible job.”


And the final dish belongs to Che. He made Chicken Parmesan with Tomato Sauce, Kale and Fried Mozzarella in honor of his dad who introduced him to cooking and has since passed away. Gordon loves how the cheese inside the breast helps keep the chicken moist and potato chips used as the coating. “You have chef’s mind. You are super creative. I hope dad is watching because that is exceptional. I think that is one of the best dishes you’ve cooked so far. Well done.”


And the winner is … REID. He is safe from the Elimination Challenge and gets to pick a cook to bring in the top 10 with him. He picks his buddy Aaron and they also get to pick the ingredient for the next challenge. Something the judges ate as kids cheese (Chef Aarón), Cereal (Chef Christina) or Canned Tuna (Chef Gordon).


They pick tuna, which some of the kids, like Kyle who absolutely hates tuna, are not super happy about.


Times up and time to taste!
Malia made Tuna Roll with Vegetables, Fried Tuna and Fried Avocado. The presentation looks incredible. She nailed the cook and cut the roll well. Chef Gordon says, “It’s like it’s just come out of a Japanese Restaurant. You are really seriously multifaceted. What I can guarantee with this dish: A. You’re not going home. & B. Congratulations, because you are the first in the Top Ten.”


Kyle made Tagliatelle with Puttanesca Sauce, Tuna and Ricotta Cheese. Chef Christina says the sauce is very spicy, so it overtakes the tuna. In addition the capers, lemon zest and dry herbs, also hide the star of the dish. “But I really appreciate the effort. Thank you.”


Che made Niçoise Salad with a Tuna Cake. It’s wonderful. It has great acidity, the mustard is in check and not over spicy. Chef Aarón also loves the texture of the cake. He says, “All the elements of the salad make sense. It’s hitting really high notes on so many different levels. Great job young man.”


Sadie made Tuna Croquettes with Aioli, Frisée Salad and Fried Vegetables. The tuna is flaky and the flavors are on point and well balanced. Chef Christina says, “I think this is most elegant dish I ever seen made from a can of tuna. Very nice job.”


Matthew made Pan-Seared Tuna Cake with Southwest Salsa. Chef Gordon likes the taste of the cakes but wants more color on the outside and feels like the salsa is a touch heavy on the seasoning. Overall, a good job.


Jaala made Tuna Cakes with Bean-Corn Salad, Salsa and Chipotle Aioli. It has a nice Tex-Mex spice level and the tuna is nice and moist, but Chef Christina wants more aioli. “Otherwise, nice job.”


Ben made Thali Tuna Curry with Coconut Jasmine Rice. Chef Aarón does not find the presentation appealing and the curry a bit muddled. Fresher ingredients would have helped. But the rice is very good. “I love the fact that you went for a curry … but I don’t know if this is enough yet. Thank you, though, Ben.”


And Brielle made a Tuna Pot Pie. Sadly, the pie crust looks ripped since she had to pull it apart to put the tuna in at the end. Chef Gordon tastes it and says, “Oh dear, oh dear … Unfortunately, the rue is not there … And unfortunately, the pastry is raw there … but, what I do like is the freshness of the peas … peas and fish go well together … I don’t think this has been your strongest performance.”


MALIA made the best dish and Ben, Kyle and Brielle’s dishes are in the bottom. And the one who is safe is … Ben. That means Kyle & Brielle are going home. ☹


Gordon says, “Now, Kyle, Brielle, you two have got nothing to be upset about. You made the top twelve. Think how much stronger you’ve become. You’ve got some great friends for life, and you’ve been in the most famous kitchen in America. Just think of the bragging rights when you step into that classroom. Everyone wants to be your best mate now, well done.”  They get lots of loving from the judges and the other young cooks before they walk out. 😊


Brielle says, “I’m really sad I’m going home, but I learned a real lot in this competition. Even though I’m not in the MasterChef Jr Kitchen, I’m still going to keep cooking at home in Atlanta.”

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Kyle says, “It’s really heartbreaking to be eliminated, but out of hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of kids that have tried out, I’ve made it to the top 12. I feel like I made lifelong friends that I’m never gonna forget, including three of the best chef in the world. My MasterChef JR journey might be over, but I still plan to become a travel food blogger or open my own restaurant.”

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After this post I will be taking a short break since my birthday is coming up and I will be going on a special vacation to San Francisco. I will be doing the 2 top 10 shows at the same time. See you then!